Virgin Media launches movie streaming service – rentals-only

Virgin Media has launched its own browser-based movie streaming service, available to anybody in the UK not just the cable provider’s own subscribers.

It’s a pretty bog standard VOD affair: movies are available for rental-only, with prices for new releases set at £3.99 for 48 hours access once you press play.

Picture quality-wise, we’ve yet to test the service but we do know that the video streaming is powered by Microsoft’s Silverlight technology and that two different streams are being offered. ‘Normal’ quality is unspecified, while ‘High Quality’ is pegged at 1.8 Mbit/s.

Content-wise, we presume it’s the same catalog as Virgin Media’s existing set-top box movie rental service. The line up at launch includes Fantastic Mr Fox, District 9 and, from 6th May, Twilight New Moon, reports The Register.

There’s no mobile version, iPhone or otherwise, but customers can start watching a movie on one PC and continue on another, such is the advantage of being a streaming rather than download service.

What would be interesting to find out, however, is if Virgin Media will apply its own peak time throttling rules for cable customers who consume lots of bandwidth renting movies from the ISP.

Net neutrality anyone?

See also: Will ISPs spoil the online video party?

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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