Friday, October 30, 2009

Epic development

Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM have launched a new TV network called EpixHD. It will feature movies that are still in the "pay TV window"; that is, after their theatrical run has finished, but before the DVD release.

What sets the new network apart, though, is that it will bundle an on-demand Internet streaming service, similar to Netflix Streaming or Hulu, allowing users to watch 720p high-def movies from the Epix catalog on demand, rather than be subject to run-of-schedule, like HBO subscribers, who are forced to endure the latest episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm 56 times in a week.

Originally, the company wanted to have cable providers like Time-Warner and Cox bundle the service with existing cable packages, shifting the burden of payment from subscribers to cable providers. Verizon, for one, said no thanks. They will offer EpixHD on their FiOS TV network, but at a $9.99 premium charge. Other cable providers and ISPs are likely to follow suit.

To combat that move, EpixHD is offering a free 30-day pass on their site. No doubt they will use information they get from you to lobby the ISPs and cable providers to bundle the channel, and to spam you with offers. But hey, it'll save you $10 or so!