At first glance, MovieBeam—backed by Disney, Cisco, Intel, and others—seems like a lot of other set-top box services offering on-demand, rental access to movies. And, indeed, the MovieLink boxes store up to 100 movies, and offer instant on-demand access to a frequently-updated selection of new releases and popular favorites from every major Hollywood studio. But instead of tapping into a user’s satellite, cable, or broadband Internet connection, MovieBeam downloads movies over the air using a special datacasting technology riding on airwaves alongside Public Broadcasting Systems signals. MovieBeam typically offers 100 movies at a time—all downloaded and stored locally on users’ systems for instant access—with 10 new titles delivered every week, including some high-definition selections.
The MovieBeam set-top box is priced at $99; movies cost $3.99 for new releases, and $1.99 for library titles. If a movie is available in HD, it costs $1 extra. Through November 5, 2006, RadioShack will be overing a $50 mail-in rebate on the simultaneous purchase of any LCD TV with the MovieBeam system at select stores.
MovieBeam service is currently available in the following areas: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland (Oregon), Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle-Tacoma, St. Louis, Tampa, and Washington D.C.