The FCC's latest agreement may make it possible to watch new releases from the comfort of your couch

By Nicole Sperling
Updated May 14, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

Date Night opened several weeks ago to $25 million. Not bad for a movie that required most of its target audience to hire a babysitter. How much more would that kind of movie make if people could watch at home — no child care necessary? We may soon find out, now that the FCC has agreed to let studios send movies directly to consumers over a secure signal called selectable output control, or SOC. (Only satellite systems and newer cable boxes would be able to receive it, and you’d have to have a digital TV.) There is a lot to decide before the service starts: Will theater chains give up their exclusive right to screen movies first? (The National Association of Theatre Owners said in a statement that the theatrical-release window — now averaging 90 days — ”will be decided in the marketplace.”) Will studios have any lag at all between theatrical and home releases? And, perhaps most importantly, how much would you pay to see Iron Man 2 at home on opening weekend?