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Movielink launched -- only for U.S. customers

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 11 Nov 2002 5:15 User comments (1)

Movielink launched -- only for U.S. customers Much delayed and anticipated launch of first commercial major movie studio-backed online movie service, Movielink, was finally launched today. Service offers pay-per-view type of movie rentals for U.S. broadband users who are willing to download the movie and watch it using their PCs.
Currently the service is really restricted to U.S. customers only, their website just gives an annoying apology if you access outside U.S. stating "Thank you for your interest in Movielink. We want you to take part in the powerful Internet movie rental experience that Movielink delivers, but it is presently unavailable to users outside of the United States."

Obviously the geographical limitation was relatively easy to circumvent by using anonymous proxies inside U.S. Next step what the site does is that it checks for user's configuration and tries to find either RealPlayer or Windows Media Player v7.1 or higher -- if this fails, site gives an error and offers download links for players. Service is also limited to Windows operating systems and requires IE5.0 or later as a webbrowser.

One movie rental costs between $2.99 and $4.99, depends on the movie and currently the site features appx. 200 movies, including some relatively big hits such as Resident Evil and Collateral Damage, but the big blockbusters that are being released on DVD right now, are still missing. Once the movie is downloaded (yes, it is not a streaming service), users have 30 days time to decide when they want to watch the movie. But once user decides to hit the play button, the timelimit shrinks to 24h window during which time they're allowed to watch the movie as many times as they want to.

Current launch is not actually the Big Launch, but somewhat beta testing period instead, which will last appx. 90 days after which the service will be rolled out with advertisements and such. Meanwhile company is collecting suggestions, user feedback and ironing out the technical glitches.

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1 user comment

112.11.2002 2:57

It looks like an interesting service for US broadband users. While it offers the advantage of not being restricted to a PPV slot on satellite/cable or having to physically go out to rent & return the movie, it does have its drawbacks: 1. It takes much longer to download the movie than to go out and rent it, i.e. ideally, it should be downloaded overnight. 2. It would unlikely have the quality or features like that of a rented DVD such as Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. If I were to download a movie, I certainly wouldn't chooose the Windows media version. 3. Playback must be performed on the PC, so it would be necessary to use a remote video sender/AV cables and have easy access to a PC in order to watch it on your large sitting room TV.

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