Just when we thought the humble video rental store was being consigned to history, Virgin Media has launched a service that will resurrect it in home cinemas across the country.

The company's digital technology arm is to make the latest movie titles available to rent online – with viewers paying to have the movie for a certain period before having to return it.

By making the titles available online rather than through their set top boxes, however, the films will be available to all – not just those who are Virgin subscribers.

Viewers will simply need to connect the computer to their television or projector system and will be able to view the titles in the comfort of their own home cinema.

Films will be available for 30 days after rental, and can be viewed an unlimited number of times during that period.

The launch of this system is preceding Virgin's deeper foray into the digital media world, in which they plan to make HD movies available and add download capability to the service.

The launch comes as Virgin announced they are to spend £170 million on marketing and advertising this year, a significant proportion of which will promote their HD services. They also revealed that their on-demand service had seen more than 200 million visitors this year so far.