Hollywood has long cast a wary eye on the Internet. The greatest distribution channel that ever existed, according to former MPAA chairman Jack Valenti, also happens to be the ideal channel for piracy. So it’s unlikely studio heads were happy when a new study found some 25 million Americans admiited to illegally downloading movies.
Perhaps even worse, 80% of those surveyed said they onlyuse peer-to-peer file sharing sites to watch movies online, a fact that seems to substantiate Hollywood's worst fears. Just the same, Hollywood is being forced to face the Internet age. In early February, Wal-Mart announced it would join a growing list of services providing movies via the Internet for users to watch on PCs or media center devices connected to their TVs. In late January Netflix said it would do the same.
The quality of your viewing experience is dependent on your Internet connection. But if you have broadband service, these sites are worth a look. Here's a roundup of the available services and what they have to offer
The newest player in the online movie space, Wal-Mart launched its site in Feb. 6, encouraging visitors to “Try Our Beta Service,” which offers some 3,000 movies and TV shows and is expected to be a serious competitor to iTunes. The site has a good selection of recent films and the $14.88 price for new releases undercuts iTunes’ price by about a dime.. Wal-Mart’s offering is PC only for now, but consumers who use Mozilla’s Firefox browser will be disappointed to know the site only works with Internet Explorer.