British movie fans will soon be able to download hit blockbuster movies such as King Kong following a deal with Lovefilm and Universal Pictures.

Customers will be able to download permanent digital copies of films to watch on their computers and certain portable media devices as well as receiving a DVD copy in the post.

The service debuting on 10 April will coincide with the release of "King Kong" on video here in the UK however the service will only be initially available to windows users.

About 30 other Universal films will also be made available in this way, including Pride And Prejudice, The Bourne Supremacy, Love Actually, Nanny McPhee and Bridget Jones..

Peter Smith, president of Universal Pictures International, said: "Download-to-own has the potential to completely revolutionise the way people watch movies.

"The entertainment industry is changing rapidly, with the introduction of new delivery channels to consumers and an emphasis on instant access."

The move shows a turning point for Hollywood, which has been reluctant to sell permanent downloads of major films for fear of contributing to Internet piracy or cannibalizing DVD sales.

LoveFilm's chief executive, Mark Livingstone, said: "This move represents a landmark development in the entertainment world and the way customers view movies".

However at £19.99, some commentators are already doubting whether or not consumers will be happy to pay up to £8 more just for the privilege of the digital download.

Earlier this year Sky, also offered its movie package subscribers the chance to download movies, however unlike the announcement from Universal, those movies weren't able to be transfers to another device and are deleted after a couple of weeks.

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