Alphaline Entertainment is Sears bid into the online movie market.

When I think of Sears, or Kmart, a lot of products come to mind: discounted clothing, inexpensive tools, televisions, bicycles and apple pie. But one thing that doesn’t pop into my head is online movie rentals.

Sears hope that will all change soon with the start of a new online video rental service called Alphaline Entertainment that is powered by RoxioNow, an online video streaming service owned by Sonic Solutions…

The Alphaline Entertainment deal with Sears was announced in mid-June and was expected to begin by the end of this year. (Kmart bought Sears in 2005, and the combined company is called Sears Holdings.)
Alphaline Entertainment lets people watch movies and TV shows “the same day they are released on DVD and Blu-ray,” Sears said in a news release. Each video can be purchased à la carte, without the need for a monthly subscription. The videos are viewable on computers, televisions and mobile phones that run a video viewer called Divx.

The beginning of the service is a curious move for big brick-and-mortar corporate retailers as they try to edge their way into the digital media world, especially since the movies are not discounted and cost the same as on other online rental services. Alphaline’s rental prices for movies start at $4 for a one-time rental fee and up to $20 to purchase a film.

But it may make sense for Sears to try to move onto digital turf. Sears and Kmart have had success with the sale of physical DVDs and CDs in their stores, which are sometimes sold at heavily discounted prices.
Alphaline is going to have some tough competition, including Netflix, Apple and Amazon, all of which offer streaming products.