Fox testing HD movie downloads before disc releases


"Prometheus" will be the first film released through the new distribution tactic.

In an effort to maximize its profits, Fox is testing a new sales tactic: releasing movies through digital distribution weeks before they go on sale in disc formats. The movies will be released through UltraViolet, however, and not one of the more popular digital distribution systems, such as iTunes or Amazon. Fox is calling the new system "Digital HD." 

The New York Times reports the first title to be sold using this tactic will be "Prometheus," which will see an UltraViolet release on Sept. 18, ahead of its Oct. 11 release on other platforms. "Prometheus" will be sold for $15 through the service. Currently, similar releases are sold for $20. Other upcoming titles to be offered through the new tactic include "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," "Ice Age: Continental Drift" and "The Watch." The new sales system will be implemented simultaneously in about 50 countries.

This isn't the first time movie studios have attempted unique sales tactics in an effort to improve sales. Last year, Fox and other movie studios angered theater owners by offering movies through an on-demand service for $30 just two months after they were released in theaters.

Sales of home video formats have fallen dramatically in recent years, leading movie studios to attempt unique distribution paths in an effort to increase their bottom line. According to the New York Times, home video sales peaked in 2004 at $21.8 billion; last year home video sales generated $18.4 billion.

Source: The New York Times | Image via "Prometheus" Facebook

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17 Comments

This is a good move, but I still prefer Blu-Ray. Better quality, 3D, and I enjoy all the extras. The physical copy usually comes with a code for a digital copy anyway. I can wait a few extra weeks. Also, Ultraviolet is not available in Canada yet, and my download cap would be reached pretty quickly downloading Blu-Ray quality movies.

Unless you can get me a copy that plays at 50Mbit with full Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS tracks I don't care about digital downloads then... so far BluRay has been the only thing to really fill that quality range

No mention on what the filetype will be and what DRM will be plastered all over it nor any mention of any adverts they'll be slotting in to it.

n_K said,
No mention on what the filetype will be and what DRM will be plastered all over it nor any mention of any adverts they'll be slotting in to it.

Ultraviolet is one of the least intrusive DRM schemes around. It is like Steam for movies. You buy a movie, and it's tied to your account. There are no ads in the movie. You can allow 5 people to share your account. You can stream or download movies. You can play them back on Android or Apple phones,tablets, set top boxes, PC, XBOX. It's still not available in Canada, so I haven't actually tried it, but from what I read, it is a huge step in the right direction.

UltraViolet is the red-headed stepchild of the Digital Copy/Digital Download world. I almost try and avoid buying blu-rays that have UltraViolet. At least they seem to have stopped labeling the discs as having a 'Digital Copy' since everyone assumes that meant it was playable in iTunes or Windows Media Player.

Okay.
-Make it cheaper like 10£ or 8
-Make it available to download through different mediums (iTunes etc)
-Provide Several size options - Medium quality compressed MKV and High quality uncompressed, so that people with less bandwidth or care for really high gfx can get it easier

Do that and they'll have a winner.

Richio said,
Okay.
-Make it cheaper like 10£ or 8
-Make it available to download through different mediums (iTunes etc)
-Provide Several size options - Medium quality compressed MKV and High quality uncompressed, so that people with less bandwidth or care for really high gfx can get it easier

Do that and they'll have a winner.

-$15 is already cheaper than 10£
-movies are already available in SD or HD size options

giantpotato said,

-$15 is already cheaper than 10£
-movies are already available in SD or HD size options


They have a habit of not making it under £10 and just making it £15 instead of converting it.

I would like for this to be implemented on Steam. Unlimited playbacks and could be re-downloaded at any time jut like games. Some parts can be encrypted. Encrypted part could be decrypted on the fly with user certificate if user owns this video, or with pre-downloaded advertisement if not. It would be wonderful if steam could automatically download new episodes of South Park or Futurama just as game patches.

You mean finally get on board and charge for what millions have been doing for years....why yes, that WOULD be a good idea. One critical thing also needs to happen, make the price so reasonable that people would rather buy than download illegally. $15 will not get it done. $5-$7 would and only if it matches the 720p mkv files that will beat it to market by weeks or months anyway. Worked for music.

I just want netflix to have movie releases sooner... same with series.... I hate being left hanging on a new series they have like 13/21 eps on there (specially when the 21st ep came out 2-3 mos ago or somethin).... arrrrg...

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