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Summary:

Sonic Solutions (SNIC) is hoping to spark a home entertainment revolution today with the release of its DVD On Demand software and Qflix recordable Content Scramble System (CSS) program. If successful, this means you’ll be able to burn movies you download at home to a DVD, […]

Sonic Solutions (SNIC) is hoping to spark a home entertainment revolution today with the release of its DVD On Demand software and Qflix recordable Content Scramble System (CSS) program. If successful, this means you’ll be able to burn movies you download at home to a DVD, or purchase custom-made DVDs online or at a retail kiosk, and have these discs work in any DVD player.

The move comes thanks to, in part, the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA), which recently approved a change in the rules dealing with the home burning of CSS-protected DVDs. Up until now, “The CSS license explicitly disallow[ed] players from playing CSS content on recordable media,” said Jim Taylor, senior vice-president and general manager of the advanced technology division at Sonic. “It was created because of concerns that writable media would be used in piracy.” Translation: if studios couldn’t protect it, you couldn’t burn it.

But wiser heads prevailed. “People saw the opportunities, and answering market demand is really what this is about,” said a spokesperson for the DVD CCA.

“When we first went to studios three years ago, their initial reaction was ‘No way we’re going to take CSS systems and open it up for recordable media,'” said Taylor. “But we made it clear we’re designing a system that still protects their content.”

As solutions to the legal challenges made their way through committee, Sonic was facing technical hurdles. Roughly 90 percent of homes in the U.S. have a DVD player, so it was crucial that custom-burned DVDs not only included copy protection, but could also play on these existing devices, since, as Taylor pointed out, “People know what to do with them.” The result is a new type of disc and burner that meet both of these criteria.

And Sonic’s Qflix is the nuts and bolts of that process, handling the DVD formatting and CSS duties. Sonic has announced partnerships with drive companies such as DataPlay, Pioneer, PLDS (Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions Corp.), Plextor, TSST (Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology Corp.). And the special blank discs being released by Mitsubishi Kagaku Media (MKM)/Verbatim, and RITEK.

The first phase of this on-demand DVD creation will be purchasing customized discs via online and retail kiosks. “We are working with various retailers and have plans for potential pilot launches for sure in the first half of next year,” said Taylor.

Sonic wants its technology to free up vast libraries of content for you to purchase epitomizing the classic “long tail” scenario. Where it would be too costly to produce, bring to market and house certain niche content, the on-demand creation allows retailers and manufacturers to burn individual discs, or maintain an infinite number of titles on virtual shelf space. Enabling this is Sonic’s DVD On Demand software, which can power retail kiosks, or be licensed by an online retailer.

The ability to burn at home won’t come until consumers can get their hands on new burners that can write to the new DVDs. Sonic is partnering with Dell (DELL) and other PC manufacturers to have Qflix drives installed, and hopes they start appearing next year.

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  1. Movies » DVD On-Demand One Step Closer To Home Thursday, September 27, 2007

    [...] Stacy wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptIf successful, this means you’ll be able to burn movies you download at home to a DVD, or purchase custom-made DVDs online or at a retail kiosk, and have these discs work in any DVD player. The move comes thanks to, in part, … [...]

  2. Interesting….so let me see if I get this:

    Instead of going to the store to buy a DVD of a movie, I will be able to download it to my computer and then burn it.

    Except that I need a special player and a special DVD.

    Fair enough, but I would much prefer buying a set-top box that connects to the internet and my TV, then just download the movie, watch it and then store it on a hard drive or delete it. Am I alone?

    I love my DVDs, but I want less of them, not new versions. I wonder if I will be able to burn HD movies too?

  3. Hi David,

    Actually, you won’t need a special player. Just the special burner.

    And yes, eventually we’ll all get to the point where we can just pipe the movies directly into our TV, but until that day, consider this a stopgap for people who love (and are familiar with) DVDs.

  4. DVD Faqs » Blog Archive » Sonic Adds Download-To-DVD Software To Qflix – InformationWeek Thursday, October 11, 2007

    [...] consumer electronics companies and computer …Sonic Ignites DVD-On-Demand Industry CNNMoney.comDVD On-Demand One Step Closer To Home NewTeeVeeMOD Systems Receives CSS License from DVD CCA Business Wire (press release)Business Wire [...]

  5. Dell, Qflix Deliver Legal Movie Burning – GigaOM Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    [...] drive is based on Sonic Solution’s Qflix technology, which is designed to make it possible for content owners to digitally distribute their work on [...]

  6. Plextor Debuts Qflix Drives « NewTeeVee Monday, November 3, 2008

    [...] Debuts Qflix Drives Sonic’s Qflix technology, which allows you to download and burn legal copies of movies and videos direct to DVD, [...]

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