'Star Wars' movies finally available online... but not on Netflix

Collectors can finally re-box their Star Wars DVD collection and enshrine it upon a shelf: The six-movie saga will be available for online download starting Friday, April 10.

The movies can be purchased at transactional video on demand retailers including Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, PlayStation, Vudu and Xbox. Individual movies will retail for $20. The entire set is available for pre-order at Amazon, Google Play and Vudu for $90. The digital versions will include some extras, such as featurettes for each movie called "Discoveries from Inside" and interviews with key contributors.

The movies won't be available on subscription-based streaming sites like Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video.

Legal online versions of Star Wars were previously unavailable, stuck in content licensing limbo as its rights holders jealously guarded what is undoubtedly a valuable property. For example, the Blu-ray versions of the saga, released in 2011, raked in more than $84 million in worldwide sales in their first week of availability. But Disney, which in 2012 purchased Lucasfilm for $4 billion, has apparently worked out the rights with 21st Century Fox.

It's intriguing that the release takes place in mid-April: An online video release may have gotten a boost from being released around milestone dates celebrated by Star Wars fans: May 4, the date of Episode IV's initial release in 1977; or Dec. 18, the date that the next installment in the saga, The Force Awakens, is slated to hit theaters. Still, the enduring popularity of the films pretty much guarantees big sales regardless of when the digital versions drop.

The trailer for the Star Wars Digital Movie Collection (Source: starwars.com)

For more:
- see the starwars.com website
- engadget has this story

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