Starz, the premium movie channel available on your satellite or cable service, has just launched a new video download service called Vongo.
Painfully silly name aside, there a few things regarding the service that are worth mentioning:
1. While there are other movie download services available already (MovieLink being the most notable), Vongo is the first to offer a rotating selection of movies.
2. Vongo is specifically designed to work with Microsoft's Mobile Windows Media Player, which means you'll be able to watch your downloaded movies on any handheld device that uses Microsoft's mobile OS.
3. Vongo's DRM (Digital Rights Management - the distribution and viewing restrictions employed by the provider - if you don't know this acronym, you should) enables you to transfer your movies among three different devices, a lot like the .mp3s you're buying online (you are buying now, right?).
4. Vongo works on a subscription model - a flat fee for all the movies you want. You'll also be able to pay a smaller fee for pay-per-view for newer movies.
This sort of service represents the next frontier in digital media. It's going to be very interesting to see how online distribution co-exists with next-gen DVDs, hi-def cable (BTW - I think satellite is toast within 5 years), and other distribution channels.