The way home entertainment is going, nobody will need to go down to their local video store any more. In what promises to be the wave of the future in home movie-viewing, Los Angeles-based Movielink - jointly owned by several major Hollywood studios - is reporting a rise in the number of viewers signing up to download movies via broadband. Last month, Movielink announced a deal with Tai Seng Entertainment, the largest US distributor of Asian films. 'Our goal was to gradually add as much international content as we could,' says Alan Citron, Movielink senior vice-president of marketing. The broadband video-on-demand service has more than 1,000 movies. 'Because this is an internet movie site, we want to offer people as much as possible.' Movielink was set up two years ago as a joint venture between MGM Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros. Citron says the idea is to offer a cheap, legal and convenient way for people to download movies, without having to worry about late return fees or buying DVDs. The deal with Tai Seng initially gives Movielink access to 25 Asian movies. The library comprises of a mix of dramas, action flicks and horror movies from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Korea, including cult classics such as Big Spender, Dance of a Dream, The Foul King and Tai Chi Fist. Citron says Movielink users have been specific about the kind of films they want to be able to download. 'People tell you exactly what they want and don't want - and we've been surprised by that,' he says. 'We thought we had a lot of Korean films, but heard from Korean customers who asked us why we had so few. This is a real audience, so if we increase our database, it's worth it from a business standpoint.' The cost per downloaded film varies from US$1.99 to US$4.99. Users can watch the film within minutes, or store it for a month and view it any number of times within a 24-hour period. Although the service so far is available only to internet users in the US, Citron says it will be extended to overseas viewers as soon as possible, pending discussions with distributors. 'It's complicated because there are licensing and security issues, and all sorts of legalities concerning who has the rights to show what movies,' he says. 'When a lot of these movies were made, years ago, people didn't anticipate the internet. Now that the demand is there, [an expansion of the service] is more likely to happen.' Citron says Movielink's credibility relies on its backing by the major studios. 'People aren't aware of how much is available on a legal basis,' he says. 'We have to do a lot of education. That we're owned by five of the studios puts people at ease. They look at our website and immediately see the logos of the studios.' Movielink gets many of its titles soon after they've been turned into video (recent mainstream offerings include Van Helsing and A Cinderella Story). 'The pay-per-view window is 30 to 90 days behind the home video window,' he says. Given the convenience and low cost, Citron is confident that a lot of movie lovers will use download services in the future. 'Business has been healthy so far because we've been telling the world that we're out there,' he says. 'And as more and more people get high-speed connections who are interested in this kind of content, they can try it out where they couldn't have done that a few years ago.' Affiliations with smaller companies - such as Sundance Films and National Geographic - ensure a healthy mix of big studio films, as well as quirkier, independent offerings. 'The great thing about the internet is its infinite capacity,' says Citron. 'Over time, the internet should be the source for the most choice - where people can find everything they want.' And with the growing globalisation of not just the movie industry, but people's tastes, Citron says he hopes to add more foreign films. 'It starts with finding the good distributors,' he says. 'Tai Seng have good content. People would love to have more access to Chinese films, and will watch almost anything they can get their hands on.'