MovieBeam, a venture formerly funded by just The Walt Disney Company, but now with backing as well from Intel, Cisco and several venture capital firms, is a new set top box ready to join the array of boxes already cluttering home entertainment systems across America. This latest unit though provides some of the most interesting promise: wirelessly downloaded movies from virtually every major Hollywood studio, including 20th Century Fox, NBC/Universal Studios, New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Studios and Warner Brothers Studios.

The MovieBeam set top box is priced at $199.99 after an introductory rebate. It comes preloaded with 100 mainstream movies across multiple genres and downloads 10 new movies a week – some new, some older popular favorites – via over-the-airwaves data casting technology which is carried on top of an existing PBS broadcasting infrastructure managed by National Datacast. As new movies are automatically downloaded, older movies are automatically deleted to keep the number at a constant 100.

Besides the initial hardware cost, a one time activation fee of $29.99 must be paid. Movies downloaded to the box also cost money when they are viewed on demand: $3.99 for new releases ? some of which are same day release as their DVD siblings – and $1.99 for older ?library titles?. MovieBeam users who have high definition systems will find that a limited number of movies ? approximately 10 percent of loaded titles at any one time – are available in native HD format and can be viewed for an additional $1 on top of the existing rental fees. All rentals are good for a 24-hour period, during which time they can be viewed for as often as one likes. They cannot at this time however be copied off of the MovieBeam player to a computer or portable entertainment device.

Hardware features of the MovieBeam system include the set top box, an indoor antenna which receives the data cast signal carrying new movies and a remote control. The set top box itself, which is co-branded with Cisco?s Linksys home networking division, contains a 160GB hard drive and a 200Mhz CPU. It sports a variety of video connection ports including HDMI, component, S-video and composite. Audio connection options include digital coaxial, SP/DIF, HDMI and left/right stereo audio.

Image Courtesy of MovieBeam

Also part of the hardware of the MovieBeam player is Ethernet and USB 2.0 ports. These will enable broadband connectivity later this year, which should expand the features and content of the service. This is joined by additional features such as up-conversion of standard definition movies via the HDMI connection when connected to a HDTV, DVR-like functions for controls such as pause and rewind, free full-length trailers for every available rental and an on-screen user interface which sorts downloaded movies by characteristics such as title and genre.

Another expansion option coming down the pipeline is a USB peripheral, being developed in collaboration with Intel, which will bring the MovieBeam service to other devices, most likely PCs.

The MovieBeam service is initially available in 29 major metropolitan areas, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Memphis, Minneapolis, Nashville, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland (Oregon), Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa and Washington, D.C.

More details about MovieBeam, including information on where to find the set top box, can be found at their website.

Movies & TV

Disney Plus: Here’s what we know so far about the upcoming streaming service

Disney is bringing the full weight of its massive content library to its own streaming service in 2019. How will Disney Plus compare to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime? Here's what we know so far.

These Xbox One exclusives are the definition of quality over quantity

Xbox One has a prestigious collection of handpicked titles that you can't play on other consoles. Here are the latest and greatest Xbox One exclusives, including some that are also available on PC
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to 'Roma'

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Home Theater

Everything to know about Sling TV: Channels, pricing, and more

Sling TV has grown a great deal since its launch. Now there are more channels and more packages to chose from, with prices to match, and more is being added all the time. Everything you need to know is right here.

Take a gander at the best deals on 4K TVs for February 2019

There's no doubt that a good 4K smart TV is the best way to take your home entertainment setup to the next level to enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and games in glorious Ultra HD. We've got the best 4K TV deals right here.

Don't know what to do with all your old DVDs? Here's how to convert them to MP4

Given today's rapid technological advancements, physical discs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Check out our guide on how to convert a DVD to MP4, so you can ditch discs for digital files.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best movies you’ll find on Hulu right now (February 2019)

From dramas to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Home Theater

They were robbed! From Crowe to Pacino, 10 times Oscar voters got it wrong

With the 91st Oscars rapidly approaching, now is a fine time to look back at several Oscar-worthy performances that were completely ignored by the Academy, as well as others that were nominated and astoundingly denied the little naked…
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: Yesterday, Tolkien, Triple Frontier, and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's trailers for Yesterday, Tolkien, Aladdin, Frozen 2, and Triple Frontier.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Deadpool 2, The Umbrella Academy, and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Deadpool 2, The Umbrella Academy, Lorena, and more.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (February 2019)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.