Bigpond Movies Downloads – First Impressions

The other day, BigpondMovies (they have a mail-based DVD service as well, but I’m only interested in digital downloads) reached my personal tipping point for the amount of content I was actually interested in, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Ten bucks later, I had Kung Fu Hustle and xXx (the Vin Diesel movie – AFAIK, no porn on BigpondMovies yet!) queued for a download, and a day after that, I was ready to watch them.

Movies you rent are downloadable for a week, and have a one day viewing period applied to them. There’s also a selection of Television shows, which I haven’t yet tried; they seem to be around $3 per episode.

The quality of the movies seems roughly equivalent to a same-size DivX encoding; it’s definitely on the good side of watchable, but it’s not quite (good) DVD quality, at least for XXX, which I’m watching at the moment.

Bigpond supply a Media Manager application to download and watch movies, though the movies are in WMV format and so can be viewed by anything Windows Media (with DRM) compatible. It seemed to work quite well in Media Center, though it’s not directly integrated. More on that later…?

When downloading a movie, it seems to use regular HTTP, no torrents or meshes, just a nice, fat server. It took 2 hours to download a 1.5 hour movie on IInet DSL (not DSL2+), which seems fine to me. Bigpond suggest downloading overnight; either way seems fine.

I managed to delete one of the downloads before it was finished, and there wasn’t an obvious way through the UI or the site to “reclaim” the download; I emailed the help alias, and the next day, my download was restored, which was good.

Overall, I’m quite impressed with the download service so far. More when I work out how to do more cool things with it…

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