Sony launches PS3 movie download service

Sony has announced it will launch its long-awaited PlayStation 3 movie and TV downloading service tonight.

The service, which will feature a wide range of digital content for both rental and sale, was formally unveiled at Sony's E3 press conference on Tuesday. It has been designed to enhance the currently game-swamped PlayStation store - no doubt to help it compete with Xbox's Live Marketplace, which already sells movies.

Studios that have committed films include 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, MGM Home Entertainment, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (surprisingly), Warner Home Video, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment. Anime specialty label Funimation also is making content available at PlayStation Store for the manga lovers out there, but unfortunately Universal Studios is not.

Rental movie pricing will start from $2.99 to $5.99, while to buy a film will range from $9.99 to $14.99.

The nice touch is that movies will be able to be transferred between PS3 to PSP for mobile viewing, and be allowed on both at the same time too. You can also download via PC too and transfer manually if you prefer.

Sony has said that the average download time for a standard-def, two-hour movie will be around an hour, but you'll be able to start watching the film after around a minute of finishing your transaction.

UPDATE: We've had confirmation that video downloads will only be available in the US. Sony has yet to set a date for the UK.