by Mike Masnick
Thu, Dec 6th 2007 6:21pm
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.
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