Lovefilm, the online DVDrental company, has launched the first UK mass-market film download service.

Lovefilm expects to offerabout 500 titles by early 2006, and downloads will be priced from £2.99.

The VoD servicehas signed content deals with Warner Bros. including titles such as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,Alexander, Batman and Poltergeist.Films offered from Celluloid Dreams include HappyAccidents, Bashing and Kedma. Other independent selections include The Truth Game, TheWedding Cow, and early film collection FrenchPrimitives.

The VoD servicewas tested with a closed group of Lovefilm membersand officially became available to Lovefilmsubscribers on Friday.

Users will download films to their personalcomputers through Microsoft Windows Media Player. Download time will varyaccording to connection speed, but Lovefilm said afeature could take "a matter of minutes" to download. Once downloaded, filmsare viewable on a user's computer for up to seven days although there's a24-hour viewing window.

"The launch of this movie download serviceis an obvious and complimentary addition to our leading online DVD rentalservice," said Lovefilm CEO Mark Livingstone. "Wehave a huge ready-made audience of film fans with whom we engage constantly. Wehave a trusted relationship with them, and through our rating technology andindividual movie preference ratings database we can even personalise the videoon demand service."