The Digital Smarthouse has just become more of a reality with the launch by Telstra BigPond of a new broadband movie download service.
This allows BigPond cable customers to access feature films, latest release and classic television series and music videos on their PCs. The service according to Intel could well drive the upgrading of PC’s to the new Viiv platform that is set to be launched in Australia on March 16th 2006 at Fox Studio’s. It will also drive the purchase of 5.1 and 7.1 home theatre kits that can interface with a PC system.
Internationally acclaimed Australian film star, Toni Collette joined BigPond Group Managing Director, Mr Justin Milne, to launch the service at a red-carpet event in Sydney. Currently the service is only available to the 300,000 BigPond customers who have a cable connection. Prices for the new service range from $1.95 for short television shows to $5.95 for recent release feature films. BigPond members get a 20 per cent discount on the standard prices. Among the extensive range available from day 1 will be movies and TV content from Sony Picture Television.
Justine Milne said “The movies are between 750Mb and 1GB. Users accessing the new BigPond Extreme service will be able to download a full movie in 6 minutes.” he said. He also said that with a BigPond Cable Standard or Cable Extreme broadband service, customers can view movies almost immediately after they commence the download, as the content will continue downloading in the background, while they watch. Sony Pictures Television, Australia-New Zealand Managing Director, Mr Jack Ford said, “We were concerned about DRM issues and for the past few months we have worked closely with Telstra on establishing an in-house secure room where encryption is done. Executives from the US have visited the safe room to ensure that it meets global standards. It does and we look forward to working with Telstra going forward”.
He added” This is a new business that will allow us to move into new growth revenue streams. It also takes us right into the home with content”. Justin Milne believes that the in-house encryption safe room will allow Telstra to sign additional deals with other Hollywood and European content providers. He told SmartHouse that “What we are delivering for content providers is an in-house safe room where the copying of major movies and other content is done in an environment where it cannot be copied. This will appeal to our content providers who are looking for an excellent commercial partner and one who has in place infrastructure to safeguard DRM issues”.
Mr Milne said, “We are delighted to be partnering with the top Hollywood studios, independent distributors such as Dendy, Becker and Madman, documentary specialists like Exero and Discovery International and leading broadcasters including the ABC and Granada Television for our movies service and Sony BMG, Warner and Universal for music video downloads.” “BigPond Movie Downloads is the natural extension of our online DVD rental service, providing customers with the choice of movie delivery via broadband direct to their chosen computer or to their home via the post,” Mr Milne said. “We expect the service to be particularly popular among younger consumers who already live much of their lives online.”Similar to a video store, customers can ‘rent’ content to view as many times as they want in 24 hours or on a weekly basis. Once the rental period is over, the content is automatically deleted from their PC,” Mr Milne said. Music videos, which can be watched full screen with digital sound, can be purchased for $3.95, with no use-by date.
Phil Cronin Managing Director of Intel said at the launch “The service is complementary to the new Viiv platform. I believe that people will want to upgrade their PC or Media Centre to Viiv technology because of the way we handle 7.1 channel sounds. DRM issues and fast streaming. Intel technology allows for entertainment multi tasking whereby one member of the family is watching a movie in one room and another a downloaded TV show in another”.