Lovefilm.com, the online DVD rental company, has announced the launch of the UK’s first legal movie download service, which will allow customers to burn downloaded movies onto blank DVDs.

The move is prompted by Lovefilm’s research into its customer’s preferences, which found that 57% wanted the opportunity to create their own discs from their downloads.

Prices will start from £9.99 per film, and ‘SecureBurn technology’ will be used to prevent customers from making further copies from the downloaded films.

Lovefilm says that the download time for each movie will be between 30 and 90 minutes, while the time taken to burn the DVD will be the same as the movie’s running time. Seems like quite a wait from where we’re sitting, innovative as it is.

Meanwhile, Lovefilm is also introducing a selection of free, ad-supported movies for download. Users will be required to install software to view the free content, which will be sponsored by Volkswagen.

As well as having its branding across the site, VW’s ads will be shown while the film is downloading, and the viewing of the film will be preceded by a short ad for the German car maker.

The free to download films will be a selection of ‘indie gems’, including The Proposition, Little Fish, and The Machinist.

Lovefilm was last week linked with a possible £100m IPO.