In addition to its launch partners Momentum, Pixar, Warner Brothers and Disney, DSG claims it will make significant deals in the coming months with no studios off limits. What makes DSG confident of succeeding where others have so far failed is its physical retail presence where, for example, Sony Pictures movies can be bundled with Sony TVs using KnowHow Movies or free vouchers. This is a real differentiator and DSG claims it is a significant attraction to film studios.
Much like online music stores finally securing all four major music labels, we would hope for a breakthrough as it would obviously set a precedent for everyone else. Furthermore to show its commitment to the service DSG has pre-installed KnowHow’s download client on all computers sold through Dixons and PC World. As these stores tend to attract mainstream customers it could be a major step in attaining widespread user recognition both for it and other services of its ilk.
On the flip side where KnowHow movies is not breaking any new ground though is price. New titles rent for a reasonable £3.99 in SD and £4.99 in HD (viewable over a 48 hour period), but purchasing titles is still a DVD/Blu-ray rivalling eye watering £12.99 and £17.98 respectively. Obviously the studios enforce these prices, but downloads stand no chance until prices fall dramatically. Older movies meanwhile come in from £2.99 to rent and £5.99 to buy with TV shows £1.99 per episode.
Where KnowHow does offer something different to its rivals is in not requiring a subscription (no option is even available). This will dissuade heavy users who will find unlimited NetFlix UK (£5.99pm) or LoveFilm (£4.99pm on promotion) packages cheaper, but is it clear KnowHow is targeting the mainstream and this no strings approach could be key.
As if to hammer home this technophobe priority KnowHow also currently lacks apps. Its registration of up to five devices for user account is certainly a big step forward, but this will be limited to PCs (rental and download) and Macs (rental only right now) until Android, iOS and smart TV apps arrive “within the next six months”. The good news is streaming progress will sync between devices so where you left off on one can be resumed from that point on any other.
Ultimately we would call KnowHow Movies a work in progress, a label we’re sure DSG not only accepts but, given its lack of subscription options, actively promotes. As such its initial role will be as a pay-as-you-go-style service for casual users lured by its new titles as opposed to a vast library. Credit must go to KnowHow’s business model: five registered devices on a single account is generous and its adaptive streaming technology makes viewing more reliable on slow connections. In reality the time to judge KnowHow Movies will come in six to 12 months when more deals are inked and apps are out. We can’t give a Recommended Award on potential alone, but we do like the beginnings of what we see.
Score in detail