The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved a request by the Motion Pictures Association Of America (MPAA) that paves the way in some cases for VOD releases of new releases before their DVD or Blu-ray launch.

The decision is almost certain to be unpopular among the exhibition sector in a year that has already seen their cherished releaseing window come under attack from The Walt Disney Company.  

It means that owners of televisions with digitally secure interfaces will be able to receive high-definition content from a cable, satellite or IPTV provider using an anti-piracy protocol called selectable output control.

“On balance, this limited waiver will provide public interest benefits – making movies widely available for home viewing far earlier than ever before – without imposing harm on any consumers,” the FCC said.

“This action is an important victory for consumers who will now have far greater access to see recent high definition movies in their homes,” the MPAA’s president and interim CEO Bob Pisano said. “We deeply appreciate the recognition by the FCC that recently released movies need special protection against content theft when they are distributed to home televisions.

“The first, and best way to view movies will always be in movie theatres – and nothing can replace the pleasure this brings to millions and millions of people all across our country and the globe,” Pisano added.

“But for those people unable to make it to the theatre and interested in viewing a recently released movie, thanks to the FCC, they will now have a new option. For other consumers who prefer standard, linear, on-demand or DVD or Blu-ray options, these services will be unchanged.”