When I last mentioned CinemaNow back in April, it got a Thumbs Down as a typical Internet movie download service hobbled by digital rights management:
… as usual when Hollywood gets involved with the Internet there’s some wackiness involved: the movies are expensive and can only be played on Windows PCs. Moreover, that’s only one specific PC for CinemaNow …
It looks like they’ve noticed the problem (probably because very few customers were showing up) and now CinemaNow is offering some DVD downloads on the same day the movie is released to retail stores:
Universal Studios became the first movie studio to provide movie fans with a way to burn their downloaded movies to DVD on the day they are released in stores through an agreement with CinemaNow. Up until now, users could only burn select older movies from the service’s catalog.
The first movie to participate in this offering is “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.” On the same day the movie is released in stores, CinemaNow users will be able to download the movie, including the menus and bonus features, for $9.99 USD.
CinemaNow has been offering the “Burn to DVD” option since July, with movies from Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Lionsgate, MGM Worldwide Digital Media, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, EagleVision and Sundance Channel.
Currently CinemaNow has only about a hundred movies available in the Burn to DVD format, but it’s a start. Also, before you get too enthusiastic, read this article by John Quain in the NY Times dealing with his downloading experiences at CinemaNow and other sites. I think CinemaNow has progressed beyond the Thumbs Down stage, but it still has a long ways to go.