Over the last few years we've witnessed a slew of DivX Certified devices including HDTVs, DVD & Blu-ray player, set-top boxes, game consoles and even cell phones, but until now, despite several content agreements, in the U.S. there hasn't been any content available in the format from the major studios. That changes today now that online store FilmFresh.com, has signed up Paramount, Lionsgate, Warner Bros. & Sony Pictures to offer new release and archive movies for purchase as DivX formatted downloads. The bad news? For now at least, they'll be standard definition (stereo audio) only. Rick Bolton, CEO of Film Fresh as well as Eric Grab and John Greene of DivX filled us in on the details, and from what we've learned -- if you'll stand for lower res video -- the combination of compatibility and portability could make this download service a competitor against the likes of iTunes, CinemaNow and Zune.
Expect pricing around $9.99 - $15.99 for catalog / new release flicks, with 600 expected at launch, rising to 1000 movies soon after. The DivX system allows for just a single download, but, you can easily back up copies to disc, hard drive or any other storage and still play them directly on DivX Certified (no on Xbox 360, yes on PlayStation 3) devices. Since the DRM ties the file to your user id, not a particular device, one copy should play on any compatible hardware once it's been registered. That includes PCs, where progressive download support mans you don't have to wait until it finishes to start watching. We'll keep an eye on Film Fresh to see if it takes off, but the good news is if you're interested, unlike other services, there's likely already a device in your living room ready and waiting to play these movies.
DivX and Film Fresh Partner to Offer Digital Downloads of Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures Films in the DivX(R) Format
DivX-powered FilmFresh.com first U.S. online store to enable playback of Hollywood titles on DivX Certified(R) consumer electronics devices
SAN DIEGO and LOS ANGELES, Aug 26, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ -- DivX, Inc. (Nasdaq: DIVX), a digital media company, and Film Fresh Inc. today announced that Film Fresh is the first U.S. download-to-own (DTO) online store to provide major motion picture titles from Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution in the high-quality secure DivX(R) format. With this new service available at www.FilmFresh.com, full-length Hollywood movies can be conveniently downloaded and played on the millions of DivX devices that have shipped into the market, including DVD players, digital TVs, gaming consoles, Blu-ray disc players, and portable DVD players. Consumers have the freedom to transfer their DivX movies via DVDs, USB drives, SD memory cards, and portable hard drives, or streamed over a home network for playback on other registered DivX Certified devices they own--all on supported products from top consumer electronics brands such as LG, Philips and Toshiba.
Film Fresh is an online film destination offering a one-stop shop for movie lovers of all types and ages at www.FilmFresh.com. In addition to Film Fresh's large catalog of Hollywood movies and films from around the world available on DVD and via download, the site offers daily commentary on new films, and extensive opportunities for audiences to communicate using the latest social networking applications.
Titles available for download at Film Fresh will include the latest weekly Hollywood releases; recent popular films such as Pineapple Express, 17 Again, 3:10 to Yuma, Hancock and Watchmen; arthouse titles like The Lives of Others, Religulous and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; contemporary horror films such as My Bloody Valentine and the Saw franchise; classics like Glengarry Glen Ross, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Reservoir Dogs; popular franchises like Spider-Man, Harry Potter, The Matrix and Batman; plus a variety of films for children, including Stuart Little. The catalog of Film Fresh Hollywood titles in the DivX format is expected to grow quickly as new releases from all four studios become available for digital distribution.
"Film Fresh is now a one-stop shop for film enthusiasts of all kinds, and we are quite excited about our expansion into premium Hollywood content," said Rick Bolton, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Film Fresh. "Our partnership with DivX goes back to the founding of Film Fresh. We have always believed that DivX offers the best download choice for consumers, since it gives people the freedom to own and watch films on a wide variety of electronic devices from many different manufacturers. It's a good fit with Film Fresh's central mission--expanding the audience for film. Download-to-own is going to play a critical role in the future of film distribution, and Film Fresh will provide the films people want to see, in whatever form they want to see them."
"Through our agreements with Film Fresh and the studios, we are able to bring Hollywood movies in the high-quality DivX format to U.S. consumers for the first time," said Kevin Hell, Chief Executive Officer of DivX, Inc. "This brings the DivX vision to reality by giving consumers the freedom to download high-quality DivX videos and enjoy them on any DivX Certified device from top manufacturers. With millions of DivX devices shipped, including DVD players, Blu-ray players, mobile phones, digital televisions, and gaming consoles DivX presents a powerful consumer-focused open solution that is ubiquitous and already in many homes."
"Our customers have long enjoyed playing back DivX video on a variety of LG devices from DVD players to Blu-ray devices to high definition TVs," said Tim Alessi, Director of New Product Development at LG Electronics USA, Inc. "Now with Hollywood movies available from Film Fresh in the DivX format, our U.S. consumers will be able to immerse themselves in the high-quality movie experience that DivX and our state-of-the-art products provide as they watch their favorite film classics and new releases from major studios."
"Philips has a long history of bringing the best in cinema quality picture and sound directly into consumers' homes, which is why we are excited to be able to take that one step further with the offering of Hollywood movies in the DivX format from Film Fresh," said Todd Richardson, senior vice president of sales and marketing for P&F, the exclusive manufacturer and distributor for Philips televisions and home theater in the U.S. "Now our customers will be able to take their viewing experience on Philips-branded TVs, Blu-ray and DVD players to the next level with easy to download premium content in the DivX format."
"High-quality DivX video playback is a key feature in many Toshiba products, including DVD players and digital TVs, not to mention our newest portable DVD player," said Jodi Sally, Vice President of Marketing for Toshiba's Digital A/V Group. "We're thrilled that our U.S. customers will be able to download Hollywood movies in the DivX format for playback on our products in the comfort of their homes and even on the go."
Products that bear the DivX Certified logo have undergone a rigorous testing program to ensure a high-quality DivX media experience, including reliable video creation and playback, interoperability with other DivX Certified devices and the visual quality users expect from DivX.