Barnes & Noble unveils Nook Video Service to challenge Amazon Instant Video
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Barnes & Noble is finally getting in on the streaming-video action. On Tuesday, the bookseller announced a Nook video-on-demand service coming this fall with content from major TV and movie studios, including HBO, Sony, Warner Brothers, Viacom, and Disney.
The Nook Video service will enable users to rent or buy movies and TV shows such as The Avengers, Brave, The Dark Knight, Game of Thrones, The Daily Show, and more.
Amazon, of course, has long had Amazon Instant Video streaming, with a growing digital video catalog (and Amazon Prime members can stream a selection of that catalog). “The introduction of Nook Video will allow B&N to remain competitive with Amazon,” says Teresa Mastrangelo, analyst at Broadbandtrends. “B&N has been involved with content for a while—so the move to provide a streaming video service is a natural evolution for their business and frankly one that was absolutely necessary.”
Like Amazon’s Instant Video, videos streamed and downloaded on Nook Video will be stored in the cloud and accessible on a variety of devices, not only Nook tablets. Barnes & Noble will be rolling out free Nook video apps that will let you start watching a video on one device and then continue where you left off on another.
In addition, you’ll be able to link an UltraViolet account to Barnes & Noble’s Nook Cloud service so you can view your DVD and Blu-ray movies with Nook Video. UltraViolet is a “digital locker” that adds videos from physical discs to a digital collection for instant viewing. Although UltraViolet doesn’t have a wide user base, the inclusion of this feature in Nook Video may make the service more attractive to those of us with extensive disc collections. Amazon has some minimal support for UltraViolet but not full integration.
Barnes & Noble hasn’t announced pricing, but Mastrangelo says we can expect it to be highly competitive to Amazon. Amazon Instant Video is part of Amazon Prime, which costs $79 annually and includes other perks such as free two-day shipping.
The Nook Video announcement comes after the book retailer recently cut Nook tablet prices and in advance of an expected launch of new Nooks to better compete with the Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7 tablets.