Two of the most important stories in movie news this year have been the push for movie downloads and the related focus on portable viewing. Apple came in a bit late with its attention to both trends, but it quickly became the major front runner of interest with its iTunes movie store and its promotion of iPods that play movies. But there are many download services out there and many other portable devices, much of which can play downloaded films.

Sony's PSP is primarily a video game player, but it can also be used as a video player. It used to have its own hard-copy video format, the UMD, but due to poor sales Sony appeared to have killed them in favor of simple MemoryStick movies (UMDs are still made and are supposedly popular in Japan, at a new discounted price). As an alternative, there have been ways to convert DVDs to PSP-capable files and also ways to download movies for viewing on the device, but nothing officially promoted by Sony. Until now. The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that third-party sites are in negotiations to offer downloads for the PSP -- though Sony hasn't yet issued any statements confirming this -- and another site is in the works for direct-to-PSP downloading.

According to the numbers provided by THR, sales of PSPs have been on a downward slope since their debut in early 2005, so making movies more available to the device may be Sony's hope for boosting public demand. Living in a metropolis, I see a good amount of PSPs on the subway, but I see more iPods, and I rarely see anyone watching videos on either machine.

Is portable movie watching something that you are interested in?