The New York Times is reporting that cable movie channel Starz and Real Networks will begin offering an online movie download subscription service. The new service will allow computer users to download more than 100 of the latest movies for a US$12.95 per month subscription.
According to the Times, the movies can be played only from the computer on which they were downloaded, and have an expiration date. Due to bandwidth restrictions, the resolution of the movies will be somewhat less than those on DVD, but the report says that movies will fill the screen. From the article Selling iNemoi Online, Trying to Repel Pirates:
The new service, called Starz Ticket on Real Movies, will cost $12.95 a month, and subscribers will be able to download and watch 100 or more movies each month, using Realis media player software.
As on the Starz cable service, which is owned by Liberty Media, the movies available will include recent Hollywood films, usually about a year after they were released, and some older titles. The movies available this month include "Finding Nemo," "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" and "The Poseidon Adventure."
The service represents the first time that mainstream films have been available as part of a flat-rate subscription plan over the Internet. A few existing services offer an Internet version of pay-per-view, in which single films can be downloaded for a fee of $1 to $5. But those movies typically can be watched only during a 24-hour period after purchase.
The article goes on to discuss the practicalities of the movie service, and it also discussed the growing trend by movie studios to consider movie download services based on a model similar to that of Appleis iTunes Music Store. You can find more information in the full article at the New York Timesi Web site.
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