Is movie rental via Internet download coming soon?

Netflix, the most popular online DVD-rental service, has seen tremendous growth since the company's introduction in 1998.  Netflix now has almost 5 million subscribers and offers more than 60,000 movie titles.  Movie rental stores like Blockbuster have seen a significant hit in profits due to the unrivaled success of Netflix.  Netflix CEO Reed Hastings hopes to push Netflix via downloads by the end of 2006 -- even if the market for DVD downloading still has a lot of growing to do.  However, copyright issues and the fear of increased piracy are just two issues that stand in the way. 

Netflix recently settled a class-action lawsuit after the company admitted to delaying shipments to the customers that rent a significant number of films.  Offering films via the Internet may be another way to save on costs of postage and replacement of damaged DVDs.  Several movie studios are planning on making films available for download via the Internet.  Warner Brothers is even going to begin offering a movie download service via BitTorrent.

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