Irish film fans will finally be able to download their movies and TV shows online to their PC or portable media player with DVD rental site Moviestar.ie’s new service, Moviestar Digital, which launches on 1 May.
Users will have the choice to either download the content to watch later or stream their movie or TV show of choice. For a limited time, Moviestar.ie has said all movies will cost 99c each per download.
Similar to other digital download services like Channel 4’s 4oD or Apple’s iTunes, users will be able to store downloaded content for a certain length of time, in this case up to a month, before it expires.
When the service goes live on 1 May, customers will be able to avail of content from several Irish producers including Network Ireland Television, as well as Video International’s film library which includes films like The Little Shop of Horrors.
A spokesperson for MovieStar.ie said the company is currently in talks with several major Hollywood studios for extra movie content.
The company is also seeking content from both the History and Biography Channels, which would mean a substantial back catalogue of documentary shows.
Moviestar.ie content must be downloaded onto a PC or laptop but can then be transferred over to digital media players like the iPod Touch for viewing on the go.
This service will be compatible with Apple Macs but only if the user downloads Windows Media Player.
“This is because of the digital rights software, which is the same for many of the video download services such as Channel Four’s 4oD, for example,” said a Moviestar.ie spokesperson.
High-definition content will not be available immediately and Moviestar.ie said this is due to “bandwidth issues in Ireland at the moment”.
Due to digital rights issues, there is currently a limited amount of movie or TV content available for viewers in Ireland. BBC’s iPlayer provides free viewing of the latest television episodes but is only available in the UK, while Channel 4’s 4oD allows Irish viewers access to both streaming and downloadable programming such as Skins, Shameless, the IT Crowd and ER.
While Apple iTunes launched a high-definition movie and TV show download service in January of this year, it is only fully available in the US and to a lesser extent in the UK, while Ireland is still waiting.
By Marie Boran