Engadget et. al. report that Movie Gallery, which picked up the troubled MovieBeam service from Disney earlier this year, is preparing to shut down the service. One of the challenges that the product faced was limited coverage area and finicky antenna placement. However, the device had an unused Ethernet jack. Finding some way to use it for the service would have made it a standalone competitor to Vudu and Xbox Live Video Marketplace as well as removing the phone line dial-up requirement for account authorization. All that said, as long as you could get the antenna placed in a good spot, MovieBeam was a pretty clean, enjoyable user experience.
The Engadget post notes that customers have begun receiving phone calls that the service will shutter on December 15th, but that seems like an odd way to manage a shutdown. While the news only recently broke, I (a MovieBeam user) have received no service shutdown e-mails. Furthermore, the MovieBeam Web site has yet to be updated with any news and the device itself still lists movies on tap for at least two weeks after December 15th. Perhaps all that will change on Monday.
If I were Vudu, I’d try to find a way to buy the customer list and market to it. Practically all of the MovieBeam titles available on the service are also available there, plus thousands more.