AOL Offers Movie Download Program

Dennis Faas's picture

We've recently been covering the woes of America Online (AOL), once North America's dominant Internet service. It seems with the recent shift to broadband AOL has struggled to accompany its customers, leading to layoffs. Recently, the company announced new plans for downloadable movies, although the feature might not be the saving grace AOL is desperately seeking.

The new movie program is the result of freshly-hatched deals between AOL and a number of film companies, including 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, Universal Pictures, and Sony Pictures.

Under the agreement, AOL will offer users films for anywhere from $9.99 to $19.99 USD, all for download directly to one's computer. In addition, if users so choose they can simply watch a movie online ("streamed") without having to download the whole thing first.

A number of broadcasting networks are promising content in the future, including MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and the History Channel. (Source:

As for the feature movies, right now AOL -- which is currently offering the program in beta form -- allows users to rent or buy movies. On its (rather bland) site at the moment, AOL is offering flicks like Harry Potter and "Match Point" for rent, at the price of 2.99 (pounds, or about $6 USD). It remains a little behind the times in the "To Own" section, offering dated titles like the Mandy Moore and Hugh Grant comedy "American Dreamz". No cost is listed here and interested parties must call AOL for the service, clearly revealing that it has yet to launch with much support. (Source:

The sticking point with this new feature from AOL is its handling of digital rights management (DRM). Right now it isn't allowing downloaders to burn movies to DVD, meaning you probably won't be curling up on the couch with a bucket of popcorn. Instead, you'll be stuck staring at that 17" monitor in a desk chair.

Not exactly your finest "night at the movies."

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