Movielink, Cinemanow do pay-to-own movie downloads

— 5:17 PM on April 3, 2006

Movielink and CinemaNow are both about to announce new movie download services. With the industry facing slowing DVD sales and increasing piracy, the new services will introduce a unique pay-to-own model. Where current legal movie download sites only offer movies to rent, the new Movielink and CinemaNow services will allow users to download to own, albeit for a higher price: BusinessWeek cites $20 to $30 for newer movies and $10 to $20 for older ones, compared to around $4 for current rental services. Users will be allowed to copy movies to up to two other machines, but burning to DVD will be forbidden.

While a lack of DVD burning support is disappointing, movies will at least be available for download simultaneously with DVD releases; Brokeback Mountain, for instance, will show up on Movielink as soon as it becomes available in video stores tomorrow. Movielink will also have six of the top seven Hollywood films available at launch, including King Kong and the latest Harry Potter sequel, while CinemaNow's initial offerings will include Memoirs of a Geisha. Neither service will show Disney movies, possibly due to Apple CEO Steve Jobs' involvement with the company. CinemaNow will only show films from Sony, MGM, and Lion's Gate, as well. That being said, both services will reportedly offer an initial back catalogue of "several hundred older films," so there should be plenty to keep online moviegoers occupied.

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