DirecTV said today that it is launching its much-discussed premium video-on-demand service on Thursday, with Sony’s Just Go With It the first movie available to subscribers. Universal, Fox and Warner Bros also are in on the partnership, and cross-channel promotions begin today, followed by national ads. Under terms of the service, a movie will become available to download every two weeks for $29.99, which gets the user multiple views over a 48-hour period before the film disappears from the hard drive. All films will be in 1080p HD and Dobly 5.1 Surround Sound.
Other films in the early rollout include Universal’s The Adjustment Bureau, Fox’s Cedar Rapids and Warner Bros’ Hall Pass.
At a second glance, the VOD service seems a bit less than meets the eye. It is available only to DirecTV subscribers who have HD DVRs — that’s only about 6 million of the satellite company’s 19.2 million subs — and only one movie is available every two weeks. Not that any of that is much consolation to steamed theater owners, who have slammed the service for shrinking the theatrical window and are forming plans to retaliate against the studios by limiting their films’ trailers and signage.