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How Movie Download Services Work


Movie Services
Guba offers free and premium movies.
Guba offers free and premium movies.

If you're interested in downloading movies, you have lots of services to choose from. Here's a quick look at the download sites that are available now:

  • CinemaNow offers movies that you can download and own permanently. You can watch these movies on your PC or burn one copy to DVD. CinemaNow also offers free, ad-supported movies and premium subscriptions.
  • The iTunes Music Store has a selection of movies and TV shows. These will play on computers running Windows or Macintosh operating systems and on compatible iPods.
  • Netflix began rolling out its WatchNow service in January 2007. Once the rollout is complete, members will be able to watch streaming movies rather than waiting for discs to arrive. These movies play in a browser applet.
  • Vongo is a subscription service with a pay-per-view option. Users can play movies from Vongo on up to three electronic devices.
  • Amazon Unbox movies play in a proprietary Unbox video player. People with TiVo Series 2 or 3 with broadband connections can download videos straight to their TiVo units.
  • BitTorrent Entertainment Network offers free movies as well as movies for purchase or rental. Although it uses the BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing client, its videos are legally licensed.
  • Guba primarily features older and independent movies for sale or rent.
  • MovieFlix offers free movies and access to premium movies for a monthly subscription fee.
  • The Wal-Mart Video Downloads Store, currently in beta, allows users to buy movies and to burn one backup copy to DVD.

Critics claim that the movie download craze won't last. Some claim that people won't pay close-to-retail prices for poor quality files that they don't actually own. In addition, many people have invested in impressive home theater systems, some of which magnify the lower quality of downloaded files. Getting the video from a computer to a TV can also be a challenge. However, supporters point out that downloading a film -- and being able to start watching almost instantly -- is the ultimate in convenience. At this point, it's hard to guess exactly what will happen.

To learn more about movies, movie downloads and related services, check out the links on the next page.