In order to bolster its streaming media sales, 20th Century Fox announced late last week a new initiative called “Digital HD,” in which the studio will offer its movies for sale via multiple streaming platforms three weeks ahead of the normal DVD and Blu-ray release dates for the price of $15. The first title to induct the program will be Ridley Scott’s ‘Prometheus’. Does this sound like a good idea to you? Would you pay the $15 to stream a movie early?
Engadget claims that Fox plans to roll out more than 600 films when it launches the program on September 18th. Titles will be available from multiple streaming outlets such as Amazon, CinemaNow, iTunes, PlayStation Network, VUDU and Xbox Live. The absence of Netflix here should come as no surprise, as its subscription model would preclude selling titles individually.
Personally, I consider streaming to be primarily a rental medium, and I have little interest in purchasing movies in that form if other high-definition options exist. I’m also patient enough that I can just wait the three weeks for a movie I want to own to hit Blu-ray. Especially since, more and more, that Blu-ray release may come bundled with a free UltraViolet Digital Copy anyway.
However, much like Walmart’s Disc-to-Digital program, Fox’s Digital HD may have some merit if it includes titles otherwise not available on Blu-ray. Whether that will be the case remains to be seen. Also unclear at the moment are questions of just what resolution the “Digital HD” movies will come in (the name suggests high definition, but will they be 1080p?), what sound format (Dolby Digital or Dolby Digital Plus?) and whether buying one puts it in your UltraViolet locker for use across every UV platform (initial information suggests not).