April 21, 2005 10:43 AM PDT

Verizon calls 'action' on movie downloads

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Verizon Communications on Thursday launched a movie download service for broadband customers through a partnership with Movielink.

The rentals are available to customers of Verizon Online's digital subscriber line and Fios Internet service, Verizon said. These customers can choose from a selection of titles on Movielink's video-on-demand service.

The downloaded movies can be stored on a hard drive for up to 30 days, Verizon said. People can watch a rented film as often as they want in a 24-hour period. The files can be viewed on a PC, on a television connected to the PC, or on a laptop computer--the system does not have to be online. Thirty days after downloading, the movie files are automatically deleted, Verizon said.

The New York-based phone company is entering into new partnerships with entertainment companies as part of its strategy to make inroads into the paid television market using its fiber-optic network. Entertainment content is a key application driving broadband penetration.

"Our new movie rental service helps our broadband customers get even more out of their high-speed connection," Eric Cevis, vice president of retail markets at Verizon, said in a statement. "With top content from Movielink and the speed of Verizon's broadband networks, customers enjoy the flexibility and convenience of accessing affordable entertainment in ways they want to receive it."

The cost of renting a downloadable Movielink film typically ranges from $2.99 to $4.99, with a selection offered at 99 cents per download, a Verizon representative said.

4 comments

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Booo! Won't work with Macs (or Linux)
Verizon is adopting an ALL Microsoft technology. For instance,
they offer MSN with my new DSL service (I'm switching from
Comcast to a significantly lower cost BB provider) which doesn't
a offer feature for feature parity.

MovieLink is a "Windows only" website as evidenced by this two
year old warning: "Sorry, but in order to enjoy the Movielink
service you must have Windows 98/SE, ME, 2000 or XP, which
support certain technologies we utilize for downloading movies.
We do not support Mac or Linux"
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
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Disappointing
I got all excited by this story but they can't be treating this feature too seriously if they ignore Mac users. If the market share does shift (and it looks like there is a decent chance it will) they will regret this and Steve will probably fill the void with iEverthing...

On the otherhand, I am surprised that Bill has not made available a WMP for the Mac. Another opportunty lost.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
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Movielink Choices Rather Limited
Movielink has a long way to go before they can really compete with NextFlix or Blockbuster.
The movie choices available for download are very limited, roughly 1,050 titles. Movielink's website only supports IE, not Firefox or Opera. In order to download a movie, you are required to install their download manager software. The software then surreptitiously auto-starts every time at bootup. I found it impossible to disable this without uninstalling the entire package. Once you play a movie it is only accessable for a 24 hour period. So forget about previewing a movie and then having friends come over to watch later. Overall, I found the Movielink experience less than satisfying.

Keith
www.techcando.com
Posted by Stating (869 comments )
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I found Blockbuster disappointing
I subscribed to both Netflix and Blockbuster for about 3 months. I dropped Blockbuster because a growing number of movies would switch from "Available" to "Short Wait." I found this very annoying considering the size of the company standing behind it. Until, that is, I remembered that Netflix had this very same problem when it started up. Fortunately this won't be an issue with rentals that are truly online (instead of being merely ordered online and received snailmail). Once Movielink gets the right to distribute a movie, everyone who wants to view it will have equal access - not limited to the number of disks available (and, as a result, limited to being able to fill orders only as fast as the DVDs are RETURNED). I expect that the limited selection will disappear if this catches on.

I am surprised, though, that it's not available TiVo (or Comcast's "On Demand") style. Then the Mac/IBM compatibility wouldn't be an issue. Who wants to watch a movie on a computer monitor anyway?
Posted by Jim Harmon (329 comments )
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