Here's a sneak-peek at Blockbuster's beta test of its new movie download service (I just received an invitation to try it out). Not thrilled about the movie they offered me, but hey, it's free.
So, it looks like you have 2 weeks to watch the movie, but only 24 hours to finish it once you start watching.
Apparently, you will also need a special player app (a remnant of the Movielink service Blockbuster acquired last year), as this helpful note indicated on the download page:
YOU NEED THE BLOCKBUSTER MOVIELINK PLAYER The BLOCKBUSTER Movielink player is a free program that allows you to download and watch movies. Click on the button below to start installing the player.
The MovieLink player looks to be using Microsoft WMV DRM and it requires the massively bloated .NET Framework 3.0 to be installed as well. Gee...thanks.
So, DRM-laden, non-portable (other than on a laptop), time-limited, doesn't work with Firefox, and can only be played on Windows PCs...I'm having a hard time figuring out why someone would subscribe to this download service instead of just getting DVDs via mail (something Blockbuster already does quite well).
Here's a screencap of the BB Movielink app UI:
Download speed so far is quite impressive...I am averaging 2100 kbps on this trial download.
I'll comment on the video quality after I've watched part of the movie, so stay tuned.
Update: Video quality is quite good...nearly DVD-quality, I'd say. Clearly not HD, but very watchable with minor, if any, artifacting. Download size is 1,243 MB for a 115-minute film.
I then tried copying the download file (a protected WMV file as expected) to another Windows machine on our network and, upon attempting to play in Windows Media Player, got this error:
So, there you have it. If you (a) watch movies only on one PC, (b) always finish them within 24 hours, (c) and have no desire to share or keep a copy for future watching, BB's new download service may be just what you've been looking for. For me, it's not a good fit at all, so we'll keep renting DVDs.