Panasonic announces what it claims is Europe’s first connected TV movie service, offering online films to rent and buy through its Viera Cast TVs.
Film fans can access the Acetrax movie store through their TV, and films are streamed directly on demand. There’s no monthly subscription charge or need for a set top box, but customers will need a broadband internet connection to access films.
The service is available on all Panasonic Viera Cast TVs. Panasonic plans to roll the service out to over two million TVs across Europe by the end of 2011. The service should also be available on Panasonic Blu-ray players and home audio systems by the Autumn. This will allow users to purchase and view movies on their existing TVs.
See our video buyers guide to the best TVs to help you choose the right model.
Panasonic and Acetrax movie service
Panasonic has partnered with movie service provider Acetrax, to provide access to over 2000 titles. Users can rent movies from £1.49 for older titles, to £3.49 for the latest blockbusters or they can choose to buy films from £4.99 to £11.99.
Customers are given a unique product code which they will need to register on the Acetrax website. Credit can then be added to the account and movies can be instantly streamed via the TV. Films can be stored and accessed on any combination of four registered devices such as TVs, Blu-ray players, home audio systems and laptops. Initially, this will be available on Panasonic products only.
To ensure a seamless and instant service, Panasonic and Acetrax recommend that customers have a broadband download speed of at least 2.5 Mbps. A traffic light system will alert customers before they purchase a movie if the speed is not fast enough.
Find out more about accessing the web on TVs from Panasonic, Sony and Philips in the internet TV review.
Virtual movie storage
Panasonic says initial results show that 20% of people are choosing to buy rather than rent films. It indicates that customers are prepared to move their DVD collection to virtual storage. Customers will be able to choose on demand movies from Disney, Paramount, Warner Bros, Universal and Momentum.
Leslie Golding, chief marketing officer, Acetrax , said: ‘Connected TVs such as Viera Cast enabled Panasonic Viera TVs will change the way in which customers will buy and consumer movies in much the same way as we saw with music downloads’.
Find out how Panasonic models do in our lab tests in the Which? TV reviews.
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