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Legal movie downloads on release day

PCScreen.jpgTwo more companies have moved to offering legal downloads of films and it's not porn! Movielink and CinemaNow are going to be offering legal downloads of films as soon as they are released on DVD for as little as $10.

The news, from Yahoo News through Wide Screen Glory is a lot bigger than these two companies.

Movielink said it signed download-to-own deals with six major studios, and CinemaNow unveiled similar pacts with two big players as well as independent LionsGate Entertainment Corp...Movielink's deal is with Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Bros, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Paramount Pictures -- the studios that own Movielink -- as well as Twentieth Century Fox. CinemaNow signed Sony, MGM and Lionsgate, which holds a big stake in CinemaNow.

...and there's promise of more Studio's to follow. It's all change this week with releases including Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Fun with Dick and Jane, SawII, King Kong and Brokeback Mountain all being available to download, keep and legally own.

Prices seem to range with Movielink offering $20 to $30 with $10 offerings of classic titles, CinemaNow look set to range from $9.95 to $19.95. There's a slight restriction though, as you would expect, you can backup the films once you've downloaded, but there's no burning them to DVD.

Finally, it seems that the Exec's have realised where the customer base is headed!



Sorry Richard, but the studios and these companies still don't understand where the customer base is headed. Check out this entry from the FAQ about technical requirements:

Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher
Windows XP
Windows Media Player 10
A 300K or better Internet connection: we recommend a cable or DSL connection.

This means that WMP DRM is being used to protect the movies which locks all of us on other platforms out. My home system consists of MythTV boxes running Linux with a 1.5 TB media server where all of my dvds, pvr recordings, and music are stored.

In their FAQ about how to watch on TV, they ask if your laptop has an SVIDEO connection. Good grief...that should be some terrible quality. Computer SVIDEO is light years behind DVD player, etc. SVIDEO. Very hit and miss.

At the top of MovieLink's page in red is this warning:

Sorry, but as of May 2, 2005, Movielink no longer supports Windows 98 and ME operating systems.
Movielink also does not support Mac or Linux.

In order to enjoy the Movielink service, you must use Windows 2000 or XP,
which support certain technologies we utilize for downloading movies.

Mark Cuban is the only guy in the industry (or slightly outside the industry) who seems to have a grasp on what folks really want. The guys over at Kaleidescape also have some great ideas...they're just too expensive. These DRM crippled, Windows XP/WMP 10 only download services just don't cut it for me. I'll stick to making ISOs of my DVDs on my server for now.

btw - I'm giving Microsoft a pass on this DRM junk. I think they're doing what they have to right now to pacify the entertainment industry. I doubt they like crippling their own products.

Thanks for the info Hap. Yeah, I read all that, and although it's a big hit I decided to leave that out for now, it was clouding the real issue.

Major Studios are now willing to sell their movies online to the customer.

So yes, they are starting to understand the customer base, sure they haven't signed up with the correct providers, but this is a huge leap in the right direction.

The next step is for them to sign up with providers who can deliver the content to all computer users, and as you say, you can understand their concerns on security for now.

All that said, from the Studios seeking to prosecute individuals for downloading, they've suddenly lept to legal downloads to own. That's huge.


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