updated 11:35 am EDT, Thu March 19, 2009
Hoping to compete against iTunes and other multi-device movie services, Samsung on Thursday opened a beta version of Samsung Movies. The store lets owners of supporting devices buy or rent movies as well as buy TV shows. Any title comes both in a full, DVD-resolution version for the desktop in Windows Media format as well as in a separate mobile format. About 500 titles are available immediately from major studios but should double by the end of March and top 2,000 by July.
The service is initially supported by the F480 Tocco and will initially be available in the UK and Germany. In the former country, rentals range from £2.49 to £3.99 depending on its recentness. Movie purchases start from £4.99 for older movies and climb up to £13.99 for new releases.
Outside of Apple, few phone makers have been able to offer movies, due partly to an absence of support for copy-protected video formats but also due to the challenges of supporting multiple cellphone operating systems and different hardware specifications that may prevent certain devices from playing content. Apple's store has been one of the earliest courtesy of using a common platform and controlling its own protected video format.