Dale Dietrich
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BitTorrent Signs More Download Deals with Major Hollywood Movie & TV Studios

Categories: Big Media Makes ProgressiVOD/iTV

On the heals of raising $25 million in capital, BitTorrent has reportedly signed video downloading deals with 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Lionsgate, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV, Palm Pictures, G4, Kadokawa and Stars Media. Last year BitTorrent had done a similar deal with Warner. The service will use BitTorrent's proven peer-to-peer technology. The technology makes the distribution of large video files faster and less expensive by offloading much of the bandwidth requirements to its users. Pricing details have not yet been announced.

Starting next February you'll* be able to download-to-own (DTO) films and TV shows, or rent films on a video on-demand (VOD) basis. Most of the entertainment content in question will be made available on the day it is released on DVD or shown on television. These videos will be playable on PCs, laptops or other portable devices.

The service's DRM will limit playback to the device you originally record the content on. So recorded DVDs will not play on consumer DVD players. Some titles will only be viewable a limited number of times before the central DRM store disables your key. For this, you'll likely be paying full DVD retail prices.

So far as I know, BitTorrent has no such deal with consumer electronics companies like TiVo, Microsoft, Sony or Apple for downloads to a TV-connected device. 

Dale's Comment:  While any news story like this is heartening, insomuch as Hollywood is slowly advancing into the future, I agree with ars technica that DVD-purchasing consumers will not be impressed with this service. As with iTunes, it limits the user's right to use the content to the device it was downloaded on – hardly useful for long term video purchasers.  But, for one-time viewing, the method by which the vast majority of video consumers consume such content, this will probably have limited success for those wanting to view such content on laptops, PCs and portable devices.  But, as I have contended for years, downloadable media sales will only really take off once consumers can purchase/rent the content for viewing on their TVs – just as Microsoft is now doing with its Xbox 360 Marketplace movie/TV show service and as Apple has announced it will do with its forthcoming iTV product.

*Caveat:  While I have not yet had my suspicions confirmed, my guess is that this service will ONLY be available to U.S. consumers at launch.  This seems to be the way of the world these days! :(

Sources:  Information Week | Gizmodo | ars technica | Hollywood Reporter | Wired Blogs | USA Today | Forbes (AP) | TechWeb  Playfuls | LA Times | BitTorrent Pres Release

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  • kenp787

    Though its good for consumer , they can easily get the video they want but the bad part is that indirectly it will increase piracy.