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UMD movie rentals?

Peter Rojas
UMD Kill BillEngadget pal Dave Zatz delivers again with a special report for us about the prospects for renting UMD movies for Sony's new PlayStation Portable (several places have already rent UMD games). Let's just say that the prospects look dim, at least for the near future:

After speaking with several companies it seems like everyone is in wait-and-see mode right now, they'd like to see what the market penetration of the PSP is first, whether the demand is there for UMD movies, and of course whether Sony is going to add support UMD drives to set-top boxes or the PlayStation 3. They're also concerned about Sony's plans to sell online video downloads.

Netflix spokeswoman Catherine England confirms that they definitely have no plans to rent UMDs right now. I assume this probably due to the shipping system they have in place which is currently designed only for sending out single DVDs. It might not make sense to invest in the infrastructure needed to deliver UMDs unless there is sufficient consumer demand.

Blockbuster has no projected availability, but their spokesperson gave me a spiel about it being dependent on what the distributors and movie studios decide about supporting the UMD format.

Gamefly, a company that offers Netflix-style video game rentals through the
mail hasn't decided yet whether or not they plan to offer UMD movie rentals. They're already offering UMD game rentals, so they do have the infrastructure in place.

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