Disney's ill-conceived "MovieBeam" video-on-demand project is going on hiatus -- as they say in the entertainment biz -- perhaps permanently. The company is shutting down its three test programs later this week, throwing out lots of euphemisms to spin the news (it's officially a system upgrade to prepare for the next phase, but they're giving no other information on when or how the project might be relaunched). We won't be surprised if it never resurfaces. In fact, it would merely confirm our skepticism about the idea when it was hatched (to the public) two years ago. Think about it: a video-on-demand service that requires an extra set-top box, rental fees for the equipment and the movies, and limited flexibility in viewing the movies. About the only thing it did have going for it was that it circumvented cable and satellite providers. Oh yeah, that benefits Disney, not the consumer ... guess it's back to the drawing board.
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