Monday, January 9, 2012, 6:51 PM ET|Posted by Will RichmondDish Network made a series of announcements today (enhanced HBO on demand access, whole-home DVR, bundled satellite broadband with ViaSat, expanded Univision distribution), but the one that caught my eye focused on increased video selection for its "Blockbuster@Home" online service, a new brand name which looks like it will replace the "Blockbuster Movie Pass" brand that Dish unveiled back in September. Specifically, Dish said it has added 3,000 titles targeted to kids ages 3-13 with partners Vivendi Entertainment, Cookie Jar, Lions Gate and Scholastic Media.
As a result of the additions, Blockbuster@Home now offers 25,000 movies and TV shows that can be streamed to computers, though only 10,000 of which can be streamed on TVs (not sure why the distinction, and it's also not clear how many are available for iPad consumption). That's up from 3,000 at launch.
Regardless, the bigger question is when is Dish going to unleash the Blockbuster@Home service for all broadband subscribers, not just Dish subscribers? In my initial review of Blockbuster Movie Pass I noted that while Dish could make become a serious player with an online subscription service, limiting its availability means others like Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, etc. can breathe a whole lot easier.
When I scribbled some notes about news that might emerge from CES, I had included Dish announcing that it was taking the Blockbuster service wide. Clearly I was wrong, but I'm not sure what's holding things up. Dish has alluded to the service becoming broadly available, but hasn't indicated a date for doing so. If it wants to be in the online subscription game big-time it can't restrict access solely to its own Dish subscribers.