Buy Iron Man Movie For $649 And Get a Free Dell

We've seen some pretty wild promotions in our day, but Dell's latest really has us scratching our heads. Starting today and for a limited time only, you can get Iron Man preloaded on a select Dell laptop or desktop for an additional $20. This is not the Iron Man DVD or Blu-ray disc, but a digital movie file (Windows Media format) pre-loaded onto the system's hard drive. Currently the three system options are an Inspiron 1525 (starting at $649), an XPS 420 (starting at $899), and an XPS 630 (starting at $1,299).

Don't get us wrong--we think Iron Man was one of the best movies to come out in 2008, and have been chomping at the bit to own a copy of it. But does the ability to purchase a copy of the movie that can only be played back on a single system and that also costs more than the DVD, really seem like an enticement to purchase a computer? (Actually, the pre-loaded Iron Movie can also be streamed from the computer to a Windows media extender, Xbox 360, or a Slingbox, etc.) The DVD costs $14.99 at Amazon, and can also be downloaded from iTunes for $14.99. Okay, Dell promises "a special digital edition with a bonus featurette"; but even if the Dell version is the equivalent of the Iron Man (Two-Disc Special Collectors' Edition), Amazon sells that DVD for $22.99. We'd also wager a fair bet that the image quality of the pre-loaded file doesn't quite measure up to that of the DVD. (The Blu-ray version is $25.95 at Amazon.)

 Credit: Dell

A promotional page on Dell's site states, "by getting your content preloaded, you can start enjoying your favorite movie as soon as you get your new Dell without the hassle of searching for and downloading your content, saving you time."  While the digital entertainment revolution is upon us, the vast majority of people simply do not choose to watch movies on the computers as their primary means of viewing films. In fact, DVDs still reign supreme as we reported a few weeks ago. An NDP Group study actually found that less than one percent of U.S. consumers purchased or rented digital movies or TV shows online. Here are some other relevant findings from the study that just makes Dell's move that much more confusing:

Of U.S. consumers who says they "watched a full-length movie in the past three months":

  • Watched a DVD they owned: 67 percent
  • Watched a rented DVD: 50 percent
  • Watched video-on-demand: 18 percent
  • Watched a movie on their portable media devices: 8 percent
  • "Downloaded a movie from a free file-sharing service and watched on a computer or television": 6 percent
  • "Paid for a digital video download from the Web": 2 percent
Preloading Iron Man is actually just the tip of the iceberg for Dell. It plans on ramping up similar promotions in the months ahead. In a press release from Dell, the company states, "Dell plans to expand future entertainment selections and will continually refresh its offerings to include the most exciting Hollywood blockbuster and perennial classic movies. More information about the Dell Movies is available at" As of when this news story was written, that link points to the Iron Man promotion.

Dell XPS M1530, now available with Iron Man on board...

In our opinion, a more appealing deal would be to also include the DVD or Blu-ray disc (depending on the configuration we ordered). Are we not seeing the forest for the trees here? Is this, in fact, the greatest idea since sliced bread and we're just too dense to get it? What do you think of Dell's promotion? Let us know in the comments section below.
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