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Comcast might start selling movies via its cable boxes, instead of just renting them


According to the infamous "people with knowledge of its plans," cable TV giant Comcast will move from renting video on-demand movies to selling them, in rumors reported by Reuters and The Wall Street Journal. Hollywood studios love pushing the digital sales of movies and have recently expanded efforts to release flicks early for purchase on internet services, weeks before they come out on disc. Any offering by Comcast will probably be similar to what's already out there from stores like iTunes, Walmart's Vudu and even Target, except that instead of just digital access through the Xfinity website and apps, viewers could watch movies right on their cable boxes as well.

According to the WSJ, the offering will not be tied to other stores using Ultraviolet authentication, at least at first, so any digital collections will have to start fresh -- something that may not appeal to end users who could find access restricted if they switch service or move to a non-Comcast neighborhood. Verizon FiOS TV already sells movies to end users through Flex View, while Dish Network is mentioned as considering a similar move. One thing that could make Comcast's dive into movie sales more interesting however, is if it follows up on a 2011 patent dug up by Fierce Cable, describing a Groupon-style method of adjustable prices that lower if more people rent or purchase first-run movies while they're still in theaters. Unfortunately, what we'll probably see is just another video store indifferent clothing, but we'll know more once it's officially announced.

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