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(Los Angeles-AP) -- The Walt Disney Company has launched a service to transmit movies over the airwaves to customers' homes in Salt Lake City and two other communities.
It is betting that such delivery will prove more popular than trips to the video store or ordering movies through a cable system.
MovieBeam sends whole movies in digital form over the same broadcast spectrum already used by television stations. The movies are then stored in the hard drive of a set-top box and can be viewed at any time, unlike movies ordered on cable television, which run at preset times.
The set-top units come with around 100 movies already stored and available for viewing. Ten new releases a week are transmitted to the unit, edging out ten of the older titles, and so on. Users pay a nearly seven-dollar monthly rental fee for the set-top unit and two and one-half to four dollars for each movie they watch, depending on whether it's a new release.
Disney rolled out the service in Salt Lake City, Jacksonville, Florida, and Spokane, Washington.
A nationwide release was projected for sometime next year.
It takes about two days for new MovieBeam subscribers to receive a set-top receiver unit.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)