Monday, September 29, 2003

WSJ.com - No Late Fees: Disney Will 'Beam' Rental Movies Directly Into Homes

WSJ.com - No Late Fees: Disney Will 'Beam' Rental Movies Directly Into Homes "Disney Monday plans to begin rolling out Moviebeam, a low-cost effort to deliver movies from most of the Hollywood studios directly into homes, where they can be watched on demand. The service -- which will be launched initially in Salt Lake City; Spokane, Wash; and Jacksonville, Fla. -- works like this: Consumers pay a monthly fee of $6.99 to use a device containing a 160-gigabyte hard drive that holds 100 movies, which is plugged into the back of a TV set. A charge also is assessed for each movie that is watched. A phone line must be plugged in to the box for billing purposes. In one market Disney will experiment with a $29.99 activation fee as well.
The Moviebeam box will be regularly refreshed with new digital movies that are delivered to it not via digital cable, satellite or the Internet but through the old-fashioned pipeline of broadcast airwaves. Manufactured by Samsung Electronics, the receiver has a small but powerful antenna that resembles a tiny propeller. Through a process known as datacasting, Moviebeam perpetually transmits movies to the device's hard drive in tiny bits of data that travel alongside the normal broadcast stream of a local ABC or PBS station, without interfering with regular TV broadcasts. While the service currently uses the analog broadcast spectrum, it is equipped to take advantage of digital broadcasts when they become more common."

I've read that disk cost ~$1/gig these days, so I suppose this is practical...
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