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The year of the Legal Film Download starts CES video frenzy

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Once again the content is weak and this looks like an experiment, but one which if it takes off can easily get access to more content.

LoveFilm is locked in a battle with Video Island to be the biggest online DVD rental service in Europe, both claiming the number-one spot. Both started in the UK and both have begun buying out their counterparts across Europe. But LoveFilm has gone one better launching a movie download service to UK customers, which will use Intel Viiv technology.

Like so many companies in and around technology, including Intel, LoveFilm doesn’t seem to be able to make the mental leap to bringing downloaded films to the TV. Viiv would be a good idea if the finished product cost about the same as a TV, but instead of working out how to simply download directly onto a TV, Viiv is all about turning the TV into a PC, by making it look like one. We’ll soon find out if this is a good idea when prices for the first devices begin to appear, and they may be as low as $500, in which case we’ll applaud.

Anyway, LoveFilm’s movie download service really has managed to get access to proper content including well-known popular titles such as Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, Alexander and Batman, as well as a total of 500 specialist and niche titles for rental for one time viewing at £3 per film, roughly $5.4 each. All of which sounds more convincing even than the Google offering and more of a threat to the Cinema than to the humble TV.

LoveFilm claims to have more than 300,000 customers to its online DVD rental service, which means it has an existing marketplace to push the online concept to.

As we carry on through 2006 expect many more entries into the online video download market.

Copyright © 2006, Faultline

Faultline is published by Rethink Research, a London-based publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter is an assessment of the impact of the week's events in the world of digital media. Faultline is where media meets technology. Subscription details here.

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