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Friday, April 17, 2009, 10:00 am PT (01:00 pm ET)

Best Buy rumored to take on iTunes with movie download store

Apple authorized reseller Best Buy will soon add its name to a growing list of firms bidding for a slice of the online movie download business, according to a new report.

Citing unnamed Hollywood studio executives, Variety.com claims the No. 1 U.S. specialty electronics retailer is in talks with CinemaNow and other digital movie download providers about a potential partnership regarding the service, which would ideally launch as early as this summer.

Best Buy is just one of several big-box retailers scrambling to adapt the the digital landscape for movie downloads in the face of plummeting sales of physical DVD, which have long been one of its bread-and-butter businesses.

The report is not clear on how Best Buy would benefit from the rumored partnership with CinemaNow but speculates that the chain may market its own brand of web-enabled devices, such as big-screne TVs and Blu-ray players, that would tap into the service.

Such a move would be similar to those employed by Blockbuster, Amazon, and Netflix, each of which have partnered with set-top-box makes like TiVo and Roku to push their digital catalogs into consumers' living rooms.

For Best Buy to be successful, it would mean defying the odds. Similarly situated Wal-Mart attempted a launch its own movie download service with the help of HP back in 2007 but never made it past the test phase.