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Epix HD Bows Beta Site

8 Jun, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The Epix HD pay-TV channel, a joint venture with Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Paramount Studios, June 8 quietly unveiled a beta site designed to test a separate streaming component.

Available in 720p resolution and powered by Akamai bitrate streaming technology (capable of delivering 3mbps in HD video and audio), initial titles offered include last year’s box office hits Iron Man and Cloverfield, according to Endgadget.com, which previewed the site.

Other titles include The Love Guru and Son of Rambow, in addition to a slew of catalog fare.

Lionsgate last week said it remained committed to the Oct. 1 launch of Epix, which the studio partners envision as a competitor to HBO, Showtime and Starz, despite the lack of announced carriage deals with cable or satellite operators.

David Miller, analyst with Caris & Co. in Los Angeles, said once Epix is fully functional it could offer significant competition to Netflix as aggregator of multi-platform streamed content.

"That will be very interesting," Miller said.

Heretofore, landing distribution with major cable operators such as Comcast and Time Warner has been difficult for Epix due to the recession and consumer pullback regarding paying for premium content on their monthly cable bills.

“What makes [Wall Street] so nervous about Epix is, where is the carriage agreement?” Miller said. “Cable companies may be pretty reticent to take on another pay-TV service.”

However, the analyst said that once a major cable operator is signed, other MSOs, including satellite, will fall in line.


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