Sony Computer has announced that PlayStation 3 owners will be able to stream and discuss classic movies through the new Mubi service from 4 November.
Mubi founder Efe Cakarel launched the service at Sydney's Chauvel Cinema yesterday, which will feature over 500 classic films, including free "featured" films for streaming through the PlayStation 3.
"Australia is one of our best countries. We are launching in 18 countries today and I could only be in one place and I'm here in Sydney," Cakarel said.
"It's a very unique offering, a new film service on your PlayStation 3 where you can watch, discover and share the best independent, foreign, arthouse and classic films," he said.
Users of the service can choose to download individual films for AU$1.75 for short films and AU$6.25 for feature films for a seven-day period or sign up for a monthly subscription of AU$19.95.
Mubi is a social network service which began on PC and enables users to watch and talk about movies and share them with other networks such as Facebook, all through a customised PS3 interface.
Cakarel said the service started as an opportunity to supply quality cinema through his medium of choice: a laptop.
"I was sitting in a cafe in Tokyo and I wanted to watch a film and nobody was offering [one]. The most advanced place in the world, the fastest broadband and the idea was born that minute."
Director and winner of last year's Tropfest Abe Forsythe said this is the service he has been hoping for all his life.
"When I was a teenager I joined up with a video store in order to order films from overseas and this has all of those things I was seeking out," Forsythe said.
Forsythe said Mubi showed a lot of potential for Australian films to get distribution on a global scale.
"It's a really cheap and effective way of releasing a film and making sure people see it," he said.
In an Australian first, Cakarel also announced he had inked deals with local distributor Hopscotch Films to release films on the PS3 service on the same day as the DVD release.
Mubi films are streamed in standard definition and use about 500MB to 600MB of bandwidth, and Sony Computer Entertainment Australia head Michael Ephraim said the company was in talks with internet service providers to provide these downloads quota free.
However, he also noted that ISPs had also released their own competitive products, but that "the NBN will solve all problems and we'll all be happy".
Cakarel noted that users on one of the new 1TB plans could "watch the whole library and then watch it again".
Cakarel said "there will always be movies for free" and the Mubi service is currently featuring the Turkish film Dry Summer without the need to sign up for a subscription.
Mubi is available as a free download from the PlayStation store, and joins Sony's VidZone music video service. The existing service is also available on PC or Mac through mubi.com.