This may not be exactly what Bill Gates was referring to when he said that the format war between Blu-Ray and HD DVD would likely be the last, but this is clearly a step forward for the digital distribution of content. The Vivid download DVDs are using a DRM technology that will only allow the video file to be burned to a DVD once. This technology is an important step in providing Vivid with the confidence to go forward with its plan. It’s not known whether the burned DVDs will be encrypted with CSS and can be unencrypted and replicated using software such as DVD Decrypter or DVDShrink.
Mainstream studios will probably pay close attention to this service to see if the initial 30 DVDs start to show up on P2P networks with any greater frequency as an indication of piracy rates of movies distributed in this manner. The benefits of digital distribution are significant since it reduces manufacturing and distribution costs as well as any issues with inventory surplus or shortfall (not to mention personal discretion). Despite these advantages, I don’t think we’ll be seeing any of the major studios following suit anytime soon.
Filed in: Content Providers