Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Downloading Service to Allow Film Watching on TV Screens - New York Times

Downloading Service to Allow Film Watching on TV Screens - New York Times: "The movie industry has been experimenting with ways to rent and sell downloaded movies, but these efforts have been hampered because the movies generally had to be watched on computer screens. The new service allows the movies to be seen on any television set connected to a DVD player.

“People like to watch movies in their living rooms, and this solves their problem,” said Curt Marvis, chief executive of CinemaNow, which is offering the download-to-DVD service. The studios participating include Sony, Disney, Universal, MGM and Lions Gate, which is a major shareholder in CinemaNow.

CinemaNow has been selling downloaded movies since April from these and some other studios, but the movies were restricted to computer viewing, and the downloads included only the film. The new offering also includes the bonus material on DVD discs, like filmmakers’ commentary and extra scenes.

The picture quality of the discs made through the downloading will not be as high as those on commercial DVD’s because the files need to be compressed to reduce the downloading time. Even so, it will take about three hours to download and burn a movie, hardly allowing for impulse purchases.

Mr. Marvis said users would not be inconvenienced by the time. “I was testing the service over the weekend with my family,” he said. “We picked out a movie to see, launched the service, cooked dinner, ate and by the time we washed and put away the dishes, there was the movie.”

And the studios are not yet allowing new releases to be sold in a form that can be copied to DVD’s. Initially, CinemaNow will offer about 100 older titles, including “Scent of a Woman,” “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” and “Barbershop.” Prices will be about $9 to $15, the same as the films sold in versions that could be downloaded only to computers.

Mr. Marvis said the response to the initial offering had been tepid."

I guess response would be tepid! Why would I pay as much as $15 to wait three hours to download a movie (even with its extra features), that has less than optimum quality, then have to burn it to a DVD that I have paid for???!!! Unless you take extra effort to create a menu, you would also not have the interactive selection capabilities of a DVD either! Come on movie moguls! You can do better than that!!!
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