Opinion may be split on whether online downloads are the future of home entertainment but everyone agrees on the key limiting factor to the expansion of downloads: bandwidth.

"What we're waiting for is broader, more reliable, more ubiquitous bandwidth," says US analyst Roger Kay. "Video as a data type is as much as three orders of magnitude larger than, say, audio files. So a model that works really well in the audio business, like iTunes, so far isn't feasible for video, because to get high-quality downloads there's just too much data for it to be a good experience.

"It will be coming, it's just that it's going to take a while more. But it's not on the really distant horizon - they're working on bandwidth in all kinds of ways. It's a weakest-link problem, in the sense that your connection to the server that's sending your video is through five different things, and the problem can be with any one of those.

"But there are places where it works and there are technologies that are almost there," he says.

One place where it is already working at its best is Korea, says Mike Dunn of Fox. "To download Die Hard 4.0 in the US will take probably an hour, or 45 minutes if you live on the right street, with no-one doing anything on that street. In Korea it takes 10-15 minutes because its internet is more robust than in the US or even the UK. It won't be that robust in those places for a long period of time," he says.

"As well as bandwidth, one of the biggest issues - and people take this for granted - is the ability of the household to efficiently move content around. You can easily move your disc from your living room to your bedroom to your car. To bring in a software file and move it around easily is just not there yet in a mass-market environment."