BitTorrent Entertainment Network Emerges from Seedier Side of Intarwebs on MondayS

The BitTorrent Entertainment Network we told you about a couple month ago launches tomorrow with "around 3,000 new and classic movies and thousands more television shows, as well as a thousand PC games and music videos."

Movie content is provided by Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount, Warner Bros., and MGM, and will sit alongside free videos uploaded by users. Exceedingly lame, however, is that all of the studio movies are rentals only, imploding 30 days after you download one or a day after you start watching it.

New flicks go for $3.99, older ones for $2.99. TV show stuff is standard—$1.99 to buy (and keep). Since they're wrapped up in Windows Media Player DRM, you can guess where, how and on what they'll play (or not). Observation: Microsoft must be making a killing licensing their DRM to people, since most of the big digital movie distributors other than iTunes use it.

While overall I find these services to be ill-conceived, limiting and wholly unsatisfactory, if you do decide to buy crippled, overpriced content, a NYT test showed that thanks to BT's p2p setup, it took less time to download a movie than it did from Wal-Mart. Moreover, it seems to solve the issues that the Xbox 360 download service ran into on the first day.

The real question is: "Can BitTorrent compete against itself?" The BT network already offers a vastly superior catalog of content without restrictions (or cost), albeit not so legally. Something else to consider: since they're using your bandwidth to distribute content users pay for, why aren't purchases subsidized according to how much someone uploads?

Verdict: Call us when someone launches a store that offers content worth paying for. Unfortunately, Hollywood doesn't seem so keen on making that happen.

Software Exploited by Pirates Goes to Work for Hollywood [NYT]