Moviebeam, a newly formed U.S. digital entertainment venture, has the backing of heavyweight companies Walt Disney, Cisco Systems and Intel Corporation and is set to take a slice of the USD$10 billion movie-rental industry.

The Moviebeam movies-on-demand service provides instant access to an ever-changing line-up of new releases and popular favourites from most major Hollywood studios.

The on-demand movie service system consists of a player, a small indoor antenna and a remote control. The player comes pre-loaded with 100 movies, with 10 movies updated each week using over-the-air datacasting technology. Customers automatically receive the new movies via the small indoor antenna that accompanies the Moviebeam player.

Moviebeam says the system does not require any professional installation. Requiring only connection of the player to a television, the small indoor antenna, and a phone line (for billing purposes). Movies are then immediately available.

After purchasing the system and activating the service, customers pay only for the movies they watch. There are no equipment rental fees, monthly subscription fees or annual contracts.

The system costs USD$250. Movie-rental fees range from USD$2 to USD$5 and run for a 24-hour period during which customers can watch the film repeatedly.

Moviebeam says 30 million U.S. households rent four or more movies per month, 80 percent of them being new releases. Moviebeam claims it is poised to dramatically improve consumers’ movie-rental experience, with the service debuting today across most major metro areas in the U.S.

There are always 100 movies available instantly, with up to 10 new titles automatically delivered digitally each week – including select movies in high definition (HD) – via Moviebeam’s exclusive over-the-air datacasting technology , which it claims to be low cost.

“Consumers have come to expect entertainment content when, where and how they want it, and with its increased reach, enhanced technology and support from investors like Cisco and Intel, Moviebeam will create that convenience,” said Bob Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. 

“Digital technology is changing the face of entertainment, which is helping to transform peoples’ lifestyles and create exciting new business opportunities,” said Paul Otellini, president and CEO of Intel Corporation. “As the lines between computing and consumer electronics devices continue to blur, it is imperative that high-quality premium content be readily available and accessible. Such new services as Moviebeam are helping to deliver on this vision by providing consumers with greater choice and control over how they enjoy digital entertainment.

“There is a transition happening in the home entertainment market as consumers are moving toward platforms that provide on-demand access to content,” said John Chambers, president and CEO of Cisco Systems, Inc. “The convergence of traditional consumer electronics products with home networking technologies allows for the creation and deployment of new entertainment services that will give consumers greater control and a richer user experience. As Moviebeam continues to expand its offerings there will be a range of opportunities for collaboration to jointly deliver on this vision.”

Tres Izzard, president and CEO of Moviebeam, Inc. said “Moviebeam is establishing a foothold as an up-and-coming leader in digital entertainment. We’re committed to delivering the highest quality and most convenient movie-rental experience to our customers, which will enable us to grow this business and continue to deliver innovative offerings that change the way people enjoy entertainment at home.”

No word yet on a Moviebeam Australian debut, which would directly compete with Foxtel’s Box Office video-on-demand service.


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