New Media Age is reporting that both HMV and Play.com are planning to launch film download services in the next six months.

HMV is expected to offer a trial service at the start of next year while Play's offering will come in the next few weeks.

"Next year is going to be very important for downloadable film", said Gideon Lask, HMV ecommerce director. "We don't want an 8-tonne gorilla to place itself in the room like iTunes did in the music industry."

Amazon and iTunes offer movie downloads in the states, this news has prompted speculation that the two giants could launch their full offerings in the UK soon.

According to statistics from Nielsen Online, interest in online entertainment sites has seen a year-on-year growth of 91%, from 641m minutes viewed in September 2006 to 1.2bn minutes 12 months later.