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The BitTorrent Entertainment Network
BitTorrent: 2 Legit 2 Quit with 5,000 titles for just $3-4 each

BitTorrent today announced the launch of the BitTorrent Entertainment Network, featuring a comprehensive library of downloadable digital entertainment content from 20th Century Fox, Lions Gate, MTV Networks, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. and, the latest studio on the bandwagon, MGM. The BitTorrent community can rent movies, purchase television shows and music videos, and even publish and share their own content to be displayed alongside titles from the world’s largest studios.


“BitTorrent has the infrastructure, technology and established user base to significantly move the needle on digital distribution with quick, easy and affordable delivery,” said Thomas Lesinski, President, Paramount Pictures Digital Entertainment. “The final piece of the puzzle is a wide array of content and Paramount is very pleased to be providing a vast selection of filmed entertainment to the site.”


At launch, the BitTorrent Entertainment Network will feature over 5,000 titles of movies, TV shows, PC games and music content. Consumers will be able to enjoy both new releases and catalog movie titles such as “Superman Returns,” “Mission: Impossible III,” “World Trade Center,” and “Napoleon Dynamite.” TV programming will include hits such as “24,” “Prison Break,” and “South Park.”


At this time, the majority of content is available only in standard definition. BitTorrent confirmed that about 40 hours of its content is encoded for high definition, and plans to increase that count in the near future.


Despite the buzz and support from major Hollywood studios, BitTorrent President and Co-founder Ashwin Navin said that the new network can also be utilized as a distribution platform for independent content creators. “We’re leveling the playing field for independent artists who have been turned away by publishers who are traditionally bound by scarce distribution alternatives and limited shelf space. Our entertainment network is a true marketplace that embraces and welcomes contribution from the independents, allowing them to reach a vast user base with their high-quality creative expression,” said Navin.


The site offers content for free, for rent and for purchase. Movie rentals are $3.99 and $2.99 for new release and catalog titles, respectively. TV shows and music videos are download-to-own at $1.99 each.


“We're really hammering the studios to say, 'Go easy on this audience.' We need to give them a price that feels like a good value relative to what they were getting for free,” said Navin. “The last thing we could afford to do was launch another sterile retail site.”

The video will be protected using Microsoft's Windows Media DRM and will only be available for playback on Windows-based machines -- Mac and Linux users need not apply. The files are also limited to a single PC so don't plan on trying to share your downloads with your friends. A wide variety of entertainment content, however, will be offered for free and without digital rights management (DRM) and designed to be distributed across all platforms.

The launch of the network today is the latest in a string of BitTorrent deals with major media companies. BitTorrent gained legitimacy mid-last year when it first signed Warner Bros. and Image Entertainment. The company then made great strides when it announced it had secured deals with Fox, Lions Gate, Paramount, MTV and others, along with an additional $20 million in funding. BitTorrent joins an expanding group of players in the market including Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Wal-Mart.

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not cheap enough
By Moishe on 2/26/2007 2:52:34 PM , Rating: 5
This is not a good deal.
They're pricing the movie rentals competitively with movie rental stores like Blockbuster. The problem with this is that Blockbuster has inherent retail costs (for each store) and has one online store and only a fraction of the employees. PLUS, you're limited to one computer, whereas with a DVD rental, you can do whatever you like. So downloadable movie rentals should be at least 1/2 the cost.

Netflix ends up being cheaper and IMO more convenient IMO than this service because there are priorities that I place on services. It's more important for me to be able to play a DVD in all my player(s) than it is to have instant access to the DVD.

TV Shows @ $1.99 are a rip off. If you consider the hours of TV you watch and then consider paying $2 for each hour, you'd be forking over a pile of money every week to convert to purely streaming TV. I pay $7/mth to watch TV. With this pricing plan I'd pay at least $40/mth. What do I gain? no commercials? That's not enough of a benefit for me.

Like it or not, we've lived our whole lives with "free" (ad-driven) TV. They're trying to switch us to a pay-per-show model which will cost a lot more and I sure as heck won't buy it. Best case scenario would be to have online media providers to whom you can pay a monthly fee and get unlimited DL media.

RE: not cheap enough
By OlderThanSin on 2/26/2007 3:12:07 PM , Rating: 2
Two things are possible. First, the downloadable program will be low-res ... making it unworthy of the price charged for the download. Secondly, if programming is high-resolution and allows the user to display the program "full-screen," then all a person has to do to copy the film and burn it to a DVD is to have a video card allowing for output of the signal to a TV (as opposed to a monitor). Plug that output signal into a VCR or DVR and bingo - DRM defeated.

FWIW, I've already used this method to acquire a film from CinemaNow. In fact, at the time, CinemaNow even gave instructions on their website to make this method possible. The problem? The film was presented in a low-res format ... which is what I suspect will happen here. I could be wrong. But, the movie I acquired from CinemaNow also constituted my last "rental" from CinemaNow.

RE: not cheap enough
By Moishe on 2/26/2007 3:52:06 PM , Rating: 2
The low-res option is likely what will happen for TV. They do claim to have some HD content.
HD content will need component output or HDMI and I doubt that WMP 10 will let you output streamed content to a port like that.
I have a large HT setup with a media PC that I could use for this, but still, it's not as convenient, and most people don't have the setup to watch this content on their main TV display.

RE: not cheap enough
By slacker57 on 2/26/2007 6:38:28 PM , Rating: 2
Plug that output signal into a VCR or DVR and bingo - DRM defeated.

What kind of sense does that make? If I have a DVR, I can just have it record my TV programming for free without having to do all that extra work.

RE: not cheap enough
By OlderThanSin on 2/27/2007 12:58:03 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly ... it makes NO sense. The CinemaNow capture I was referring to was the film, "The Dark At The Top of the Stairs," which has NEVER been released on home video. And, it only rarely airs on the TMC channel (which I don't get on my cable scenario). The capture was not the best. Still, it was watchable (and only cost $1.99). I mentioned it only to suggest that DRM is not invincible. And, if this classic Oscar-winning film isn't available on SD video, the likelihood of it being made available on HD video is very very small.

FWIW, though it took me about a year after that CinemaNow capture, a local friend with TMC on his cable was watching for the film ... and it fortunately made an appearance. He captured it on SVHS tape which I captured to DVD. The widescreen version was VERY watchable.

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