Sony to Offer Movie Downloads

Sony has announced that it is getting into the movie on demand game by offering downloadable movies via Movielink. Unfortunately, Firefox users will get an error when attempting to go to the Movielink site that states:

“Sorry, but in order to enjoy the Movielink service you must use Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher, which supports certain technologies we utilize for downloading movies. Click here to get the latest version of Internet Explorer.
We do not support Mozilla or Netscape. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

Is this a Microsoft partnership deal? They do only use Windows Media Player format.
Shoddy technology decisions aside, this is just a poor business model from beginning to end. They claim they are modeling the service after iTunes, but it is really not anything like it except that it is distributed online. Most movies I saw were downloadable for between $4.49 and $4.99 (though they claim there are some for $1.99 I didn’t see any that low). The thing is, this just buys you a viewing – and you must complete that viewing within 30 days of purchase and within 24 hours of beginning to watch the film.
Who do they think their audience for these things is? Anyone who is downloading movies to view on their computer is or would be a Netflix or similar service subscriber before they would do this. With Netflix you can keep a movie forever and can start watching a movie in 2001 and complete in 2005 if you want. AND you can easily watch it on your TV.
Maybe they think their market is people who normally get pay-per-view movies. They are delusional if they think this is smart. Pay-per-view movies are available immediately in most cases without waiting 30 to 90 minutes to download, they usually cost between $1.99 and $4.99, and they too can easily be watched on TVs rather than computer screens.
Here’s an idea for Movielink, given free of charge. When people pay for and download movies from your service, they should either pay a bit more ($12.00) and own them just as iTunes users do or they should pay less ($2.00) and be able to watch them for a specified period of time.

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