Calif. – mSpot Mobile Movies, a
movie-streaming service for cellphones, launched today with a selection of 350
full-length movies available to select phones operating on any major carrier’s network.
Previously, only Sprint offered an over-the-air movie-streaming
service to U.S.
consumers, and it’s available only to Sprint subscribers, said a spokesman for mSpot, which white labels Sprint’s service.
Mobile Movies, mSpot’s first direct-to-consumer movie offering,
is available to any U.S.
carrier’s subscribers across 30 different handset devices, including the iPhone
and BlackBerry, Palm and Windows Mobile-based smartphones. The company expects
to make its service compatible with 100 phones by year’s end. The service is
targeted to young males and parents with children, the spokesman said.
“mSpot is the first company to give mass audiences instant
access to quality, full-length feature movies on their cellphones,” said mSpot
CEO Daren Tsui. “This is made possible through technology we developed and the
relationships we’ve created with studios, labels and distributors.”
To stream movies, consumers aren’t required to download an mSpot
app to their phone. Instead, consumers use a phone’s existing Web browser to
access the mSpot site, select a movie, and pay for it by credit card. The mSpot
server recognizes the brand and model of phone connected to it and delivers a
video stream optimized for that phone. The company’s server currently hosts 18
different versions of every movie title in the mSpot catalog to provide
compatibility with 30 different phone models. The versions vary by codec, bit rate
and aspect ratio.
The company currently offers movies from Paramount and
Universal, who have granted streaming rights to new releases and past movies.
mSpot said it plans to announce additional content partners this year to expand
its catalog in the coming months to “thousands” of movies.
All titles are available for $4.99. Depending on the title,
viewers have anywhere from 24 hours to five days to view the entire movie once
they press the play button for the first time. Consumers can interrupt viewing
throughout the period and resume playback from where they left off.
Sprint has offered mSpot full-length movie streaming for
three years under the Sprint brand, and viewership “has been good,” the mSpot
spokesman said. mSpot also delivers music, radio and TV services through
carriers to more than 6 million mobile subscribers across 10 carriers.