WSJ.com - Microsoft Joins With 3 Partners To Bolster Movies on MSN Site "Aiming to draw more movie fans to its Web site, Microsoft Corp.'s MSN unit entered agreements with three companies to make it easier for consumers to rent or view movies over the Internet.
MSN plans to offer links from its Web site to both Blockbuster Inc., the Dallas movie-rental chain, and CinemaNow Inc., a movie-downloading site in which Microsoft and Blockbuster are investors. It also will expand an agreement with MovieTickets.com, a Web site that sells tickets to movies in cinemas. The three entertainment companies will share revenue with MSN for business drawn in from its site.
The deal with CinemaNow will enable MSN users to download movies to their computers. While online viewing of movies has gained more slowly than some studio executives expected, many analysts anticipate it will take off as more consumers gain high-speed Internet access. Another driver: homes networked for entertainment, in which the computer and the television are networked, allowing users to download a movie to their computer and then zap it to their living-room TV instead of watching it at a desk. The Yankee Group, a consulting company in Boston, expects 20 million U.S. homes will be networked for such entertainment by 2008, compared with 500,000 at the end of 2003."
So I guess Microsoft is one of the companies that plans to provide Internet-based movie alternatives to Comcast.