Download Movies at the Movies!

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Download Movies at the Movies!

Looks like while your standing in line getting your popcorn and candy you can now download content, including movie trailers via Bluetooth. Hmmm, at the movies downloading movies? As a programmer, I can't help but think of recursion.

Twentieth Century Fox and Loews Theatres will be offering free content from Fox’s summer blockbusters, in select Loews theatres. Fox and Loews are utilizing WideRay's technology, a provider of on-location content distribution platforms, to provide the technology that will power the fast, free and simple in-theatre download stations and back-end content management system. Interestingly enough, TMC has used WideRay's technology in the past for our Internet Telephony Conference & Expo tradeshow.

Right now it's "free" trailers, but I suppose one day we may see movie
theaters offering a new kind of "double-feature" - that is you pay for
admission into the theater to view a movie in person, but you also can
optionally pay an additional fee to download a movie to your cellphone,
PDA, etc. which you can then view on the device later on - or perhaps even
download the movie to your home PC for a larger screen viewing experience. All of this would of course have to be encrypted. Here's one way movie theaters can make additional money - considering the dismal 2005 summer movie season so far - they need to do something. I think it's only going to get worse.

In addition to movie trailers, moviegoers will be able to download ringtones, wallpapers, and more from Fox’s blockbuster summer movies, directly to their mobile devices via Bluetooth.

The select Loews theaters include: Loews Lincoln Square in New York, the Loews Universal Citywalk in Los Angeles and the Loews Metreon in San Francisco, from May 27 through August 15. The Fox films featured during this pilot run include “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie; “Fantastic Four,” based on the beloved Marvel Comics; and “Kingdom of Heaven,” starring Orlando Bloom.

“Twentieth Century Fox continues to push for new and innovative channels to reach our movie-goers, to give them ways to interact with our movies before and after they enjoy the films on the big screen,” said Pamela Levine, the studio’s co-president of marketing. “Loews Theatres is a like-minded partner, and we are both confident that this trial will be a stunning success, extending our films into the ever-growing mobile world.”

To get the free movie content, moviegoers simply need to walk by one of the Fox film standees with a Bluetooth mobile phone or device. If their Bluetooth connectivity is turned on, moviegoers will be notified automatically of the opportunity to receive the content from Fox and Loews. Downloading content is extremely fast - it takes less than 30 seconds to download a full-length movie trailer - and there is no extra fee from the phone’s service carrier. The stations work with a wide range of mobile devices from all major handset manufacturers.

John McCauley, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Loews Theatres, commented, “We chose WideRay’s technology because it offers our customers the easiest means to turn the devices they carry everywhere into an extension of their movie-going experience. The fact that customers get this content while they are in the theater environment makes it all the more relevant.”

WideRay’s on-location hardware, called the Jack Service Point, is a caching server for local-area wireless applications. The technology allows end users with Bluetooth or infrared-enabled mobile devices to access digital content and applications on location. The Jacks have built-in connectivity to leverage a global wireless network for remote management, and support a wide range of mobile devices running on all major mobile operating systems, including Windows Mobile, Palm, Symbian, UIQ, Java, and many gaming devices.

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