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Old 05-27-2008   #1
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Default Low-Res Movie Download Services - Destroyers of the Home Theater Viewing Experience

Cinemanow offers a variety of services now available through Windows Media Center. It appears there is no support for Apple users. Sorry. Also, most all downloads are listed at 1200 and 1500 kbps for about a total of a 1.5 GB download. This correlates to less than one quarter the resolution of a purchased DVD. Don't even bother comparing the resolution with the bitrate and resolution of Blu-ray discs. Not to mention, the sound format of even new releases is stereo.

The convenience of movie downloads, or lack of convenience if you consider the download process and need for a Windows Vista PC, is taking the home theater experience in the wrong direction. Most of us can hardly watch standard defintion tv after experiencing HD channels. And most of us can't watch an SD DVD anymore without longing for 1080p Blu-ray quality. Distributors, and consumers, need to realize paying $19.95 for a movie download that only works through Internet Explorer or Firefox on a PC, has less than one quarter the resolution, and only has a stereo soundtrack, is not a good value at all. Do yourself a favor and spend the few extra bucks to get the Blu-ray or DVD disc in your hands.

Not all is lost when it comes to downloads. For example, VideoGiants offers HD video downloads at 11Mbps, superior to that of SD DVD. However, if you are deadset on movie downloads with low resolutions that will display nice pixelated content on your HDTV, here are the latest options...

CinemaNow Windows Media Center Options:

• Download-to-own: Hollywood movies, popular TV shows, and music videos are available for purchase, providing an unlimited viewing period on up to 3 devices. Download-to-own movies are priced from $9.99 to $19.99; TV shows and music videos are priced at $1.99. Download-to-Own movies are available day-and-date of retail DVD release.

• Pay-Per-View: Hollywood movies are available for purchase, providing customers a 24 hour window to watch the video. As with all CinemaNow downloads, customers can start watching in minutes or download the file and watch it anytime, anywhere. Pay-Per-View movies are priced between $2.99 and $3.99. Select Pay-Per-View titles are available day-and-date of retail DVD release.

• Burn-to-DVD: Enables customers to legally download a DVD, play it back on their PC, and burn a copy to a blank DVD disc. The disc can then be played in virtually any DVD player with full remote control navigation and access to all of the special features. Burn-to-DVD movies are priced from $8.99 to $14.99.

In addition to CinemaNow, Windows Media Center delivers a variety of TV and video content to millions of consumers:

• TV ˆ Consumers can watch both live and recorded TV in Windows Media Center. A variety of TV options are supported, including broadcast over-the-air NTSC and ATSC, analog digital cable and satellite, all with a no-charge Program Guide.

• Internet TV Betaˆ Internet TV Beta is a U.S. offering within Windows Media Center that allows consumers to choose from more than 100 hours of TV entertainment, music concerts, movie trailers, news, and sports content, and you don‚t even need a TV Tuner to watch it. Consumers can watch Internet TV Beta full-screen on their Windows Media Center PC or use Extenders for Windows Media Center to watch it on their TV.

• Online Media ˆ Online Media gives users access to a variety of digital media, including sports news and statistics from Fox Sports, XM Radio, HSN Vision, and Showtime TV. Online Media also provides the ability to browse through top stories from NPR, Reuters and other news outlets, allowing users to quickly catch up on the day‚s top stories. There are also several Windows Media Center add-ons available from the providers, which allow you to watch NetFlix, YouTube videos or check the weather, to mention just a few of the services available from Online Media services partners.

• Movies ˆ In addition to CinemaNow, Windows Media Center provides access to Starz Entertainment‚s VONGO and MovieLink, which are additional premium movie and TV downloading services. Digital home movies can also be easily accessed through Windows Media Center and watched on a television via an Extender for Windows Media Center.
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