Tesco Taps Microsoft For DVD Online Sweeteners

Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) is joining forces with UK supermarket Tesco to offer consumers additional online-only movie content, as an incentive to buy physical DVDs.

The pair announced that, from this autumn, Tesco will be giving access to full-length films in Microsoft’s Silverlight format (with quality claimed to be “similar to” DVD and Blu-ray) plus non-DVD bonus content like games, ringtones and MP3s.

But viewers must buy DVD titles from Tesco shops or its online store to unlock the titles.

Tesco’s entertainment director Rob Salter, in the release., says a “broad range” of movie studios are taking part and promises the downloads will “far exceed the DVD experience and deliver exclusive content, web events and services.” Microsoft says that, while this is UK-only, more countries will be added “eventually”.

It’s hard to see this as separate to entertainment content makers’ constant battle against piracy. Like the music industry, Hollywood has been vigourous in stopping people downloading the latest cinema or DVD release illegally through lawsuits and take-down notices to torrent-trackers and lone pirates. But this shows it’s also moving to convince the P2P generation that its legitimate content offer is worth paying for.

So just as the studios are investing in 3D movie releases — try recreating that in your bedroom — this is an attempt to provide a unique home-based experience that pirates cannot match .