Movie Downloaders Pay a High Price

Six studios have begun selling movie downloads this week on Movielink. Purchased movies can be kept forever for computer viewing and burned to DVD but can't be watched in DVD players. There's also a limit on the number of computers that can view a movie, and the service and site require Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player.

Prices for new movies are higher than DVDs -- Nicolas Cage's The Weather Man sells for $27 on Movielink and $22 on Amazon.Com. So you're getting less convenience at more cost, though no one had to package, ship or stock the movie.

Though Movielink might be worthwhile for rentals and hard-to-find movies, I'm having trouble seeing the value for major releases. Current customers appear to agree -- aside from The Weather Man, the best-selling downloads are obscure sexually themed movies and foreign films. The No. 1 seller's currently Sappho '68, a "deep, penetrating piece of artful vintage erotica" that rated only one customer review on Amazon.Com:

This is a very poorly made, cheap, nudie film. No story or characters to speak of. It is practically a silent movie ...


I never pay over $10 for a movie no matter what (unless its REALLY rare). It's either theatre or DVD or on TV. I have a post in my blog about sharing DVDs and legally watching movies at little or no cost.

Mee too.... usually, I think $5 is more like the threshold...

After paying one too many exorbitant Blockbuster late fees, we started buying DVDs instead of renting them. We pass them around to relatives and friends who want to see the movies.

Earlier this year, a Slate article predicted that Blockbuster is doomed.

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