New service delivers HD, SD movies on demand

MovieBeam, a new movies-on-demand service, has launched delivery of titles, including HD movies, to viewers in 29 metropolitan areas reaching half of all U.S. households via a low-cost over-the-air datacasting technology.

The MovieBeam system is composed of a set-top box that stores, protects and plays movies, a small indoor antenna that receives new movies to refresh the selection automatically, and a remote control. The venture, backed by The Walt Disney Company, Cisco Systems, and Intel, will always make 100 movies immediately available to consumers with up to 10 new titles automatically delivered digitally each week.

MovieBeam will offer access to HD movies with specially selected titles in native HD format and an HDMI connection that up-converts standard-definition content when connected to an HDTV.

The MovieBeam service is now available in: Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Buffalo, NY; Chicago; Cleveland; Dallas; Denver; Detroit; Houston; Jacksonville, FL; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Memphis, TN; Minneapolis; Nashville, TN; New York City; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Portland, OR; Salt Lake City; San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; St. Louis; Tampa, FL; and Washington, DC. It will be sold at Best Buy, CompUSA and Sears as well as regional and independent retailers.

The MovieBeam player features a 160GB hard drive and a 200MHz CPU. The player connects to most television sets. Connections include HDMI, component, S-video, composite and audio connection ports, including digital coaxial, SP/DIF, HDMI and left/right stereo audio. MovieBeam supports advanced audio and video formats, including Windows Media 9/VC-1 and Dolby Digital 5.1.

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