Tesco and Microsoft bang another nail into DVD’s coffin

London, England – A supermarket giant has teamed up with a software giant to offer ‘DVD-quality’ downloads, bringing the inevitable demise of the DVD a little closer.

Ubiquitous UK grocery chain Tesco and software behemoth Microsoft are to launch an entertainment download service this fall to offer ‘a similar level of quality as consumers have come to expect from DVD and Blu-ray’.

The new virtual DVD service will provide the ability to download entertainment including movies, interactive and bonus content previously available only on a disc. Along with claimed DVD and Blu-ray quality, the downloads will also offer web-based interactivity, say the companies.

Tesco will allow customers in the UK who purchase selected home video titles to download digital copies versions of movies to their Windows or Apple machines in a ‘virtual DVD experience’.

The digital copy versions will include a similar level of video quality, interactivity and bonus content available on the physical products, together with extra network-connected features such as auto-updated trailers, exclusive bonus content, movie viewing parties with online chat, related music offerings such as MP3s and ring tones, and networked games.

The service is based on Microsoft’s Silverlight browser plug-in and will enable developers and designers to deliver the same application anywhere Silverlight is running.

“Tesco is excited to be the first retailer to partner with a broad range of major movie studios to offer this next-generation movie experience,” said Rob Salter, category director for Entertainment at Tesco. “For the first time, consumers will be able to enjoy a DVD equivalent experience with digital movies, which paves the way for more advanced viewing experiences enabled through Silverlight.

“This is just the beginning. In the future we expect to offer our customers innovative digital solutions that far exceed the DVD experience and deliver exclusive content, Web events and services wherever and whenever they want them,” Salter said.

“Microsoft is committed to enhancing digital entertainment to deliver richer quality video and, ultimately, more enjoyable and interactive experiences for the viewer through technologies like Microsoft Silverlight,” said Gabriele Di Piazza, senior director for the Media & Entertainment business in the Communications Sector at Microsoft.

“We believe this alliance will offer consumers in the UK, and eventually additional markets, the opportunity to download a digital copy that is truly the equivalent of a physical disk, with the same package of navigation, bonus features and director commentaries.”