Movie Gallery Gobbles MovieBeam
The MovieBeam service uses a proprietary set-top box that stores 100 movies on an internal hard drive. Up to 10 new movies are delivered automatically via over-the-air datacasting technology (with 10 older movies simultaneously disappearing from the hard drive like digital dust in the electronic wind). The datacasting signal typically rides on top of the subscriber's local PBS TV station's broadcast. Due to the nature of the datacasting technology uses, subscribers must live within range of one of the participating PBS stations. MovieBeam says its service is currently available in 31 major metropolitan areas and covers nearly 50% of all households in the U.S.
Movie Gallery says it intends to use MovieBeam's existing infrastructure to develop alternative ways of delivering movies digitally. In other words, like Netflix and Blockbuster, Movie Gallery can see that the handwriting is on the wall for the traditional movie rental model.
Although the MovieBeam service currently uses over-the-air-based distribution, MovieBeam set-top boxes include an Ethernet port for possible future use with services available over the Internet. Downloads directly to your brain may take a little longer to develop.