Movie Downloads Go Mainstream

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Several years ago movies were available on the internet via peer-to-peer file sharing sites. Of course, issues of piracy and the risk of exposure to viruses prevented the average consumer from considering movie downloads a viable option however. More legitimate movie downloads came along a bit later in the form of Movielink and CinemaNow, but the selection was limited, download technology was a bit slow, and the equipment in the homes of most consumers made watching the films undesirable. For these reasons, movie downloads for the most part remained the domain of early adopters rather than the mainstream public.

Online movie rental services such as Netflix and Blockbuster have been more prominent forces in the home entertainment industry due to their much larger selection of movies. The primary drawback for such movie rental services was the delay between choosing the movie and receiving it in the mail a day or two later for viewing. However, the distinction between movie downloads, with their immediate gratification and convenience, and the world of online movie rentals, with their vast libraries of movie and television show titles, became blurred in 2007; benefiting the movie watching public.

Due to upgrades in how online movie rental services deliver their product, movie downloads appear to be going mainstream. In January 2007, online movie rental pioneer, Netflix announced they would begin offering customers the option of streaming movies to their PC although the availability of titles would be phased in over time. Within six months, Netflix announced that 5 million movies had been viewed using this download feature. The number of movies available to customers for downloading continued to increase and only six weeks later the number of movies viewed online had doubled to 10 million. Clearly, the popularity of downloading was catching hold within the average household.

In August 2007, Blockbuster the other major name in video rental, both online and off, announced that they had purchased Movielink. A joint venture between five major Hollywood movie studios, Movielink offered titles for rental or purchase and had provided early adopters movies for download to PC and portable devices. With the recent acquisition of Movielink, it is anticipated that movie downloads are soon to be an option with Blockbuster as well.

Certainly the events of 2007 appear to be headed toward a future of movie downloads becoming the preferred method of obtaining movies. If the escalating growth in the popularity of movie downloads evident at Netflix continues it would appear that local video stores will continue to lose market share. Similarly it would seem that mail delivery of rentals will begin to abate as well as downloading goes mainstream.


Source by Christine Peppler

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