Seven major movie studios announced today that they'll start offering movies for digital download this week. Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, and MGM will offer downloads through Movielink, while Sony and Lionsgate are going with CinemaNow. Now, I'm trying not to be all Debbie Downer here, but here's the downside: downloadable new releases, at least from Movielink, will cost as much as a DVD--$20 to $30. And even older titles will cost $10 to $20.
For that price, you'll be allowed to burn Movielink downloads to DVD, but only for playback on a PC (who-knows-what infinitely hackable technology will prevent you from playing it in a standard DVD player). While you can transfer movies to two other computers, you can't transfer them to a portable video player. CinemaNow, on the other hand, is taking the "we really don't want anyone to buy these downloads" approach. No burning to DVD, and no transfer to other PCs whatsoever--at least not yet. Sigh. Oh, well. Rome wasn't built in a day. At least they've laid the first stones!