Dixons Launches KnowHow Movies Streaming Service

The on-demand film and TV streaming market has become very crowded lately with the likes of LoveFilm and Netflix going head-to-head along with other services such as blinkbox and even Sky Movies all vying for a share of a relatively small pie.

According to research only around five per cent of the UK public are consuming films through these types of service, but it is the potential to convert the 90 per cent plus of the market which has led Dixons to roll out the Knowhow Movies service offering 1,500 titles at launch.

The service, which will launch on 1 March, will initially only be available on PCs and Macs but will roll out to Android and iOS mobile phones and tablets (in Spring), Smart TVs, Blu-ray players and PVRs (in the Summer) and finally to games consoles (in the Autumn).

The service will be subscription-free and will instead offer users the chance to rent or buy titles from a range of studios. Currently Knowhow Movies has signed up four studios: Momentum, Pixar, Warner Brothers and Disney and told us at a briefing this morning that it will have signed another three major studios in the next two months.

One of the key features of this service is that new releases will be available the day they are launched on Blu-ray and will cost £3.99 to rent for 48 hours or £12.99 to buy, while older movies will be available from £2.99 to rent and £5.99 to buy.

Films can be purchased in HD or SD and once purchased will be stored in a digital locker which you will be able to access from up to five separate devices. Downloads are currently only available on PCs and you will need to download a client to view these DRMed files.

The service is powered by Rovi, and uses new DivX adaptive streaming technology, which will take into account the bandwidth available to users and seamlessly switch from HD to SD and back again depending on your connection. The service currently uses the Rovi Entertainment Locker to store your purchases but the company told us that it hopes to move to the Ultraviolet locker by the end of the year.

Niall O’Keeffe, Knowhow Development Director, told us that the service would be heavily promoted in the company’s 600 PC World and Currys stores and that the company would be offering the customers who bought 4.5 million connected devices from it last year, the chance to use the service, pre-loading it on laptops and TVs.

Is this the solution to your on-demand film and TV needs? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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