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Sears, Kmart launch Alpahline online video store

By Paul Bond

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Sears and Kmart are entering the digital-movie rental and sale industry with the new online video store Alphaline Entertainment.

The retailers, both owned by Sears Holdings, charge per title, making the service less like Netflix's subscription model and more akin to Apple's iTunes, except that it's not yet available to Mac users.

Television episodes sell for $1.99, while movies sell for $19.95 and rent for $3.99. Most content cannot be burned to a DVD, but users can watch their rentals and purchases on a TV screen connected via S-video jack to their PC. Alphaline uses the RoxioNow platform, which also drives Best Buy's CinemaNow, so the services have much in common, including available film and TV titles.

On Wednesday, renters at the site, http://www.alphaline.roxionow.com, made "Charlie St, Cloud," "Easy A," "Inception" and "Salt" the most popular film choices. Among TV shows, episodes of "Fringe," "Two and a Half Men," "Hellcats" and "Chuck" were the most popular.

Content is stored in a "virtual locker" and also can be downloaded to a PC, which is a good idea for consumers who don't want to lose access to movies and TV episodes when they enter HBO's exclusive window.

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