Netflix to launch movie download service

Has hell finally frozen over? It appears so, as the long-awaited Netflix download service is rolling out this year.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn

Netflix is set to launch its long-awaited movie download service over the next six months. The new service, which will be sold separately and also as part of the regular Netflix subscription plans, bills movies on time, not on amount. For instance, plans will have various tiers of movie times, and each streaming movie counts against that time. Think of it as an allowance.

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Netflix is also launching a new service called Program which lets users watch portions of movies as opposed to the whole thing, in essence, turning Netflix into a YouTube for movie clips.

There will be about 1,000 titles to start, with about five times as much by the end of the year. There's some pretty strict digital rights management on the titles, as you can't move a file onto a portable device or save it locally. The only positive side to that is that each streaming movie starts up almost instantly, and there's no local storage to worry about.

I can't wait to give this a try, as competitors such as Movielink and CinemaNow seem a little clunky, and if Netflix can re-create the feeling you get finding those red envelopes in the mail, it'll have a winner on their hands with this service.

(Source: Variety.com)