UK digital-media service, Wippit, has beaten Apple to the launch of a UK-based movie-download service.

The company has reached a deal with Universal Pictures UK to offer download-to-own movie sales. Universal is the first studio to partner with a music-download company to offer this type of service in the UK.

When the service launches in July, the agreement will enable UK users to buy movies and digital entertainment through Wippit's Windows-based download service.

A wide choice of Universal content, including new releases such as Jarhead, King Kong, Pride & Prejudice, Inside Man and American Dreamz, and a range of catalogue and special-interest flicks, will be made available to download on the same date as the DVD release. Downloads will cost from £4.99 to £19.99.

Customers will be able to buy two digital files: one for their PC and another for a portable device. A DVD will also be sent to them in the mail.

Pete Smith, President of Universal Pictures International, said: "Universal is delighted to have partnered with Wippit in this great digital deal. We are excited that UK consumers will have even more choice and accessibility in downloading Universal's content to own."

Paul Myers, Wippit founder and CEO, added: "Having Universal as our first major movie supplier is a huge step forward for Wippit, our customers, and for film fans alike. We are offering our customers the best in big-screen entertainment, with only a couple of keystrokes of effort. And more importantly, these movies are permanent, not rentals. These movies are yours forever."

While the service is currently Windows-based there is hope for Mac users. Both companies have confirmed that Universal will be ready to reveal a range of similar deals "soon".