A company in Hertfordshire has sparked a bidding war by announcing that it has solved the problem of hardware downloads. Using their new technology it is possible to buy hardware such as computers and TV sets on their website, which are then downloaded to you at home.
Downloading has become the preferred way for many people around the world to purchase music and films, and it is expected that this will expand to books in the next year or so. It is possible because the media content is stored digitally and transmitted over the Internet to the buyer's computer.
The new system claims to be able to achieve much the same with solid electronic products. Download customers are expected to pay a fee for the facility, but the company believes this will offer good value because of the convenience.
"The concept is broadly the same as for music downloads," explained Iain Venter, Chief of Technology at the company. "You select the items you want from an on-line catalogue, and then go through the payment checkout. Your credit card transaction takes place and then, when you are ready, you simply click on the Download button."
Due to the physical size and weight of the products concerned, this can take a while. The download times vary, but the smallest items are downloaded within 24 hours. Venter told us: "We hope to improve on this in the future, but the limiting factor at this stage is the Download Facilitator, or 'next-day courier', who have the job of downloading the equipment through the nation's road network to the customer's house."