After several years of development and negotiations, Sonic Solutions, most widely known for its Roxio brand of DVD/CD burning software (which most likely is bundled on the PC you are now using), has finally won approval for its "Qflix" technology which enables online purchasers of movies to burn those movies onto DVDs and view them whenever and wherever they want. Of critical importance to the movie studios, Qflix DVDs carry the same copy protection found on professionally made DVDs. Sonic's approval came from the DVD Copy Control Association, which is a consortium of movie studios, PC manufacturers, and consumer electronics companies.
I previously worked with Sonic on this project, and this approval represents a hard fought and long overdue and necessary victory by SVP Jim Taylor and others. Why is this important?
Now, for the first time, customers of the many online movie stores (including Blockbuster's Movielink) will be able to purchase movies online and legitimately copy them onto DVDs so that they can archive them and watch them anytime and anywhere (and not just on their PCs, which essentially has been the case up to this point). Sonic's technology also opens up the market for in-store kiosks that will give customers of Walgreens (and other retailers) the ability to select from thousands of movies and "burn" them onto a DVD while they shop -- thereby giving retailers the ability to carry a much broader selection of movies without the need for precious shelf space.
To date, the movie download business has hardly set the world on fire -- only $29 million was spent in 2006 to buy or rent movies online (compared with $24 billion spent for film rentals and purchases last year). But, as I previously have discussed, everyone and his brother (including big names and players) are entering the online movie distribution market and have high hopes for this business.
I do as well -- and, the in-home legitimate burning of movies purchased online is a necessary major step toward such success at this point (and given that the easy to use "connected home" is still a ways off ...)