It's been several months since movies began the infant stages of mass distribution over the Internet, and there have been some obstacles to widespread adoption of the practice, such as price. However, Movielink LLC appears to have a solution to at least one of the hurdles -- if movie studios give the OK.

Through an agreement with Sonic Solutions (NASDAQ:SNIC), Movielink can allow people to create DVDs of the movies they pay for and download -- complete with digital rights management (DRM) capabilities. That means that consumers will not only be able to burn backup DVDs of the content (as was originally the case), but they will also be able to play the DVDs on their DVD players. However, even though Movielink has arranged for the technology, it's unknown when the service will go live, given the fact that movie studios still have to give the OK.

Back in the spring, both Movielink and CinemaNow made a big splash with movie downloads from studio heavyweights -- General Electric's (NYSE:GE) and Vivendi's (NYSE:V) NBC Universal, Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) Warner Bros., Sony's (NYSE:SNE) Sony Pictures, Viacom's (NYSE:VIA) Paramount, and News Corp.'s (NYSE:NWS) Twentieth Century Fox -- but there were still certain elements that could deter many consumers (and it was kind of tempting to wonder whether the studios almost wanted consumers to be deterred while they paid lip service to getting started on the downloading concept).

For example, the downloads seemed awfully pricey considering they were digital files, and downloading feature films is still fairly time-consuming. Last but certainly not least was the fact that consumers could only watch the movies on their PCs, which some people think is a pretty big obstacle to widespread adoption.

Of course, some folks don't seem too terribly averse to watching at least some video on their computers. YouTube has illustrated staying power when it comes to Web video. A headline over at CNET today proclaimed that YouTube is serving up 100 million videos per day. (Bear in mind, YouTube's known for its short video clips.) Meanwhile, file sharing and video streaming continue to be popular, and some movie studios like Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures hope to benefit, having made deals to distribute fee-based content through BitTorrent and Guba.

Increasing word of the evolution of movie downloads is interesting, to say the least -- and of course, a lot of us are surely wondering when, if, and how big names like (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Apple will get into the action, and to what degree. It's obvious the details are still being ironed out, and the details are sticky, given big media's piracy concerns. Digital downloading of feature-length movies may be an idea whose time has come, but while the party may have started, there's still a lot of work and planning left to do. And it seems that it would be easy to make the kinds of missteps early in the game that might impact consumer perception or even turn consumers off ("buying digital movies is too expensive," for example). The studios and related parties better hope people show up and like what they have to offer, because too much groping for "what works" might not work in the end.

Dig around for some more recent movie download news:

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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.