Warner Bros. to offer its movies, TV shows online

Warner Bros. to offer its movies, TV shows online

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Warner Bros. is about to become the first major film studio to allow distribution of its movies and TV shows over the Web. The offerings will be available via BitTorrent and will be priced as low as US$1.

The studios that brought you Harry Potter, Bugs Bunny, Scooby-Doo, and a host of other fun characters will now be offering their wares online for your to download.

The films will be sold online on the same day that they become available on DVD. The television shows will become available on a staggered basis. No mention has been made yet as to the timing and availability of current shows.

Warner Bros. officials have publicly said that this announcement is an effort, akin to that of Apple with iTunes, to forestall the growing tide of illegal copying of video. The use of BitTorrent is interesting in that it has come under fire recently for unwittingly listing links to pirated files. Those listings have been removed, BitTorrent officials say.

The download method will be BitTorrent’s own “file swarming,” which assembles files from separate bits of data from a series of users. That method cuts down on download time, something that should be welcomed by the casual user. Estimates for full-movie download times are about 10 minutes, Warner Bros. officials said.

Expect to see this service sometime this summer.

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