MovieBeam Finally Dead For Real

from the how-much-money-was-wasted-on-that? dept

Back in 2003, Disney's brilliant idea to "compete" with TiVo and Netflix was to start MovieBeam. Just the fact that Disney felt it needed to compete with TiVo and Netflix shows you how backwards the thinking was at the point. Moviebeam was a terrible idea from the start. People were expected to buy (yet another) expensive set top box from Disney, which would basically be a very limited DVR. The hard drive would come packed with about 100 movies, and each week some would disappear and others would magically "beam" into the box. Despite the fact that you already had to pay for the box, you still had to pay each time you wanted to watch a movie -- and, you were only given a 24-hour time period in which to watch that movie. Two years into the program (with only a few small test markets) Disney shut down the program. At the time, we figured it was gone for good, but somehow, some VCs and Cisco were convinced to pony up $50 million to bring this idea back to life as a spinoff from Disney. Yet, when the offering was relaunched (with a few small improvements) people still didn't care. Earlier this year, the company was basically sold off for next to nothing, and now the company has announced that it's shutting down operations next week. Who knows, though, maybe it'll rise from the dead again, so that it can fail a few more times.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Max Powers, Dec 6th, 2007 @ 8:00pm

    Doesn't smell right.

    And the new company that bought it before shutting it down was going to do what with it? The same thing? Something sounds fishy to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Max Powers, Dec 6th, 2007 @ 8:01pm

    Doesn't smell right.

    And the new company that bought it before shutting it down was going to do what with it? The same thing? Something sounds fishy to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Ajax 4Hire, Dec 6th, 2007 @ 8:22pm

    Purchase could be for the patents...

    In today's litigious society, this could simply be a patent purchase.

    Cisco wants to move into streaming video over the internet and this is one way. This technology falls right in line with the purchase by Cisco of Scientific-Atlanta.

    This also sounds like the Apple iTV box released earlier this year. Also like Microsoft MediaCenter.

    The Cable operators have learned how to make money providing streaming content (translates to "TV"). As content moves to the digital domain, the TV broadcast will die and distribution of content will become physical layer agnostic.

    That is, the actual delivery method: Cable, DSL, IP, WiMAX, 3G/4G is not important to the masses. They want their MTV and they will get their TV.

    Whoever learns to make money delivering MTV to the masses will be the next Standard Oil/GM/MicroSoft.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    BTR1701, Dec 7th, 2007 @ 7:39am


    I can’t believe people who have gone to the best business schools in the world and are running multi-billion-dollar companies actually think ideas like this will work. They really must exist in some kind of mental fantasy-land where people behave contrary to the usual norms of psychology and common sense. I mean, the moment I read the description of this MovieBeam thing, the first thing I thought was “Who in the hell would buy into something like that?” Apparently the CEO of Disney’s first thought was, “That sounds like something consumers will flock to in droves!”

    The disconnect between the way normal people think and the way these entertainment executives think is stunning.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    KevinL, Dec 7th, 2007 @ 4:10pm

    Re: Amazing

    Not amazing at all. You are confusing a person with cable or DSL broadband with someone who can't or won't. Moviebeam provided video on demand without also having to pay for cable TV or for broadband. It was meant as an alternative to video store rentals. I beleive the reason it failed had more to do with the price structure than with the technology. It didn't fit well with consumers to pay $250 for a box and then pay $4 for a movie with only 24 hours to watch it. The technology behind it worked great. Actually, the group at Dotcast who developed the technology were amazing (you were right!). Once you paid for the box (I got one for $50 with a $50 rebate), the only out of pocket was per view.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    DBT, Dec 17th, 2007 @ 3:53pm


    Actually the Movie Beam worked fairly well for us. We do not have digital cable and were able to watch movies on demand. We did not pay anything for our box. MovieBeam offered it to us completely free. We didn't even pay shipping. The only drawbacks were the 24 hour viewing time and the movies available weren't the best movies. Otherwise I thought it was a good idea.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    EAB, Dec 17th, 2007 @ 6:20pm


    Well, we live in the country 40 miles from the nearest video store. Out here there is no cable, and no dsl. We got our box for free and loved the service. I would have rented many more movies had the prices been a little better and have a longer viewing time. 24 hours was too short. The movies were clear and the unit is high quality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Phil, Dec 26th, 2007 @ 5:49pm


    I ordered this service about a year ago, it worked fine,but now all of a sudden with no written communication it is shut down?...I noticed a red light on the receiver box and when I investigated found out Movie Beam is no longer transmitting!
    Just another failure in money mad american corporate mentality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    NugHead9315, Apr 8th, 2015 @ 12:31pm

    The Beam!!

    Movie Beam always worked well for me. They gave me the box etc for free. Nvr charged me. Easy to use. def thought it was a good product. specially if u didn't have bs cable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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