Studios OK Technology for Movie Downloads
AP) -- Hollywood studios have approved a new technology and licensing arrangement that should remove a major obstacle consumers now face with burning movies they buy digitally over the Internet onto a DVD that will play everywhere.
Sonic Solutions Inc. is introducing on Thursday the Qflix system for adding a standard digital lock to DVDs burned in a computer or a retail kiosk.
The lock, known as "content scrambling system," or CSS, is backed by the studios, TV networks and other content creators and comes standard on prerecorded DVDs today. All DVD players come equipped with a key that fits the lock and allows for playback.
But movie download services such as Movielink, CinemaNow and Amazon.com's Unbox haven't been able to use CSS because studios fear widespread DVD burning could lead to piracy.
Studios have experimented with an alternative to CSS used by movie downloading service CinemaNow, but only a small number of titles are available for such burning and some users have complained of problems with playback.
With Qflix - and its studio-backed copy-protection system - consumers should have more options. But they'll need new blank DVDs and compatible DVD burners to use it.
The system can also be used in retail kiosks, which could hold hundreds of thousands of older films and TV shows for which studios don't see a huge market. Customers could pick a film, TV episode or an entire season's worth of shows and have them transferred to DVD on the spot.
Burning a DVD will take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes using Sonic's technology, the company said.