Comcast’s Fancast property has recently expanded from solely streaming (Hulu) web video, to offering Internet video downloads. Joining the likes of Amazon Unbox, CinemaNow, and Blockbuster the Fancast Media Manager allows you to rent or purchase television and movie content for Windows PC viewing. Though playback is limited to Windows, the Fancast Store (Beta) supports web purchases from other operating systems, such as Mac OS X. Combined with a variety of similar language, technology, and licensing (up to three PCs), I suspect Amazon is the silent partner powering Fancast. In fact, Amazon alluded to similar technology partnerships back in July:
The video store will [also] be accessible through the Sony Bravia Internet Video link, a $300 tower-shaped device that funnels Web video directly to Sony’s high-definition televisions. Mr. Carr said Amazon would pursue similar deals with other makers of TVs and Internet devices. “We can support both streaming and downloading,” he said.
At the end of the day, most folks prefer to watch long form content on a television. So, paying for computer-based video will remain a niche market. The only question I have is, do the ~2.5GB SD movie downloads count against my upcoming Comcast bandwidth cap?