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Digiboo Begins Flash-Drive Movie Service

15 Mar, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Digiboo this week began offering kiosk-based digital movie rentals and purchases stored on finger-size portable USB flash drives for airline travelers.

Santa Monica, Calif.-based Digiboo, which launched service at Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport, Portland International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, enables users to download up to two feature-length movies in about 60 seconds from kiosks onto a USB 2.0/3.0 drive, which then is inserted into a laptop with a Windows-based operating system for playback.

Titles, which are updated weekly and include most studio new releases, rent for $3.99 each or can be purchased for $14.99 with a credit card. Rentals can be viewed up to 30 days after purchase, with a 48-window once the title has been started — standard usage rules for transactional video-on-demand.

Apple-based laptops, tablets or iPhone with proprietary Mac OS X operating systems are not yet compatible. Digiboo said its service should support Android and portable media devices by June.

“It’s a convenience,” Blake Thomas, chief marketing officer with Digiboo, told the Minneapolis Star/Tribune. “A customer doesn’t have to plan ahead or to have ever downloaded one of our movies before. He or she can make the decision at the airport, just like buying M&Ms or magazines.”

Airport-based movie rentals isn’t a new concept. InMotion Entertainment currently offers portable disc players (for rent), movies and digital kiosks (via partnership with NCR Corp. and MOD Systems) in more than 30 airports.

Increased attention on Flash-based movies prompted Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment last month to form the Secure Content Storage Association (SCSA) LLC, which has members that include SanDisk and Irvine, Calif.-based hard drive manufacturer Western Digital.

The studios also bowed “Project Phoenix,” the cloud-based UltraViolet initiative enables consumers to download copy-protected HD movies and TV shows to local and portable hard drives — including USB flash drives, SD cards and solid state disk drives (SSDs) — and then access content online or offline on a connected TV, laptop, Blu-ray player, tablet computer, mobile phone or video game console.

Digiboo, which launched in 2008 by former MGM Home Entertainment executives Thomas, Richard Cohen and Jeff Karbowiak, said the kiosks can accommodate about 1,000 movie files.

The company said it received several millions in funding from Los Angeles-based venture capital group Norby Corp., which will have an equity stake in the privately held kiosk service. Initial funding came from actor Morgan Freeman’s Revelations Entertainment.

The company plans to install 7,000 kiosks, which are made by Japanese-based PFU Limited, nationwide during the next three years.


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