Disney launches movie on demand service Moviebeam

MUMBAI: In an attempt to break into home film distribution, the Walt Disney Company today launched its on-demand movie rental service MovieBeam

The set top box automatically receives movies, stores them on its hard-drive, and gives consumers the opportunity to view them on their schedule via television broadcast airwaves.

MovieBeam will offer instant access to recent DVD and video releases, as well as a wide variety of popular favorites, from almost all of the major studios. The service launched this week, in three test markets, Jacksonville, Florida; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Spokane, Washington, will enable the consumers to rent films from their homes.

The MovieBeam business model relies on existing broadcast spectrum to achieve significant bandwidth to the home. The 24/7 broadcast requires a $6.99 monthly subscription fee, which covers the use of the box, while individual movie rentals on the service cost $3.99 for a new and $2.49 for an older film, says a company release. 

Technically supported by Samsung Electronics, the MovieBeam offers 100 movies in full digital quality, and every week, about 10 new movies are transmitted via a digital wireless signal to the MovieBeam receiver's small indoor antenna, replacing 10 titles. It is designed to work irrespective of whether or not a consumer has a cable or satellite television subscription.

According to the press release, the data transmissions are channelised through secure data streams and are sent through the broadcast spectrum of television stations owned by ABC and National Datacast's network of PBS stations.

The service will offer a broad range of movies, including popular action, drama, comedy and family titles. MovieBeam currently has agreements in place with DreamWorks SKG, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Miramax Films, New Line Cinema, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox Studios and Walt Disney Studios.

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