CinemaNow Steps Up (A Little)

A couple of days ago, I discussed the announcement by the film download service Movielink that they had licensed software to allow downloaded films to be burnt to DVD. Of course, there was still the tiny little hurdle of getting the studios to go along with their plan. Maybe by the end of the year.

Enter CinemaNow. They announced yesterday that they have not only licensed DVD-burning software and gotten a studios to take a flyer on the concept, but they have actually started offering the service. Naturally, there are issues.

  • It only works with Windows XP running Windows Media Player 10, and CinemaNow’s proprietary software.
  • The whole process can take up to 5 hours. (I still don’t think that this is a huge issue: do something else while you wait for the download and burn. Duh.)
  • Only about 100 titles, none of them new releases. And the prices are too high for the Long Tail product: I’m not sure that I want to pay $15 bucks to download and burn Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie. Especially when it costs very very little to stick a copy of that digital file on CinemaNow’s servers.
  • You can only burn to DVD one time, so you better hope to god that your store-bought DVD-R is a good one!!

These are not, of course, minor quibbles. Given everything that can go wrong with this process, especially as compared to purchasing the same DVDs from Best Buy or Amazon, you can see why that there are people who suggest that the studios want this distribution method to fail. The problem, of course, is that people will download and burn films anyways: the only question is whether or not they do it legally and cheaply or illegally and even more cheaply.

2 Responses to “CinemaNow Steps Up (A Little)”

  1. Kirk says:

    Pricing is still way out of wack. The consumer is doing all of the work and yet they still charge almost as much as they would for a manfactured DVD.

    Also, don’t understimate the importance of the download time. Long downloads can potentially disrupt other services – like VoIP. If it’s going to take that long to download consumers might consider using a faster service – like Bittorrent.

  2. Jim says:

    You’re right. I was thinking of downloads in terms of time (something that I’ve dealt with ever since I waited all night for a 1MB file to download on my 2400baud modem in 1993), and not as much as competing for bandwidth.

    But I actually refrain from doing long downloads when I’m doing other network-intensive things like listening to the audiotron, or even just regular surfing.