updated 12:45 pm EDT, Tue September 30, 2008
Dell Preloading Movies
Dell today took a new approach to selling PCs on Tuesday by announcing a movie pre-load service for some of its PCs. Starting with Iron Man, the Inspiron 1525 notebook and XPS 420/630 can optionally carry a strictly digital copy of a movie along with special features, such as the bonus mini-feature included with the inaugural title. The company doesn't provide specific technical details but explains that the movie can be shared primarily through Windows Media Extender devices such as the Xbox 360 and can't be burned to DVD.
The Texas PC maker doesn't plan to limit its catalog of movies to one studio but says it will focus on very high-profile or classic movies rather than try to fill out an entire catalog. Iron Man carries $20 pricing similar to a DVD, though the company hasn't said whether this is likely to change with different titles.
Dell's move is relatively new to the industry and so far has only seen a significant competing effort from Sony, which for awhile pre-loaded a free Spider-man movie from its own studio to help drive computer sales. The news arrives just as PC makers have seen slowing sales as a result of a poor US economy and have had to increasingly rely on lower prices and now unique features to attract customers.
Conspiciously, Apple has so far opted against bundling music or videos with its own computers as an incentive, in part due to the success of the iTunes Store and built-in access to downloads through the company's default software.