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Sears, K-Mart Launch Movie Download Service

Companies announce pact with Sonic Solutions to offer new releases same-day as DVD

Sears and K-Mart are getting into the movie download business.

The companies announced on Tuesday a partnership with Sonic Solutions' RoxioNow to launch an online movie download service — called Alphaline Entertainment — that will allow Sears and K-Mart customers to download new movies on the same day they are released on DVD and Blu-Ray.

That part gives Sears and K-Mart an advantage over Netflix and RedBox, which often have to wait 28 days before offering new releases to customers — and on par with iTunes and Best Buy's CinemaNow platform, which is also powered by RoxioNow. (Shares of Sears Holdings Co. rose Tuesday on the news.)

Sonic is "working with Sears on a multi-phase rollout that includes making the service available from a broad range of connected devices and ensuring compatibility with studio-supported digital programs." That includes mobile devices and HDTVs.

Netflix is facing more and more competition from a range of movie download entrants — including Comcast, Hulu and — possibly — Google.

But … Sears? Not sure anyone saw that coming.

Here's the full release:

Sears and Kmart Team with Sonic to Launch Movie Download Service

RoxioNow-Powered Alphaline Entertainment Service Now Live and Providing Consumers Instant Access to Movies and TV Shows

Novato, CA (December 28, 2010) – Sonic Solutions® (NASDAQ: SNIC) today announced that RoxioNow™ platform licensee, Sears, has officially launched its online movie download service, Alphaline Entertainment http://alphaline.roxionow.com. The new service enables Sears and Kmart customers to download entertainment online, including new movies on the same day they are released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Sonic is working with Sears on a multi-phase rollout that includes making the service available from a broad range of connected devices and ensuring compatibility with studio-supported digital programs.

Sonic's multi-year agreement with Sears extends the reach of the RoxioNow platform which powers a range of digital services for leading brick and mortar retailers, cable operators, PC manufacturers, game system vendors, consumer electronics makers, and Hollywood studios' direct-to-consumer initiatives. Sonic and Sears are teaming to embed the services at a chip level on a growing network of devices including portable media players, Blu-ray Disc players, mobile phones, and high-definition television sets from leading manufacturers.

"Collaborating with Sonic provides a great opportunity for Sears and Kmart to launch digital services for customers seeking even faster access to the latest in home entertainment experiences," said Karen Austin, President of Consumer Electronics for Sears and Kmart. "We'll continue to increase the reach and flexibility of the Alphaline Entertainment service by providing consumers on-demand access to the latest entertainment from a range of home and mobile electronics."

"The Sears launch represents an important milestone for Sonic, with another RoxioNow-powered storefront now open for business," said Mark Ely, President of Strategy, Sonic Solutions. "We look forward to continuing to collaborate with Sears and bringing Alphaline Entertainment to consumers through a broad range of connected devices."

The RoxioNow platform serves a broad range of premium content, including new movies and next-day TV programs, to a growing, multi-manufacturer ecosystem of home and mobile electronics. RoxioNow enables storefronts for brick and mortar retailers, cable operators, PC manufacturers, game system vendors, consumer electronics makers, and Hollywood studios' direct-to-consumer initiatives. The platform allows these companies to participate in the entertainment supply chain, add value to product offerings, and form ongoing relationships with customers. "Powered by RoxioNow™" stores enable consumers to instantly rent and purchase high-quality entertainment on their favorite devices and, through the RoxioNow online entertainment library, access their content at any time, on any RoxioNow-powered device.

About Sonic Solutions

Sonic Solutions® (NASDAQ: SNIC) enables digital media from Hollywood to Home. For more than two decades, Sonic products, service, and technology brands including Roxio®, RoxioNow™, DivX®, and MainConcept®, have fueled home entertainment, powered rich digital media functionality on a range of platforms for a variety of partners, and inspired unique personal media experiences for hundreds of millions of consumers. Sonic technologies are now combining to deliver a universal platform for Hollywood Studios, retailers, consumer electronics manufacturers, and PC OEMs that provides consumers instant access to premium entertainment from virtually anywhere. Sonic Solutions is headquartered in Marin County, California. Learn more at www.sonic.com.