DivX (s DIVX) announced today that for the first time in the U.S., major Hollywood movies will be available for download in the DivX format. Warner Bros. (s TWX), Lionsgate (s LGF), Sony Pictures (s SNE) and Paramount (s VIA) have all signed on to have both catalog and new release titles sold through through a new partnership with Film Fresh, a little-known movie retailer that previously focused on indie fare.
Through this deal, films downloaded will be playable on DivX-enabled devices including DVD players, computers, TVs or the PlayStation 3. The company says there are more than 200 million DivX-enabled devices already in consumer homes. Films available on Film Fresh as of today include Watchmen, 17 Again, and Iron Man. Going forward, new release films will be available day and date with their DVD release.
Right now, films will only be offered for sale (between $9.99 and $15.99, depending on their release), but a Film Fresh rep said that they company may move to a rental model down the road. Additionally, movies are only available in standard definition, not HD.
One has to wonder if this news is a day late and a dollar short for DivX. The company is going up against big-name movie retailers like Apple (s AAPL) and Amazon (s AMZN), which have deeper pockets and significantly more mindshare and marketing muscle. While Film Fresh’s a la carte download to own gives it day-and-date releases, Vudu has the same thing and hasn’t exactly taken off.
Plus, the Film Fresh deal requires a download to your computer and then a transfer to your TV through USB or DVD burning. While that’s a snap for the tech savvy, the video world is moving towards simpler solutions, like direct streaming to net-connected set-top boxes and TVs.