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Buena Vista confirms UMD support for Euro PSP launch

As the European launch of Sony's PSP handheld draws nearer, Buena Vista Home Entertainment has declared itself the first movie distributor to support the UMD format in the UK.

The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy will go on sale alongside the PSP when the console launches on September 1, with a raft of titles promised to follow.

The film, based on Douglas Adams' cult novel, stars Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent and was a hit at the box office earlier this year.

"The arrival of film on UMD is the most exciting development in the home entertainment arena since the arrival of DVD some seven years ago," Buena Vista's Julie Sneddon told The Sun.

"The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy is a great choice for our first simultaneous DVD and UMD release here in the UK."

Buena Vista has yet to reveal a full UMD release schedule, but the entertainment giant has already released titles such as Kill Bill, Hero and Pirates of the Caribbean on UMD in the States.

The only other UMD movie title so far announced is Spider-Man 2, which Sony will offer free of charge to consumers who purchase a PSP at launch.

SCEA ran a similar promotion when the handheld launched in the US in March, but there the UMD came as part of a PSP bundle. In Europe, consumers must register their new console at yourpsp.com before receiving their free gift through the post.

For consumers who don't wish to repurchase their DVDs on the UMD format, X-OOM is launching Movies on PSP, a new piece of software that enables quick conversions of DVDs to formats such as DivX, AVI, WMV, MPEG.

Although it's possible to store films on Memory Stick without the software, it's designed to make the conversion process easier - using proprietary 'Fit-to-stick' technology to resize movie files according to Memory Stick storage capacity for "the best possible picture and audio quality." Movies on PSP is out on August 12, priced UKP 24.99.

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Ellie Gibson: Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.