As part of the agreement, Sonic agreed to include the online video-on-demand service within its Roxio CinePlayer and other Sonic software applications distributed through its partners and retail channels.
Movielink currently allows subscribers to buy or rent movies, which can only be played either on a computer or on a TV connected to a computer. The Santa Monica, Calif., company, however, said it expects to reach agreements with movie studios for burning movies on DVDs for playback on TV-attached players.
"We are anticipating an industry resolution to establish rules for converting secure Internet-delivered Movielink downloads into a secure format compatible with DVD players in the market today," Jim Ramo, chief executive of Movielink, said in a statement. "This gives consumers a more flexible product while providing copyright holders with adequate protection of their content."
Movie studios have refused to allow burning of copyrighted material on DVDs out of fear that it would foster illegal copying of films. Hollywood, however, is expected to warm up to the idea with the development of digital rights management software that restricts the number of copies that can be made of a downloaded film.
The Movielink-Sonic licensing agreement allows Movielink and Sonic, based in Novato, Calif., to use each other's technology for building a platform for studios to offer secure DVD burning. The deal also includes joint marketing.
Analysts have said that the market for downloading movies is unlikely to take off until it's a lot easier to play the films on TV screens, which most consumers prefer over their computer screens. In addition, online movie distribution will also have to become a lot faster. On Movielink, the average download time for a movie can be as high as 90 minutes, according to the company's Web site.