Epix – A Hulu For Movies | Online HD Movie Streaming Free For Cable Subscribers

2 min read

The music industry took far too long to adjust to the new realities which the Web brought, and look at the state it’s in now. Hopefully the movie industry will learn the lesson a bit quicker, and it seems to be doing exactly that with the launch of Epix, a new Hulu for music type TV channel and conjoined Web site.

Hollywood Vs. Pirates

Hollywood is becoming increasingly worried about movie piracy, and with good reason. There’s evidence to suggest the majority of people don’t see anything wrong with it, and even those who do see why it’s a bad thing still do it regardless.

The recent leak of X-Men: Wolverine a full month before it was due for release and the consequent downloading of the file by millions of people show that if movies are available online, people will want to watch them, regardless of the legality or otherwise of how they are obtained.

Epix is Epic

So clearly what Hollywood and the movie studios need to do is embrace the Internet rather than keep fighting against it and the distribution channels it makes possible. Although the cinema experience is still being held up as the ultimate way of watching movies, once they’ve completed their run in theaters and are on their to DVD, movies are becoming accessible.

Today sees the launch of Epix, a joint venture between movie studios Lionsgate, Paramount, and MGM. There will be an HD channel coming to cable services, with an HD online streaming service also being made available. The two services will show the same movies, which will include brand new releases fresh out of the cinema.

TV Channel and Web Site

The cable television channel will show high-definition versions of recent movies, those that up to now come under the pay-TV banner. These are movies that have had their full runs in cinemas but are yet to become available on DVD and Blu-ray. What makes Epix different is that it’ll be sold bundled in existing cable packages rather than asking for extra payments or a subscription.

In conjunction with the TV channel is a new Web site located at EpixHD.com. This will offer viewers the not only the same content online and on-demand but also the full back catalog of movies, even after they’ve stopped being shown on television. The movies online will also be available in 720p HD, although the quality of the stream will depend on the quality of your Internet connection.

Unlike Hulu and Netflix On Demand, the Web site will operate with neither a pay-to-view revenue model or an advertising-based revenue model. To all intents and purposes it will actually be free, but there is, inevitably, a catch. EpixHD will only be available to those who pay for their cable television and Internet through the same company. I assume this also means it’s a U.S.-only based affair, just like Hulu in fact, at least for now.


It’s a great idea but obviously one that has its potential nixed to a certain degree by the requirements placed upon it. Not only is everyone outside the States being ignored, so are U.S. residents who don’t subscribe to cable. Which means I can see the good intentions being trodden on by the bad infrastructure.

Maybe it’s too early to call this one. The site is still in beta and no cable partners have yet been announced. With the service still at such an early stage of development, it could still be transformed into what the majority of consumers really want. Otherwise I fear the mainstream will stick to downloading movies from torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay.

[Via Ars Technica]

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