News Corporation channel Fox Broadcasting Company plans to launch a Windows-based movie download service in the US this October.

The move pits the wits of the hugely succesful media company up against those of the iTunes gurus at Apple, which is rumoured to be planning its own movie download service for iPod users, a service compatible only with iTunes.

News of the Fox debut in the movie download industry is significant. Fox owns some of the world's most well-known TV, radio and newspaper brands.

The company's list of media outlets includes (but isn't confined to) the New York Post, News of the World, The Sun, Sunday Times, and The Times. News Cor. also owns Classic FM, BSkyB, Foxtel, National Geographic and a variety of Fox TV outlets.

The movie download service will be dubbed 'Direct2Drive' and will make movies and TV shows available as the same time as they are released on DVD. Movies will cost "about $20, while TV shows will set fans back $1.99.

The movies and television shows will carry copy protection, limiting playback to two Windows computers, each supporting one portable device.