Intel is teaming up with a new digital download portal firm, Coolroom.com, to release downloads of Hollywood films at the same time as their UK DVD release.
Starting Monday (18 December), UK broadband users will get the chance to download a limited number of Tinseltown movies play them back on their Intel Viiv-enabled Windows Media Center PCs.
The service is only available through this platform and secured using a form of DRM technology, an Intel spokesman explained.
"They are currently available only through the Intel Viiv platform via Coolroom. Once purchased the downloads are owned by the individuals and they can be saved and copied to both the hard drive of the PC (to be shared throughout a home network) and onto portable media devices," he said.
Downloaded films can be transmitted throughout a customer's home using wireless technology to devices, such as TVs, equipped with digital media adapters. But don't get too excited.
The opening roster will consist of Miami Vice and The Break Up with You, Me and Dupree released on 26 December at the same time as the corresponding Universal Films DVD.
Further films from Universal and other studios will be added over time.
There's no membership fee but films will be priced at a substantial £8.99, slightly more than the average price of a cinema ticket and not much less than the cost of a DVD you can keep and own, if you shop carefully.
Coolroom also plans to release music tracks at around 99p per pop, and games, through the same system. ®
Intel involvement in the movies has been limited so far. IMDB reports that the chip firm has provided funding for movies such as Cyberchase and Square One TV. It's hard to believe, given the huge roles that PCs play in modern movies, that the only Pentium processor appearance listed by IMDB is for The Pelican Brief.