Published August 14, 2006
NEW YORK – The new "X-Men" movie and television shows like "24" are coming to a computer near you.
Fox will tap into a platform now used to sell video games and let visitors buy movies and television shows that they can download for computer playback and transfer to devices running Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows Media Player technology.
Movies available in October include "X-Men: The Last Stand," "Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties," "The Omen" and "Thank You for Smoking."
Availability through Fox's Direct2Drive service will be concurrent with the DVD release.
Also, Direct2Drive will make available Fox's "24" and "Prison Break" and FX's "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" within 24 hours of each episode's broadcast.
Other movies and shows will be added later.
Movies will sell for about $20 and TV shows for $1.99 an episode.
Apple Computer Inc.'s (AAPL) iTunes Music Store already sells many television shows, including "24" and others from Fox, for $1.99 apiece, but those can only be played on the company's market-leading iPod devices.
The movies and TV shows from Twentieth Century Fox will carry copy protection, limiting playback to two Windows computers, each supporting one portable device. Sales will be limited to the United States.
Direct2Drive is a service offered by IGN Entertainment Inc., which Fox's parent, News Corp. (NWS), bought last year for $650 million.
Mickie Rosen, general manager for entertainment at Fox Interactive Media, said each site will likely use the Direct2Drive technology but offer a different user experience and different movies and shows, the offerings tailored to the site's audience.
Earlier this year, Fox made available free and for-sale downloads of "24" on MySpace. It also sold about 200,000 audio and video clips of performances at AmericanIdol.com.
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