NEW YORK: US satellite TV broadcaster DirecTV has begun testing an on-demand movie and television service ahead of a scheduled launch in the second quarter of this year.

The system will use a combination of DVR and broadband technology to offer users around 3,000 popular movies and TV programs, automatically stored on subscribers' DVRs.

Users will also be able to program downloads to DVRs via their cellphones.

The combination of internet and DVR technology is said to provide DirecTV with the opportunity of tracking viewer behaviour in real time, and thus to offer more effectively targeted ads to consumers.

However, only half of DirecTV's users currently have high-speed internet connections, and critics of the scheme argue that streaming content over the internet could mean they face a significant delay while information downloads, and that the transmission of content may not be smooth.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff