The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, has launched Volta, the new Irish Video on Demand platform from Element Pictures which will showcase the best of Irish and International independent film.

Selected films will be available on Volta (www.volta.ie) the same day as their cinema release, with other films available at the same time as their DVD release.

Rental fees range from €3.99, with retail prices starting from €6.99.

There are no subscription fees.

Volta says it plans to work with RTÉ to acquire RTÉ-produced dramas for the service.

Andrew Lowe of Element Pictures said: "We are delighted to launch Volta, the first Irish-owned Video on Demand service in the Irish market.

"As an active production, distribution, and - since the re-launch of the Light House cinema in Dublin's Smithfield - exhibition company, we are uniquely placed to present and promote the best Irish and international independent cinema in a convenient and cost effective way.

"We are launching Volta now as advances in technology and broadband infrastructure make the service technically viable.

"Changes in the retail sector make it essential to create a space where specialist cinema can be discovered and consumed, and there is an onus on the industry to provide safe and legal alternatives to pirated films.

"We are very pleased to launch Volta with The Guard available exclusively on our service."