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(Pocket-lint) - New movie streaming and download service, Knowhow Movies, launches on 1 March, initially for PCs and then for tablets, mobile devices, Smart TVs, PVRs and games consoles. It provides digital copies of new release and back catalogue films and TV shows from many of the major studios, including Disney and Warner Bros, to rent or buy. In many respects, it is a new direct rival to Netflix and Amazon's Lovefilm.

However, the service, from UK retailer Currys and PC World, differs in several ways. To start with, it's not a subscription platform. Instead, it offers content for one-off payments, either to rent or buy. And secondly, it will always carry day-on-date versions of films as they are released on Blu-ray and DVD, many of them in Full HD 1080p and with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound.

So, while acknowledging their major rivals in the market, Knowhow Movies believes that it has a different offering. In addition, Gary Hearns, senior category manager for content and software, has told Pocket-lint that as big as the other two are, there's a massive untapped userbase out there in the UK to target.

"Over 90 per cent of the population are not doing this," he said. "Our job is to bring that 90 per cent on to this technology as quickly as possible.

"We'll look to do that by offering £5 - £10 giftcards for the service, to get the customer to try it. And once they've tried it, they'll be on board."

Kearns even believes that by aiming at those who haven't streamed movies over the internet before, Knowhow Movies may even expand the market for Netflix, Lovefilm and others.

"In a way we're actually helping our competition as well," he said. "Because we're going to grow the market."

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To explain further, Niall O'Keefe, Knowhow development director, told us that Currys and PC World was in a unique position to do this as it also sells the equipment needed to host the service.

"We sell four-and-a-half million plus devices a year," he revealed. "We touch 19 million customers a year. We have five million customers come through the doors or on the internet on a weekly basis. So we've got big expectations. We've got a massive reach."

And, even though the service doesn't go live until Thursday, the company has been spreading the word for a while.

"It's on our own branded PCs already," said Kearns. "And on numerous other branded PCs, we have the link already on the desktop quite prominently.

"We're at the stage where over half of the PCs we sell will come with [Knowhow Movies] pre-loaded. That will grow as time goes by. And then we'll move through the different devices. You'll either see it pre-installed, pushed down via a software update or available on that device's app store," he added.

Knowhow Movies launches this Thursday, 1 March. More information can be found at knowhowmovies.com.

Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 16 April 2013.
Sections TV