Apparently, 20th Century Fox sees a future in high-definition movie downloads. Starting this month, the studio plans to launch a brand new program that will see high-profile films become available for download weeks before they are available on a disc or streaming service.
According to the New York Times Fox will call the initiative “Digital HD” or “DHD,” and it will start on September 18th with the Ridley Scott-helmed Prometheus.
You’ll be able to download an HD copy of the film for around $15 on the 18th, which is more than two weeks before the film is set to launch on Blu-ray, DVD, and On-Demand. The system will be made possible by the UltraViolet digital locker system – which will make the films, once purchased, available for customers on multiple devices.
“DHD” is set to launch in 50 countries around the world, according to Fox Chariman James Gianopulos. He says that many of Fox’s recent hits like “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” “The Watch” and “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” will be available for digital HD download soon.
This move comes on the heels of an abandoned premium on-demand joint venture between Warner Bros, Universal, Fox, and Sony. Last year, those studios partnered to launch “Home Premiere,” a VOD service that would ‘ve charged people upwards of $30 for a 2-3 day rental. The only real draw was that the films offered through the service would be just 2 months out of theaters, meaning they were months away from DVD and regular on-demand release. Of course, Theaters around the country threw a fit, saying that it would cut into their already-struggling businesses.
Is $15 still a hefty amount to pay for a download? Yes, to some people. If you can just hold off for a couple of weeks, the same movie could be rented for a little over $1 (Blu-ray) at Redbox. But “DHD” does offer movie ownership, weeks early, without having to leave your home. It may not be perfect as it is, but this program is definitely a step in the right direction.