Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about the future of technology, multimedia, and digital entertainment:
(Based on a true story.)During fourthmeal a few days ago, I realized that I couldn't well let my fellow Engadget columnist Stephen Speicher grab all the Internet video glory with his recent tripartite YouTube encomium, so I decided to spend some time this week with an Internet video service that trades in good ol' Hollywood-produced motion pictures.
Announced at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show, Vongo is offered by the Starz Entertainment Group and competes with other PC-targeted movie services CinemaNow and MovieLink. Much as the iTunes Music Store gained credibility by letting people buy music the way they do in the physical world, Vongo has received accolades by operating similarly to a premium cable network or even a service such as Netflix.
For a relatively low subscription price of about $10 per month, you can watch as many movies as you like on the service on up to three PCs as well as watch a video feed of the Starz premium movie channel, Vongo is also working on support for portable video "sideloading" to devices that use Microsoft's Portable Media Center platform.
Vongo also offers "pay per view" movies at $3.99 per viewing. I tried the latter option for my first crack at Vongo, choosing the movie Flightplan, the 2005 thriller in the Hitchcock tradition starring Jodie Foster and directed by Robert Schwentke.