DIRECTV has launched a new feature enabling subscribers to purchase movies and TV shows, and download them onto their set-tops for viewing at any time.

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Some of the movies will be available for purchase before they are released on DVD and Blu-ray. For instance, DIRECTV customers can now purchase The Lego Batman Movie for $7.99 (limited offer; regular price will be $19.99) and Logan for $17.99.

The Lego Batman Movie will be released on disc on June 13 while Logan, which stars Hugh Jackman, will debut on disc tomorrow.

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The concept of buying movies digitally and storing them on set-tops or in the ‘cloud’ is not new. Comcast and other cable operators have offered this feature for a few years and it’s also been available on online services such as Vudu.

But this is the first time that DIRECTV has offered what the industry dubs “electronic sell-through.”

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AT&T, which owns DIRECTV, says in a press release that the satcaster is now offering more than 800 TV show episodes and movies for ‘sell-through’ and is expected to expand that to the thousands by year’s end. The ‘for-sale’ titles can be found on DIRECTV’s channel 1100.

To purchase a movie or TV show, a DIRECTV customer must have an Internet-connected Genie HD DVR set-top.

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AT&T says it will add a feature in the coming weeks that will allow DIRECTV subscribers to download their purchases and watch them on the go on mobile phones, tablets and laptops.

DIRECTV is offering a $10 bill credit for the first purchase of a ‘sell-through’ movie or show.

Note: DIRECTV subscribers will no longer have access to their purchased movies and shows if they discontinue their subscriptions to the satellite service.

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— Phillip Swann