updated 09:20 am EDT, Wed August 26, 2009
Film Fresh DivX Movies
Young movie store Film Fresh today launched itself as the first US-based movie store to provide downloads from larger studios in DivX form. Lionsgate, Paramount, Sony and Warner have all agreed to include both recent and classic titles on the store and as a result have created one of the first few truly cross-platform movie services. Although the videos are still copy-protected, the choice of DivX lets them play on Macs as well as any other device with an official DivX certification, including Blu-ray and DVD players, consoles like the PS3, and even the TVs themselves.
The approach works by requiring that users register the DivX devices allowed to play the files on the web, which prevents casual piracy but still provides room to copy movies in any form possible, including burning DVDs. Not all movies are available to download, but those that aren't are available through Film Fresh on regular DVDs.
Prices vary widely depending on the profile of the movie as well as its original release; a slightly older movie like School of Rock costs $10, while Watchmen costs $16.
The store doesn't pose a particularly large threat to iTunes as neither iPhones nor iPods support DivX videos. It nonetheless serves as a rare alternative to this store on Macs and is a larger risk to stores that often require Windows or are limited to very specific devices, such as CinemaNow or Vudu. Services like Amazon VOD or Netflix avoid the restriction by using streaming access on the web through Flash or Silverlight.