Universal's Download-to-Own Movie Service [Updated]
CNN reports that Universal Pictures and Lovefilm are launching the "world's first download-to-own movie service" in Britain next month.
The new service will allow people to download the latest movies on their laptops, home computers or handheld devices. Unlike existing rental services, this new service will allow users to own the movies.
Online downloads will be offered starting at midnight on the day of the DVD release. Users will receive 3 different formats for the movie. Two downloadable digital files will be available for either your PC or handheld video device. In addition, the DVD is also sent to the user in the mail.
The pricing will be tiered between 9.99 ($17.50) and 19.99 ($35). Older movies will cost less while new movies will carry a premium.
There is no word on the digital rights management format that will be used. Apple has been rumored to be working on their own download movie service. The first of these movies was posted on iTunes for $9.99 for a 320x240 resolution movie. Unless Universal has been specifically working with Apple, it is unlikely that their new movie service will work on the iPod due to digital rights management restrictions.
Update: Reuters clarifies that the service does use Microsoft's DRM. So, these video files will not work on the iPod.