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US nationwide launch for revived on-demand MovieBeam

Disney, Intel and Cisco Systems have confirmed ambitious expansion plans for MovieBeam, the on demand movie service seeking a slice of the $10bn US movie rental business.

The service will launch in 29 markets representing nearly half of US homes with its core service of a $199 MovieBeam settop box that holds 100 films customers can rent for $1.99-$3.99 each. The box will be updated with as many as 10 new films each week, which will be datacast via a digital signal carried over the broadcast television spectrum. Some films from Disney and Warner Bros will be supplied in HD at $4.99 a time.

MovieBeam has secured content rights from most Hollywood studios and Disney will make its titles available to MovieBeam on the same date they are released on home video. Bob Iger, chief executive of Disney, said: “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.”

Disney founded MovieBeam four years ago but suspended the service last year after trials in three US cities. It has since revived the project after bringing in Intel and Cisco as partners. Cisco will make and sell the settop boxes – which come with a “paperback book size” antenna - under its Linksys brand.

Story filed 14.02.06

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