MovieBeam Relaunches in Hi-Def

MovieBeam, the broadcast video-on-demand service from Disney, relaunched in high definition this week.

The service offers 100 movies available immediately, with up to 10 new titles automatically delivered digitally each week through MovieBeam’s over-the-air datacasting technology. The cost of renting a movie over its service runs about the same as movie rental store prices and each rental is good for a 24-hour period.

The services requires a MovieBeam set-top box, which features a 160 GB hard drive and a 200 MHz CPU. The system is sold online and in consumer electronic stores including Best Buy, CompUSA and Sears. Key features of the service include access to available high-definition movie titles, full playback functionality, a pay-as-you-go model, and movie availability on the same day of select DVD releases.

The new and improved MovieBeam will be rolled out in 29 cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. The company was originally founded by Disney four years ago. Cisco Sytems, Intel Corp., and three venture capital firms joined Disney in pumping $48.5 million into the service.