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MovieLink VOD deal leaves Mac users out

updated 03:40 pm EDT, Mon April 3, 2006

MovieLink VOD deal

Movielink today announced a major expansion of its broadband video-on-demand (VOD) service, enabling most users -- except Mac owners -- to buy movie downloads online in addition to renting them for 24 hours. Leaving Mac users out in the cold, Movielink said it has signed deals with major Hollywood studios to deliver movies from MGM, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal and Warner Bros., allowing owners of Windows PCs to create their own permanent digital library of films, which can be viewed on up to three computers, transferred to a DVD (in Windows Media format) for backup, and streamed around the home via home networking. Universal Studios' Academy Award-winning 'Brokeback Mountain' is the first major title to be released on Movielink day-and-date with its DVD launch on April 4, 2006, with Sony Pictures' Fun with Dick and Jane, starring Jim Carrey, to follow a week later as the next day-and-date release. Pricing for purchased movies starts at $8.99.

Mac users as well as users of older versions of Windows are greeted with an error message when visiting the website: "Sorry, but as of May 2, 2005, Movielink no longer supports Windows 98 and ME operating systems. Movielink also does not support Mac or Linux. In order to enjoy the Movielink service, you must use Windows 2000 or XP, which support certain technologies we utilize for downloading movies."

Touting its catalog, Movielink said it also offers other major 2006 DVD releases, including King Kong, Good Night, and Good Luck, Pride & Prejudice, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Get Rich or Die Tryin', and Walk the Line. Classic titles are also available to buy, including East of Eden, The Sting, To Kill a Mockingbird, Die Another Day, Office Space and Breakfast at Tiffany's.

"As a pioneer in this space, Movielink has consistently delivered an affordable, high quality and easy to use VOD service, so it is only fitting that Movielink is the first to offer this revolutionary expansion of consumer options, including the ability to buy major studio releases online day-and-date with DVDs," said Jim Ramo, CEO, Movielink. "We're committed to developing the Movielink service so our customers get the highest viewing value, more technological options, greater convenience, deeper selection of content, and availability of titles in earlier windows."

Rent or Buy options

Movielink has divided its Web site into two "stores," with a common home page. The two storefronts function just as the Movielink original "Rental Store" operated, but the license to view a movie obtained from the "Purchase Store" allows for unlimited viewing. The movie may be permanently stored on the hard drive to create a permanent archive, or burned to a disc in Windows Media format for backup or playback on up to two additional tethered computers. In addition, consumers can stream their copy of the movie to a TV set connected to a media center extender or Xbox when using a Media Center Edition PC.

"The studios are embracing the Internet as a viable distribution platform for their movies, and providing this service will also help to convert Internet pirates into legitimate customers," said Ramo. "Movielink has carved out a position in the broadband market as the place to come for high quality long form entertainment, and we intend to continue to expand consumer options as the Internet delivery of movies becomes a significant channel of distribution."

by MacNN Staff





  1. howdesign

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not Surprising

    Seems like outfits like these use a form of DRM embedded in the newer Windows Media format. Looks like the "format wars" will leave us out in the cold once more. Then again with Apple's closed system on the iPods and possible future devices, we'll have to wait for what iTunes might bring us. Either they don't think the Mac market is large enough to spend the effort, or they don't like working with Apple.

  1. itguy05

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sent them an e-mail

    Telling them it's a shame they don't support Macs as they are using the proprietary MS codecs.

    Reminded them they lost a customer.

    Reminded them that I'll just wait until iTunes sells movies and puts them out of business.

    I suggest you all do the same.

  1. PookJP

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Email sent

    Just sent them a message via the "suggestion" link on their site.

  1. opti

    Joined: Dec 1969


    You really want this??

    DRM-ridden movie downloads at questionable quality for a higher price than the DVD? No thanks, even if they were to offer Mac support.

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This Will Fail

    Don't bother complaining to them; this service will fail miserably. In fact, I will venture to say that any movie service that doesn't allow me to backup a copy to DVD format to play on a DVD player is DOOMED TO FAILURE!!!

  1. macbarry

    Joined: Dec 1969


    no way

    This is DOA. I would not use it if it did work for Macs. Who needs all the arcane DRM rules when I can just go buy one that's already backed up to DVD, has a nice printed label and play it on anything I want? I'm buying movies legit online already - at

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969


    You're missing the point

    There's no hidden technology they are using to keep Mac users from accessing their services_ What it is [which actually really bothers me] - if you notice after going to the site on a Mac - it points out that you are using a Mac and you need to go away_ On a PC it loads a neat Flash interface no problem_

    Flash [swf] WMV [win media] JSP Pages [java]

    and whatever else they are using on the "web" a Mac can access_

    OPTI - by the way [no offense] but "DVD Quality" SUCKS !

    What they are doing is using some system level code that detects your actual computer system [changing the User Agent of your browser to PC Windows doesn't work]

    Their security stuff is most likely done thru Microsoft proprietary coding a little beyond me and for lack of better term]_ And so the ONLY way they can ensure their 24 hour downloads or 3 copy maximum or whatever is to run them thru the Win system level coding - 'cause the Mac wouldn't recognize the security lock outs [and they'd have to do a lot of extra work for the WMV Mac version - slackers]_

    2 Final points - first - they do not have a huge selection as it is_ Just ran down a list of several major titles thru the years - couldn't find but a couple_

    And second - does anyone see the IRONY here - of the titles they do have - I can find several that were made using Macintoshes_

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969


    speaking of iTunes.....

    I know that I can download an AAC audio file from iTunes and if I choose contvert it [using iTunes no less] to various other formats - WMA - MP3 - WAV - AIF and so on_ And then load it onto any player that supports whatever format and go at it_

    Also - other options such as running the audio file thru sound editing software or creating a closed hardware loop from the Audio Out to the Audio In on your computer and rerecord - kinda like dubbing a cassette - back in the day except that this is direct and without much interference [except the type of audio cable you use]_

    People have nothing better to do with their time other than b**** about nothing_ Amazing_

    Like people bringing law suit against Apple for hearing damage from the sue of iPods_ 25 years ago people did the same damn thing against Sony when they first released the original Walkman_ I grew up using walkmans - tape player - AM/FM Stereo Radio - CD Players and I even have an iPod_

    The hearing issue - comes down to one thing - can everyone say "USER STUPIDITY" - plain and simple_

    People drive cars - many cars can very easily exceed the posted speed limit - but when someone gets a speeding ticket or hits another car - is anyone suing FORD or DODGE 'cause there is not a speed limiter permanantly built into the car or 'cause the speedometer goes over 45mph - the answer in a word - NO!

    Like I said User Stupidity_

  1. Senbei

    Joined: Dec 1969



    There's no hidden technology they are using to keep Mac users from accessing their services_

    The point is that they are using a version of Windows Media DRM which does not work on the Macintosh. This has been pretty much true with the last version of Microsoft Windows Media Player for the Mac. Flip4Mac doesn't support any DRM period.

    So even if one bypassed the web related checks, the media would be useless on a non-Windows 2000/XP system. Since newer versions of WMP DRM has yet to be fully cracked (several years running now), Hollywood/MPAA to some extent favors the Microsoft technology.

    There are some custom DirectShow graphs created in GraphEdit that some folks use to capture DRM protected Windows Media streams (complex process). There are also techniques which utilize some hacked dll's and a rollback to WMP9 to strip the DRM license but only if you already have a valid license.

  1. LouZer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: this will fail

    Don't bother complaining to them; this service will fail miserably. In fact, I will venture to say that any movie service that doesn't allow me to backup a copy to DVD format to play on a DVD player is DOOMED TO FAILURE!!!

    I guess that means Apple's lame video service is also doomed to failure, right?

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