Warner Bros. will distribute movies and TV shows using peer-to-peer technology from BitTorrent, becoming the first major studio to use the service, largely used to date for sharing pirated copies of movies.
The studio is aiming to head off pirating by offering what it presumes to be reasonably priced shows and movies downloadable using the same technology with which pirates, many of them college kids, are familiar.
Warner Bros. expects to begin offering the TV shows and movies by this summer. No pricing has been set, but TV shows could go for around $1 and movies for the price of a DVD, the companies said.
The studio said it will both rent and sell its movies using BitTorrent technology, which speeds up downloading of large files. Movies will be offered the day they are released on DVD. Purchased movies can be burned to DVDs, but will only be playable on the computer to which they have been downloaded and not on a DVD player.
Studios like Warner Bros. hope that offering low-priced legal downloads will combat consumers’ downloading of free files that might contain viruses or are poor copies.
Under BitTorrent’s technology, the more computers in a network that have a file, the faster the downloading. Warner Bros. estimates its movies could be downloaded in about ten minutes and TV shows in less than that.