I come across a lot of web sites that claim to have current movies available for download if you pay a low monthly subscription fee. In most cases, you’re just paying to see a web page that has links to free download servers that have illegal movies uploaded by some anonymous person. So, these sites are totally illegimate and illegal.
A few weeks ago, I came across a forum posting where someone mentioned ZuneDVDMovies.com, and they claimed that it was a legal, legitimate site for purchasing and downloading movies for your Zune. I was a bit skeptical, but a few other forum users posted messages saying that it was legal and legitimate. This afternoon, I decided to test this out by making a purchase to see for myself.
I went to their site and reviewed the “New Releases” category and purchased the movie, 3:10 To Yuma with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. This movie was released to DVD just a few weeks ago, so it seemed plausible that it could be offered for sale on a web site for download. The movie was priced at $6.99 US, and a charge of 50 cents was added to cover the credit card charges. I noticed that the order page was secure (it used the https:// web address header which indicates a SSL certificate (secure socket layer)), so that made me feel a bit more comfortable that my credit card data was being sent securely.
After my purchase, I received an email almost immediately with a purchase receipt and a notice that I would receive another email with a download link and password. Sure enough, 2 minutes later I got a 2nd email with that information, and after a few clicks I had my movie downloading to my machine. The movie file (zipped) was about 635 MB in size and took approximately 1 hour to download with my cable broadband Internet connection. So far, so good.
I then unzipped the downloaded file and used the program GSpot to determine it’s properties:
- Resolution: 320×224
- Video Codec:H.264/MPEG4
- Video Bit Rate: 614 kbps
- Frame Rate: 29.97 fps
- Audio Codec: MPEG4 AAC
- Audio Bit Rate: 96 kbps, 44.1 kHz Stereo
- File Size: 640 MB,MP4 Format
So, those video and audio properties aren’t bad for playback on the Zune device (although, the resolution is somewhat low for playback on a TV screen). I then synced the MP4 file to my Zune in about 30 seconds (no transcoding required). Note, that since this is an MP4 file, you won’t be able to define the meta data tags for the file for categorizing on your Zune.
The playback on my Zune looked good to me, with the video and audio in perfect sync. The audio levels were also good, so you could turn up the sound pretty high if you want. Thus, I’d have to say that ZuneDVDMovies.com is a legitimate site, which allows you to purchase movies for your Zune at an affordable price. So if you’re about to head out on a long plane flight and want to buy a movie or two for your Zune, I’d certainly recommend checking out this site.