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Popcorn Launches DVD/VOD Service

Los Angeles — A new DVD/video-on-demand (VOD) service called Popcorn Home Entertainment said it has reached a deal with cable TV multisystem operator Cablevision to enable subscribers the ability to purchase a package of both the DVD and VOD versions of new and catalog movies.

Through the service, Popcorn said it will present new movies to purchasers the first day of the DVD release via VOD, and follow that up by mailing the hard-copy DVD within days. For the VOD portion of the package, viewers will be able to watch the movie as many times as they like for a 24 hour period. The traditional VOD launch window is also moved to the same release date as the DVD. Traditionally, VOD release windows trail the DVDs by 30 to 45 days.

For its VODs, Popcorn will use the same encryption typically applied to other VOD titles, meaning viewers will be prevented from making recordings themselves on DVD recorders and DVRs.

Cablevision began a soft launch of the service several weeks ago through its more than 2 million digital subscribers in the New York metropolitan area, Popcorn’s CEO Steve Brenner told TWICE.

Studios supporting the service at launch include Warner Home Video and Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Among the releases listed by Warner on the Popcorn Web site are the Harry Potter movies.

Universal, meanwhile, is offering “The Bourne Ultimatum” (Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, David Strathairn), “The Kingdom” (Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper), “Eastern Promises” (Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts), “Sydney White” (Amanda Bynes) and starting Feb. 19, “American Gangster” (Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe).

Viewers can select a title using their remote from the Popcorn-branded DVDs On Demand area of their onscreen program guide. Initially the offer will only include standard-definition VOD and DVD’s, but Brenner said the service will look to offer high-def (HD DVD and/or Blu-ray Discs) in the future. Downloadable video files for iPods and portable media players are not being considered, he added.

Popcorn said new releases are priced at $19.95 plus shipping, and library titles will run between $9.95 and $15.95 plus shipping.

“Popcorn is the first service that combines the first-day-of-release freshness of owning DVDs with the simplicity, convenience and instant viewing provided by on demand. Cablevision has established a leadership position in delivering the latest technologies to its customers and embracing new opportunities, like Popcorn,” stated Popcorn Home Entertainment CEO Steve Brenner. “Movie lovers enjoy the benefits and extra features associated with owning a DVD, but they also crave the instant gratification of on demand. Popcorn DVDs On Demand delivers the best of both worlds.”