Steve O'Hear writes:
... MovieBeam, an early attempt at creating a consumer facing set-top box and accompanying movie service, has closed its doors after fours years in business. ¶ Originally founded by The Walt Disney Company and later sold to U.S. video rental chain Movie Gallery, MovieBeam was designed to bypass Cable and Satelite providers by beaming movies wireless into the home. The set-top box came with dozens of movies already stored and ready for rental (at $5 a pop), with forty new titles refreshed each month. In total the device could store around a hundred movies at any one time. ...
O'Hear thinks this may be bad news for other new entrants in the set-top box market. I don't doubt that set-top box fatigue (what David Liroff calls the "topple factor") is at work here. But MovieBeam also faced impending delivery problems. It was distributing movies over the small amount of ancillary data capacity of analog television stations, including many public television stations. Those analog transmitters are going away in 13½ months. While the replacement digital system has much more capacity, it will also, IMHO, come with much greater support costs due to the fragile reception issues inherent in the ATSC digital standard. I wouldn't be surprised if that figured in MovieBeam's decision also.
But even without the set-top box, video downloading is a problematic business. After less than a year, Wal-Mart has announced that it's closing its video download store. Again, Steve O'Hear writes:
... In a bid to get all of the major studios on board, while at the same time not compete negatively with Wal-Mart’s traditional DVD sales, the service was plagued by high pricing and a ridiculously large dose of DRM (one Windows-PC only). It was doomed from the start. ...
Link: last100. --Dennis