CES: Flix on Stix moves movies from kiosk to USB

Launching a series of kiosks throughout the United States, Flix on Stix plans to enable people to download movies onto a USB stick, and watch them on their home computer.

Lance Whitney/CNET

LAS VEGAS--If Flix on Stix has its way, you may soon be downloading movies directly from kiosks to a USB flash drive.

Officially unveiling and demoing its movie service at CES this week, Flix on Stix will offer thousands of movie titles--both recent films and older titles--from its upcoming line of kiosks.

Starting in the first quarter, the company will be launching kisoks across shopping malls, supermarkets, bookstores, and college campuses. The kiosks will debut across the U.S. initially, but Flix on Stix says there's been interest from other countries as well.

Each kiosk contains a hard drive connected to the Internet. As many as 1,500 movies can be stored on a drive at any time. Just plug your USB drive into the kiosk, choose your movie, and it's automatically transferred.

You can sign up for a free membership with the service to search across the full gamut of movies in the Flix on Stix library from your own PC. You tell the service what movie you want, and it's downloaded to your local kiosk before you get there.

Each downloaded movie comes embedded with the Flix on Stix player, so no separate software is needed, and you can use any USB stick or drive. You can currently play a movie directly on a PC or Mac, or on the company's set-top box. You'll also be able to play the content on a TV, when the necessary Flix on Stix firmware becomes available.

Movies will be offered in either standard or high definition. Flix on Stix representatives say a standard-def movie will take about a minute and a half to download to a USB drive, while a high-def movie will take about 5 minutes.

Users can opt to either buy or rent a movie. Once the rental period is up, Flix on Stix automatically gives you an option to continue to rent or to buy the movie. If you decline, the movie simply disappears from your USB stick.

Down the road, Flix on Stix is looking to make games available for download. But size is a challenge. With a game chewing up a lot more space than a single movie, the company is looking into various compression techniques to squeeze huge games into small spaces. Initially, games will be for the PC, but Flix on Stix eventually wants to offer titles for the Wii, Xbox, and other platforms.

 

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