Blockbuster has begun small-scale trials of their online movie rental service, using the Movielink video-download technology the acquired last year. Starting this week, 500 beta testers have been invited to start using the service; the company will charge $2 per rental and $8 per full movie purchase.
The testers have been selected from the company's Total Access members, and will be asked to provide feedback on topics such as usability, stability and - most importantly - whether they are likely to use the service again. More subscribers will be included in the beta next week, and the formal launch will occur sometime in August.
Currently titles are available to rent once they are released for video-on-demand, but not to purchase until the DVD version is available. There's also likely work going on behind the scenes attempting to simplify watching downloaded content on a TV; at present it's described as "tricky", a word unlikely to appeal to users who just want to pay and watch. Currently the Movielink client is Windows only; there's no word on when (or even if) a Mac version will be released.