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Sainsbury's tries something new today with digital downloads for Christmas

Sainsbury's is launching a music and film download service in time for some last-minute online Christmas shopping.

Last-minute Christmas shopping just got even easier at Sainsbury's. Now you can leave it until almost literally the last minute before buying the latest saucy ditty from hip-hop pop-moppet Rihanna, as the supermarket chain announces a digital download service in time for Christmas.

sainsburys.co.uk/entertainment launched last week to pre-order and shop online for real-life books, DVDs, Blu-rays, CDs and games. The digital download element will be added before Christmas, with Sainsbury's telling us it's aiming for around the end of November.

Sainsbury's is also yet to confirm the crucial detail: pricing. It'll need to compete with a crowded marketplace full of services such as iTunes, We7, Amazon, Sky Songs and 7digital. But Sainsbury's has the advantage of brand awareness among a demographic that may never have heard of those services. Just as the music charts are often influenced by shoppers who wouldn't set foot in a record shop but will drop Michael Buble and Take That into their trolleys, Sainsbury's could see a new subset of digital downloaders.

Just like Crave buying presents, the nation's second-largest supermarket chain is leaving things to the last minute to get organised. Details are thin as yet, but we'd like to see Nectar points involved. You could earn points on your Christmas turkey, then head home and spend them on a blockbuster movie to watch as the family slips into the traditional bloated post-lunch stupor.

Earlier this year, Tesco announced it was working on Digital Locker, a service that would automatically store a film or album in the cloud when you bought a physical copy in a Tesco store. Although slated to launch in October, that service has yet to appear. The UK's biggest retailer already offers films and music for download, as well as a DVD rental service powered by LoveFilm.

Update: Sainsbury's has told us that you won't be able to use Nectar points to buy music or films. That's it, Sainsbury's -- Christmas is ruined!