Hollywood planning Premium Video on Demand

A gaggle of Hollywood studios is about to launch a new premium rental service for well-heeled owners of swanky home cinema setups.

Actually, anyone with a spare 30 bucks (£18.75) and an Internet connection will be able to get in on the action, but we suspect the former is the target demographic.

Premium Video on Demand will see films from Warner, Sony, Universal and 20th Century Fox made available for download as little as 60 days after the theatrical release.

US outfit DirecTV will exclusively launch the service to its 20 million punters with Comcast bringing up the rear later in the year, according to Tinseltown tattle rag Variety.

Some cinema owners have apparently got the hump but, as Hollywood studios make the lion's share of their cash in the first week on theatrical release, they don't seem to be too bothered about the rumpus.

Major studios have made the move since some people with large families are avoiding the cinema because of the high price of tickets, over-priced buckets of fizzy sugared water, and marked-up garbage bags full of super-heated cereal crops.

Many films already hit DVD and Blu-Ray within 90 days of being pulled from theatrical runs but these times are getting shorter.

We can remember a time when you'd have to wait a year for top-flight movies to appear on VHS but that was when the home rental business was booming.

We can see a time when movies get synchronised Home Theatre and cinema releases in the not too distant future, but fears over piracy, which have prevented Paramount from joining the scheme, will have to be overcome first.

Pass the popcorn!