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Legal DVD Burnable Downloads Launched 218

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the playing-catch-up dept.
rogabean writes to tell us that Hollywood studios have taken a large step into the future by launching their new program with CinemaNow which allows users to legally download and burn DVDs. While the current of offerings seems to be just the dregs, studio execs hope to expand the list quickly and offer a new way to find niche or older films that are difficult to locate.
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Legal DVD Burnable Downloads Launched

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @05:15PM (#15746293)
    ... the reason they opted for this was supposedly having discovered a way to create a DVD that can be played in a DVD player, but cannot itself be copied. How is that even possible? TFA has no information.
    • Perhaps by selling special media with a key pre-burned in that place where the CSS keys usually are (and can't be burned on normal blank media) and special burning software that will only decrypt and burn an encrypted image to DVDs that have been assigned to that DVD image online?

      Rich
      • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @05:29PM (#15746383) Homepage Journal
        You can just see how that would go

        Site: Yes, you can download the movies and burn them to special dvds.

        Customer: Thats cool, can I play them in my normal DVD player?

        Site: Yeah sure.

        Customer: How about at my friends house?

        Site: Yup

        Customer: But I can burn them with my own DVD writer?

        Site: Yup

        Customer: Can I make loads of copies of them?

        Site: Nope, you can burn them once only.

        Customer: Thats ok, it sounds good enough though how much are the disks?

        Site: $49.99 each.

        Customer: !!!! *sound of bittorrent kicking in*
      • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @05:56PM (#15746540) Journal
        You can use any DVD +-R discs in your own burner.
      • by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @07:19PM (#15746905)
        It's been tried already. Well, sort of. There was a very obscure format of recordable dvd called "HV-DVD" which worked similarly. They came with a unique serial number on each disc that could be used as part of the decryption key. I think only one media vendor ever even announced that they were going to sell HV-DVD blanks, and I suspect they never made it to market.

        In my opinion the problem with that approach is that you can use a DVD emulator. So, even though a normal recordable DVD can't record a serial number, the emulator can fake it. And in fact most of the pre-standard high-def dvds that use microsoft's WM9 (mostly a bunch of IMAX discs, although europe had some mainstream releases) can be copied and and their DRM completely circumvented with one of many such software emulators.

        FWIW, with the advent of HD-DVD there are a bazillion typos that say "HV-DVD" when they meant "HD-DVD" so digging for a link to a page talking about actual HV-DVD media is like finding a needle in a haystack. I may be misremembering the name, it might have been H-DVD or HI-DVD. I am pretty sure it meant "high-video" whatever the exact acronym was.

        PS, the only reason I ever heard of this format was I ran across an HV-DVD logo on a website with homebrew DVD-case covers for people burning actual HDTV transport streams to DVD. Someone had misused the logo for these covers and since it looked so professional I figured it must have come from somewhere. Back then BLU-RAY and HD-DVD were barely heard of so googling for it worked a lot better.
    • Just guessing (based on the accuracy of most stories like this) they probably mean it can only be burned once. The assumption being nobody knows how to stick a disk in the computer's drive and hit the "Duplicate" button in their favorite software.

      The other basis for my guess is from a story on a different, but similar plan,. You needed to download their software to unlock and burn the movie to disk (sorry, Windows only).
      • Actually. I've noticed that my CD burner won't copy certain things. Music CDs are fine, but it won't copy game CDs. It just says some shit like "unable to complete the action at this time".

        And if they end up using the "download this software to burn the DVD" approach then I'd say it's starting to look one hell of a lot like the sony BMG music player.
    • Ok. The technology they use is FluxDVD. http://www.fluxdvd.com/ [fluxdvd.com] Perhaps more information about the copy protection system can be found there.
      • by ops_com (912379) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @06:06PM (#15746602)
        After, a quick look of this site, they use DRM from Windows... So goodbye Linux and Apple. As per the article an agreement with Apple for the distribution... (M$ DRM on Apple...) And the worst part, they`re talking about something that prevent the burner to burn more than one copy, sounds like a rootkit to me. Basically, the movie branch of Sony will repeat the same mistake as the music branch.
        • Its possible that it just casually prevents the burner from burning more than one copy by marking the original file as "burned". But you never can know. Of course this won't stop the determined, and noone knows when the studios will figure that that is noway to stop the determined.
      • fluxDVDs use a Microsoft Windows Media compatible DRM scheme that allows easy integration into exiting server- and client side MS DRM environments. Burned DVD-Rs use an updateable, sophisticated DMCA copy protection.
    • It's probably just like ARCCOS: the disc is corrupt enough that DVD Shrink chokes on it, but not corrupt enough to confuse a set-top DVD player.
      • Wouldn't that mean that it probably wouldn't pay in any computer dvd player? I think a lot of people would be mighty pissed if they bought a movie and couldn't play it on the laptop that they used to burn it. I wonder if the XBox would even be able to play it. It uses a standard computer CD drive, and as far as I'm aware, all DVD Decoding is done in software. If lots of discs were published using this method, couldn't DVD Shrink be modified to not choke.
        • Wouldn't that mean that it probably wouldn't pay in any computer dvd player?

          According to Wikipedia (I know, grain of salt), ARCCOS "deliberately creates a number of sectors on the DVD with corrupted data that causes DVD copying software to produce errors. Normal DVD players do not ever read these sectors since they follow a set of instructions encoded on the disc telling them to skip it. Less sophisticated DVD ripping programs do not follow these instructions but try to read every sector on the disk sequent
  • by 14erCleaner (745600) <FourteenerCleaner@yahoo.com> on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @05:18PM (#15746310) Homepage Journal
    The prices "start" at $9, plus I have to download a few gigabytes and then burn it myself? Plus no storage box or artwork? Thanks, but it'll be faster, cheaper, and result in a better product if I just drive to Wal-mart and buy the same DVD for $7.
    • by shotfeel (235240) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @05:22PM (#15746341)
      That's what I was thinking. The movies you find in Wal-mart in the 2 for $10 bin are now going to be available for download for $9 (time, computer, internet connection, DVD burner and blank media not included).

      Just be sure you don't burn a coaster on that first try...
    • Honestly if it is $7 for all the movies, I think it's a fair price. Maybe $5? And if the MPAA really sell all stuff at much cheaper (reasonable) price, the mega moviestar takes in 1 cool million dollar instead of 10 million per movie, there's probably not much of piracy problem here.

      By the they'll save all the money they need to invest in protection/drm/root-kit and such. Though it's not the same as selling @ $15-$20 a pop, but this will make this world a much happier place :)

    • by MrFebtober (922100) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @05:46PM (#15746489)
      Even if they did bring the prices down to a competitive level (cheaper than buying the DVD in a store), they are pretty vague on the format. Would this be a ready-to-burn .ISO file? Would it be sized small enough to fit on a single-layer DVD-R (which likely means viewer extras, languages, etc) or would it be a duel-layer .ISO file requiring a dual-layer burner? Technical questions, yes, but these are the things that would make or break this idea in my mind. well...assuming the even did become competitive price-wise.
    • Do you care about the artwork? Personally, the first thing I do when I get a DVD is pull out the disc, stick it in a 3 ring binder sheet (4 discs per side per sheet) and throw away the box.
      • I'm the opposite (though still an engineer). I don't so much like DVDs, but with CDs and games, I love having a shelf of nice boxes to look at later on.

        • I do it out of necessity. I measure my binders in feet (1 foot of DVD binders, 2 feet of PC applications). I used to keep the boxes in a separate huge box (one that originally had a TV in it), but after it filled up I decided it just wasn't worth it. I have to keep the instruction manuals for PC stuff of course, but I usually toss those if the app comes with good online help or a PDF of the manual on disc.
    • by kimvette (919543) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @06:08PM (#15746610) Homepage Journal
      WalMart offers many movies at $4.50 each (I just picked up Lethal Weapon 2 and 4 for $4.50 each last week). The studios need to do at least that well and post them as ISO images in order to make this worthwhile (Hello. MPAA? BitTorrent is the ideal mechanism to make distribution cheap, just charge for the "subscription" to the password for the tracker).

      There are a LOT of old movies (and even freely-available stuff we're encouraged by the producers to bootleg, e.g., all the MST3K episodes) I'd buy from a service such as this. Lots of the old sci-fi movies from the '50s I've never seen, stuff that WLVI 56 in Boston used to air in their saturday "Creature double feature" run in the late 70s/early 80s (you know, stuff like Godzilla, Gamera, etc.), lots of dead TV shows that aren't in sydnication (I'd pay a few dollars for all the episodes of, say, Good Grief, Parker Lewis Can't Lose, Alf, Tracy Ullman, ALL the muppet show episodes, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, etc. - dig up a LOT of stuff that Generation X caught the tail end of or missed out completely on). If you want to plug commercials in to subsidize the "cost" of distribution (e.g., to offer it at such a cheap price) then go right ahead- it's a fair tradeoff and I'll sit through the commercials to get legal downloads of stuff which isn't "legally" otherwise available. In other words, make it cheap enough, I'll buy lots of shows that aren't worth paying full price on a DVD on, but would be fun to watch if for no other reason to figure out exactly why I liked the show when I was 10 yrs old to begin with. :D

      Will this stuff get pirated? Inevitably, yes, however if you sell, say, 1,000 units of each season of, say, the Ed Sullivan show, and the content would otherwise be rotting away in a vault somewhere, what's the harm? Hell, you'll get a viral marketing effect. Today's Jr. High kids might download Ed Sullivan and rediscover the Beatles, the Doors, Elvis, and a bunch of other old acts that have a cult following but doesn't otherwise attract new customers. Heck, I'd pay $15 for the Top of the Pops episode where Pink Floyd made an appearance. You're a lot better off selling SOME content, even knowing it's going to be pirated, than to make zero sales on it.

      In other words, it's a great idea and not only should you jump on it, but take the maximum advantage you can by not being so closed-fisted and short-sighted. You may be surprised at what opening up your vaults to what the customers want may lead to increased revenues, rather than being so closed-fisted that if you can't lock it down with DRM every step of the way, you kill off any customer interest. HD-DVD is stillborn, don't do the same with this idea.
      • by ivan256 (17499) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @06:41PM (#15746752)
        Hello. MPAA? BitTorrent is the ideal mechanism to make distribution cheap

        There's not a chance in hell I'm using my precious upstream bandwidth to help the MPAA member companies turn a profit. If they use a peer to peer distribution model, I better get compensation for my bandwidth in the form of cash, or credit for more movies. That credit better be linearly proportional to the amount of data I upload.
        • Most of us are begging MPAA members to combat "piracy" by embracing technology. By embracing bittorrent, abandoning DRM and pricing products fairly. If they were to do this, they would be doing exactly that. You don't like this sort of compromise WHY, exectly?
          • Most of us are begging MPAA members to combat "piracy" by embracing technology. By embracing bittorrent, abandoning DRM and pricing products fairly. If they were to do this, they would be doing exactly that. You don't like this sort of compromise WHY, exectly?

            Bandwidth costs money. Many ISPs will slap you with extra fees if you upload too much, and the terms of service often prohibit one from running a server, which ISPs will claim BitTorrent is. So, it is unreasonable for the customer to provide bandwid

          • I shouldn't have to pay to get them to stop behaving badly. They should just stop behaving badly.
          • by shark72 (702619) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @12:38AM (#15747915)

            "You don't like this sort of compromise WHY, exectly?"

            I can't speak for the GP, but I've noticed that many Slashdotters appear to have a flow chart in their head that has a single terminator labelled "And so, I have no choice but to continue pirating!". It's a given, of course, that the content industries creep along at a speed slower than we'd like (you younger folks can ask your parents what it was like living in the time period between the launch of the first affordable CD players and when a decent amount of content was available), but whenever the content industry does advance toward that point that we'd like, or even do exactly what we've been asking them to, we simply add more boxes to that flow chart in our head so that "And so, I have no choice but to continue pirating!" is still the sole terminator.

            One of these days I'm going to write a web-based excuse-o-meter that will give each user their own custom-tailored rationale for piracy. God forbid some people just admit that they're cheap.

        • by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @07:42PM (#15746993) Homepage Journal

          There's not a chance in hell I'm using my precious upstream bandwidth to help the MPAA member companies turn a profit.

          That's fine for you, but for good-quality, DRM-free downloads at a reasonable price, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

          I'd expect the distributor to run several seeds on fat pipes, so that my incoming bandwidth would be maxed out even if I was the only one downloading, and so that the distributor was providing the bulk of the bandwidth, but I can see using bittorrent to make sure that the download rate stays high during surges of interest in a title.

    • I agree with you, but, yes there is always a but, not everyone is as "lucky" as you to have a Wal-mart in the neighbourhood.
    • Actually, you do get to download the DVD artwork- cover, label, and tray inlay in PDF format. And to those who've speculated about the lack of bonus features, you get them, too. It's right there on the front page. But this is Slashdot, where we don't RTFA.
    • Ya, but the crap at Walmart is usually there because the movie was so terrible taht BestBuy and BlockBuster wont buy them and the studio's have an oversupply on their hands.

      So they dump them at Walmart for near at cost. Walmart is cheap for a reason.

      I assume you can at least get a good selection at the site. Also many newer hot titles are nearly $39 at most regular outlets.
      • Ahh, spoken like a true "person who doesn't shop at walmart." But it doesn't really matter whether the movies available at walmart are "good" or not. All that matters is whether the movie YOU want to see is sold there. It's not like paying $50 at bestbuy will guarantee your set of "Four creepy spinsters: uncomfortably intimate coffee talk - Season 1" will be any more watchable than the $35 version of same at Walmart.
      • I assume you can at least get a good selection at the site. Also many newer hot titles are nearly $39 at most regular outlets.

        In Canadian dollars? I've never paid anywhere that much unless it's like a premium edition with other stuff, which includes physical goodies that one can't just "burn" or print. Even then, I think Office Space with the stapler and mug was $25, I don't remember, I didn't buy that.

        Either that or you are shopping at stores that charge list price. Stay away from them. You can save 40
  • they mean an old jimmy cagney noir piece?

    or ooh! ooh! a hitchcock horror movie?!

    maybe a john ford western!

    this is so exciting!!!

    scans article...

    "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Barbershop and Scent of a Woman"

    vomit, puke... choke, cough... vomit, hurl
    • Lets be fair- Scent of a Woman was good, Al Pacino had a great performance in it. Puke on the other two, if you don't mind.
    • "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Barbershop and Scent of a Woman"

      Well rolling out a this service they knew they were not looking at the usual average demographic. That the target audience was restricted to people with broadband internet access, and further restricted to people with the interest and skills to do their own DVD burning. That they were targeting a particularly tech savvy and even geekish demographic.

      So in a typical display of the movie industry corporate brilliance in new technology and new me
  • Not Interested (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pcguru19 (33878)
    Why pay $9 for movies that are in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart already? Scent of a F-ing Woman????? Al Pachino owes me $7 for seeing that in the theater.

    I'd rather see the service go after recent 1st run movies at the same time the $1-$2 theaters get them. I'd pay $9 to download and burn a featureless DVD of a recent release(think X-Men 3) and still consider buying the commercial DVD is I liked the film enough. It would give the studios a revenue stream on a flick while they were working on the DVD title.
  • No resale value (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @05:19PM (#15746319)
    What with these things costing $9-$15 for old titles, they'll be almost as dear as buying the real thing from stores, or online. But, when you've had enough, you certainly won't be able to raise any beer money selling them on, and ebay will probably think you're selling a dodgy copy!
  • by xirtap (955611) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @05:19PM (#15746321)
    How are the tubes going to give me my internets when people are filling them with dvds!?
  • ...The site mentioned is at http://www.cinemanow.com/ [cinemanow.com]
    101 titles, but I don't know how much they cost because...
    "You must use Internet Explorer Version 6 or higher on a PC running Windows 2000 or later in order to use the CinemaNow service."
    Well that's great. Guess we can rule out smart windows users and linux users. Apparently /. readers need not apply.
  • $9 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Golias (176380) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @05:21PM (#15746329)
    Nine bucks for old movies that can be found in the bargain bins for $5 - $10 already is not really going to turn a lot of heads. When they start pushing out current releases with this model, then we'll see if the studios are serious about doing something like this.

    To me, it doesn't really look like a serious business strategy, so much as a pre-emptive strike by the studios against eventually being held over a barrel by Apple Computer the way the record labels are right now. They want the infrastructure for something like this in place early in the game, so they don't give up their power to make the rules.
  • the selection (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Benw5483 (731259)
    Those are some of the absolute worse movies to offer for an initial selection. I imagine the studios are just throwing on some shitty movies and when nobody downloads them they'll say...
    "well, that didn't work, we obviously shouldn't use this as a business model."
  • Hmmmm. (Score:5, Funny)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy&gmail,com> on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @05:23PM (#15746350) Journal
    Let's see:

    Cost compared to buying it from the store: Same
    Rights compared to buying it from the store: Less (Assuming DRM still works 5 minutes after they release it)

    So, let me get this straight...I'm going to waste hours and dollars downloading a movie that (I assume) can only be ripped to DVD, which will be less functional than same dvd bought from the store, though just as pricey.

    Tempting...If they include a free beating or tax audit, it'll be impossible to resist.
  • 5hrs?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by darcling (987237) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @05:24PM (#15746352) Homepage
    "The first part of the burning process is Converting the file into a format that can be burned. This can take anywhere from 2-5 hours and happens as you download the file."

    5 hrs during/after the download... think I'll pass. O, that and I'm a Linux user : P
    • Which most likely depends on the speed of your processor. So how much is 5 hours of my hard drive grinding and my processor running at full steam worth to me?
    • So these aren't even MPEG2 downloads? They cost juse as much or more than buying the regular DVD, they're lesser quality, and they don't come with a case? No way I'm buying them.
  • Microsoft Only? (Score:5, Informative)

    by tashanna (409911) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @05:27PM (#15746373)
    Just looking around their site, you can't do anything of substance (even find out how much the movies are) without IE 6.0 (or greater - yippie). Well, that isn't working too well for me. Be gentle, though - they seem excited about their new and shiny business model.

    - Tash
    Yippie - hybrids! [tashcorp.net]
  • "Prices start at about $US9..."

    Yeah, right... I'm gonna shell out $9 to download a copy, when for $5-10 I could purchase that same DVD at Wal-Mart and get a nice case and maybe even other goodies.

    If Hollywood actually wants this to catch on, they're going to need to set some realistic prices.

    If, on the other hand, this is only there for Hollywood to point to and say, "look, there is an alternative to illegal movie downloads," well then, well done! You've gone and created something that no one but th

    • Realistic media prices. Bend over consumer and accept our "cost savings will cost you more money" economy.

      VHS is more expensive then DVD (especially in europe where you need a seperate VHS version for every combo of sub/dub for every language) to produce, ship and stock so DVD is more expensive. Downloading saves production, shipping and stocking, so it is more expensive. Give it 2 or 3 more generations and you will have to pay the entire movie production costs if you want to see the trailer.

  • So if one company can do this, you can imagine that Apple wanting to sell movies through ITMS would want to do the same. How can they argue against it now?

    This really seems to take the wind out of the rumors of online rentals through ITMS. Who wants to deal with all the hassle of online movie rentals and watching them on a computer when you can burn a real DVD that you can use in any number of ways?

    I wonder if it would also include some extras, in other words be a true DVD image and not just a movie feed.
    • Folks need to realize the compression on some of these movies is going to be horrific.

      Most users out there burn DVD +-R dvds, no dual layers. One of the first things I do when I backup my copies is to remove all the crap like menus, FBI/Interpol warnings, Featurettes I couldn't give a rat's ass about. Then I have a movie that needs little to no compression.

      Also, I concur with the Walmart bin comments. Downloading and burning DVD's is a mid to upper level computer task. Gram and gramps at home aren't doi
      • The way I see this possibly working is if they sold really new releases - say movies while movies were still in the theater and there was no DVD yet available. Then some people might put up with the bother and buy a movie online to watch at home instead of the theater.

        Then if you really, really like it you might even buy the actual DVD with extras later.
      • This is great for backing up kids movies so they don't get damaged. Take off all the crap, and the DVD plays instantly, no navigating through menus, no FBI warnings telling me how bad of a person I am, and no soundtracks from languages I don't understand anyway. This is the way DVDs should be, with the menu button showing the menus only when you want to see the menus, and not otherwise.
  • by Nonillion (266505) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @05:34PM (#15746411)
    Until the telcos deliver on their 6+ year old promise that I was supposed to have a 45+M/bit sync fiber connection by now; I think I'll pass and just drive to the store and buy the movie instead (it would be quicker). It would be nice however to be able to download some old movies like 'Quatermas and The Pit'. But if Hollywood still insists on crippling it with DRM/CSS I'll just go somewhere else.
    • Well if only we had net neutrality ended and regulation. Then we can really get all high speed we want. While we are at it we should just let the teleco's do whatever they want and not be regulated by the FCC and we need them to have the ability to lobby whomever they wish for as much as they want.

      After all these are acomplished I am sure we would have nice higher speed access for alot cheaper.

      After all, the telecom industry said so as well as any republican. The market will make it so and the government is
  • I'd only be interested in this service if they would offer movies that I couldn't get on DVD otherwise, such as content in widescreen that I used to be able to see in pan-and-scan on HBO like (in no particular order) Looker [imdb.com], TAG: The Assassination Game [imdb.com], Night of the Comet [imdb.com], I Come in Peace [imdb.com] (preferably over the its retitled version Dark Angel), Electric Dreams [imdb.com], Deadly Friend [imdb.com], Moontrap [imdb.com] (better than Virus [imdb.com]), Terminal Entry [imdb.com], and The Squeeze [imdb.com]. Only a couple of those have I gotten off TV, and they still require rem
  • by Xeth (614132)
    Just briefly looking at the list, it seems to include Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Syriana, the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie...
  • by isecore (132059) <<ten.erocesi> <ta> <erocesi>> on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @05:41PM (#15746464) Homepage
    I think this thing is just like all the other "downloadable movie"-sites. It's purposefully broken (in this case overpriced) in order to drive customers off, either to the traditional go-buy-a-disc-at-walmart or go-download-some-warez. Because most customers want convenience, they'll of course scoff at this offering and continue to download Xvids from the local bittorrent-tracker.

    Hence, MPAA et al can claim that "our potential customers WANT to pirate movies, we tried but it didn't work, woe be us!" and the retarded justice system will let them continue their crusade against evolution, since the industry has "proven" that downloadable movies "don't work".

    It was the same with the other sites that offered "downloadable" movies. The movies were heavily tied down with DRM (which prevented them from being burned to DVD or moved to another computer), customers were expected to provide the bandwidth for the other customers, and the movies were horribly expensive - usually twice the price of a dvd in the bargain bin, but without the flexibility of a DVD, without the extras, and with lesser audio/video quality.

    *adjusts tinfoil-hat*
  • "While the current of offerings seems to be just the dregs studio execs hope to expand the list quickly"

    Where does this tidbit come from? Not the article. Nor has the behavior of studio execs in the past suggested any hurry to get their valuable IP onto the Net.

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @06:09PM (#15746615) Journal

    There are three ways I know of making a normal audio CD impossible to pirate/play on a computer:

    1. Mess with the Table of Contents. I believe this [dontbuycds.org] is an example of a ToC that has somehow been changed so that computers don't see it as an audio CD. Unfortunately, it would also probably affect mp3 cd players and other, similar devices which are not computers, cannot possibly enable piracy, but still read the ToC and the data areas so they can find mp3 files.
    2. Mess with the audio data. There have been some clever attempts at changing the audio such that it sounds normal on a normal CD player, but it has annoying pops and hisses when played on a computer, or ripped to mp3. Unfortunately, this also has the same problems -- devices could always have the same problem reading the disc as computers.
    3. Install a rootkit or other evilness in the autorun. This can be countered by one or more of the following:
      • Turning off autorun
      • Ripping on anything that isn't a Windows OS
      • Suing the shit out of Sony for abusing our computers
      While the rootkit method will have the least false positives, it will also cause the most damage, and it's the easiest to circumvent.

    I suspect that any method which allows you to burn your own DVD, even if it'll let us use single-layer media, is going to use one of the above retarded methods for attempting to prevent copy protection. They could try using Blu-Ray, except that Blu-Ray media isn't cheap enough yet.

    The real question is, will the downloads be full DVD quality, and if not, will they be DRM'd before they get to the DVD? In other words, could I download these using their software (undoubtably they'll require software), then copy them over the network and play them on my Linux box?

    If not, then this will likely be used to say that people will always pirate, no matter how cheap/convenient they make it. They could take a hint from the pirates, though. You can't make it much more convenient than an un-DRM'd BitTorrent download, and it's certainly cheaper to publish that way.

    Here's my conditions for using this service or a service like it:

    • Saturate my connection, whether you use BitTorrent or HTTP.
    • Use a standard protocol -- BitTorrent or HTTP. Please don't use FTP.
    • Charge a reasonable amount (I think they're doing that now).
    • Let the files themselves be un-DRM'd and in a standard format -- I'd love h.264 in an avi, mkv, even mov. Note that h.264 != high def.
    • If you give me subtitles, let them be soft subtitles.
    • If I must download commentary and special features, they should be no more than 20% of the total download size.

    I'd like high def with lots of extras, but that's not necessary. The above list is, though. Miss even one of those and I'll just rent them and rip them, the way I always do.

    • Use a standard protocol -- BitTorrent or HTTP. Please don't use FTP.

      Why not FTP? I personally prefer it over HTTP for downloading files, rather than being confined to how the web server and browser want to handle the directory listing and file transfer. (Don't get me started on web servers that transfer .bz2 or even .gz in text mode...)

  • Just came over from CinemaNow and it does not play well with firefox.
  • Free Movies (Score:3, Insightful)

    by onkelonkel (560274) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @06:43PM (#15746758)
    Just went to the site and had a look at their list of free movies. That's 5 minutes of my life I will never get back. Page after page of Z-list crapola and not one (NOT ONE !!!111) movie I have ever heard of. It must have taken a lot of work to come up with a list of movies this bad.

    "Bad beyond all infinte possible dimensions of badness"

    Enough suck to pull small planets out of orbit.
  • "You must use Internet Explorer Version 6 or higher on a PC running Windows 2000 or later in order to use the CinemaNow service."

    Guess that means no download to DVD service for me... =\
  • by Danga (307709) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @07:36PM (#15746972)
    From the CinemaNow Webpage: "To watch the movie or burn it to DVD, you will need CinemaNow's easy-to-use DVD Burner software"

    So it is not just an easy distributable ISO that you download. I can see how they can prevent making more than one copy from the image file since you must use their own burning software but I fail to see what would stop a person from making a copy of the newly burned DVD. I also would be curious as to how they unforce the one copy limit, the only way that makes sense to me is to force the user to be online and do some type of validating with their servers, otherwise just making a copy of the file before burning it would be able to get around the one copy limit since they would have to edit the file in some way to recognize it as "used".

    Either way, if the resulting disc is playable in a standalone DVD player then there is no way to prevent the movie from being lifted off the disc. This model might look good to a suit who doesn't know any better because they think, "This is great, even if the image file is shared over the internet it can only be used once!", and while that is true they will probably overlook the fact that people can still copy and create images of the burned disc just as easily as before.
  • And uses this service to offer:
    1.Movies and TV not currently proffitable to offer on DVD (because not enough people would buy it to cover the production, marketing and distribution)
    and 2.Movies and TV available on DVD but has such a limited distribution because no stores want to carry it.
  • You can't actually download the movies directly - you have to download some proprietary program for a specific, proprietary OS/platform and presumable *it* downloads the movies.

    Even if I would remotely consider using Windows for anything, I wouldnt download executable.

    Hint to people - 'downloading' something that would be considered data (which includes movies and music) should consist of downloading (gasp!) *data* (eg http://yoursite/whatever/something.mpg [yoursite] or something.iso or something.mp3) - NOT download
  • This won't work (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Simonetta (207550) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @02:12AM (#15748140)
    This is just another foolish idea that the desperate community of download entrepreneurs are trying to get past the cement-heads of the MPAA. All they can get currently are cinema dregs. No one is going to want pay to download junk when they can download good quality DIVx titles from the unlicensed distributors for free. And the entrepreneurs need big profitable download numbers to get the studios to offer popular big name titles. This is another 'zombie' company; already dead and doesn't know it yet.

        So why would the studios want paid downloads? They can distribute DVDs inexpensively and profitably to the video outlets that have proliferated widely in the US and developed world. And they generally get the cost of the film product covered through the initial theatre release (where 90% of the box office goes to the studio for the first few weeks of release and 50% of the viewers chose to see the new movie). What does the studio have to gain from paid downloads? Pratically nothing.

        Paid downloads are good for films that don't get wide DVD or theatre release. Brilliant little foreign films, etc... But if noone knows about them, then there is no demand. No demand means no paid downloads. Eight dollars isn't cheap and three hours of download time is a high opportunity cost to pay for a bozo film. Three hours spend downloading a turkey is three hours spent that wasn't downloading a good film. It's so much easier just to go to the DVD store in the local supermarket and pick up a six month old title for much less cost in dollars and download time.

        Nor could you convince foreign directors to release their films in the USA or other countries as downloads. These guys are very traditional and want their films to be seen in theaters; they don't even like DVDs. The more that the download entrepeneurs are able to pressure them to license their 'vanity' films for download, the less likelyhood that they will be pressed into DVDs. They will be limited to their local national market and whatever government subsidies that they can hussle from their local cultural ministers. Which means boring films, which means fewer people taking a chance on downloading them regardless of the reviews in specialized film magazines.

        All in all this is a dumb idea. The only thing that will work is the only thing that is currently working. Which is people crafting their favorite new films into DIVx format 'illegally' and posting them for download on the P2P sites. Eventually the MPAA will have to come to terms with the P2P community, on the terms of the P2P community, and accept whatever residual fees that the P2P community considers it appropriate for the studios to have. In the same manner that the RIAA came to a partial truce with the P2P community with iTunes.

        It will take a long time because these guys are exceptionally thick in the head department. Which means we have to wait for a lot of dumb zombie companies like this one to fail before any real progress gets made.

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