Best Buy debuts CinemaNow streaming service in Canada

Just in time for the long winter--and after a lengthy delay--Best Buy has launched its CinemaNow online movie and TV show streaming service in Canada.

The service gives users access to new-release movies the same day they appears in stores on DVD and next-day access to TV episodes. They can be streamed to Mac and Windows computers, Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Xbox, connected TVs from Panasonic and Samsung and select Samsung Blu-ray players, the company said. A company spokesman said apps for both iOS and Android are on the horizon.

Although the company is promoting the service as an alternative to Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX), which launched in Canada a little more than a year ago, CinemaNow is more like Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iTunes, which also operates in Canada. Google's YouTube Movies, with rentals available for $4 to $5 also has a presence.

CinemaNow users can rent or buy content to stream, with movie rentals starting at $3.99, and digital rights available for purchase starting at $9.99; TV episodes can be purchased starting at $2.49. The company is looking into rental options for TV episodes down the road.

The company said it has more than 10,000 titles available, a number that seems to be a tipping point for most nascent services, but is significantly smaller than the 15,000 titles CinemaNow offers to U.S. customers. The service is powered by the RoxioNow technology platform. CinemaNow says it's the first service to establish partnerships with and offer new release programming immediately from major studios Warner Bros., Paramount, Fox, Sony and Universal.

CinemaNow originally was announced in June and targeted an August rollout. The company said it worked on finalizing some key elements of the service before a soft launch. It is not available to the general pubic.

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