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Thursday, June 01, 2006

NY Times looks at Moviebeam

Tech reviewer David Pogue of the NY Times says that the Moviebeam delivery service fits a pretty small niche (it's a set-top box that stores 100 constantly-refreshed movies), but other than that, he seems to like it. His review compares it to Netflix, HBO, Blockbuster, pay-per-view, and other existing delivery channels for movies. (Here's an earlier CinemaTech post about Moviebeam.)

Pogue writes:

    So who, exactly, is a good candidate for MovieBeam?

    According to the company's research, movie fans in 30 million American households make at least four round trips to the video store each month. If you're among them, you're an excellent MovieBeam prospect.

    You should also consider MovieBeam if you're paying for several cable movie channels but watching only a few movies a month on them. You could cancel the channels, saving about $10 a channel per month. The beauty of MovieBeam is that you pay only when you actually watch a movie. If your life hits a busy patch, you don't keep forking over money for a service you're not using.

    Note that these situations make you a candidate for MovieBeam, not necessarily a happy camper. Potential drawbacks include the price for the box itself ($200, though with free shipping and a 30-day guarantee); the wide-screen format of most of its movies; and the lack of DVD extras ("making of" documentaries and other featurettes). MovieBeam offers only one featurette per movie, and for only a handful of movies each month. (On the bright side, it doesn't sentence you to watching an annoying, non-fast-forwardable F.B.I. warning as the movie starts.)