Canadian telecom and internet service provider Bell Canada will launch a movie download service in April or May, ScreenDaily.com has learned.
Similar in methodology to Apple's iTunes, the new service, called The Bell Video Store will offer Hollywood titles for rental or to own for use on up to three authorized media devices. Television programs and music videos will also be available. Users will access the online site through proprietary software not unlike iTunes and store the purchased or rented content on the device's hard-drive.
A Bell spokesperson told Screen International that distribution deals had been struck with at least one studio but declined to name the studio. The beta website (www.bellvideostore.ca) lists several Paramount titles, including classic films such as Breakfast At Tiffany's (1961) and Chinatown (1974) as well as newer films such as Zoolander. Prices on the website suggest a base price of $9.72 (C$9.99) for a download-to-own transaction on Breakfast At Tiffany's.
The service is limited to PCs running Microsoft Windows XP and will utilize Windows Media Player WMV format. Downloaded material cannot be burned to DVDs. It will only function on the licensed devices. Progressive buffering will allow viewing within five to ten minutes of commencing the download over a broadband connection.
The spokesman would not address such issues as the number of titles set to be offered on launch, the planned expansion of titles or whether the service would offer DVD extra features for download.