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Will cable lose pay-per-view TV customers to their laptops?

Tue, 09/12/2000 - 8:00pm
Karen Kessler

Direct Movies Online.com (DMOL) claims to have cornered the market on DVD quality streaming video on a pay-per-view basis. But are people really sitting down to watch long movies, like "The Patriot" and "Titanic," on their laptops?

"The beauty is that you [will be able to] do both," Paul Montle, chairman of DMOL, told CED. "The biggest market will be when the set-tops are installed in customer homes. But if you're on a plane, traveling for several hours, it's nice to download the movies you want to see and can watch on the plane. The primary market is the traveling laptop or the set-top."

Downloading a movie will take approximately 15 minutes, depending on the movie's length and the type of broadband access used. Then the movie can be watched on a laptop or desktop computer or, more likely, on a television if it has computer access. DMOL said it's currently in discussions with three large manufacturers of set-tops and expects to make an announcement in the next few weeks. The set-tops are projected to become available around Christmas 2001. A "movies" button would be placed on the set-top box that would immediately connect the user to directmoviesonline.com.

Adding that right now, whereas cable TV pay-per-view decides the what and when for movies, DMOL President and CEO Jeremy Wessels said: "We will have tens of thousands of titles to choose from. Because we are on a digital system, we don't have a finite amount of movies on hand. You would never go to DMOL and not be able to see the movies you want, when you want."

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