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CinemaNow Secures Copy-Protected Movie Downloads

6 Nov, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

CinemaNow Inc. has cleared a final hurdle, allowing it to legally sell copy-protected Hollywood movies and music videos for burn-to-DVD.

The electronic sellthrough pioneer will utilize Sonic Solutions' Qflix and Roxie Venue movie download technologies to enable users to burn CSS (Content Scramble System) encrypted movies to blank DVDs playable on standard DVD players and PCs.

Major movie downloads and television programming is available from $1.99 to $19.95.

The DVD Copy Control Association in September approved for the first time the ability for commercial vendors and consumers to create CSS copy-protected for playback on standard DVDs.

Most major studio movie DVDs are CSS-protected.

Founded in 1999, CinemaNow has content deals with more than 250 licensors, including all the major studios.

CinemaNow and rival Movielink in 2006 ushered in the concept of burning Hollywood movies to DVD with separate anti-piracy protections.

CinemaNow used a proprietary safeguard based on fluxDVD, a German technology used for secure online DVD distribution. Movielink uses Sonic Solutions technology.

Regardless, the nascent movie download industry has been slow to generate consumer traction.

Blockbuster Inc., which acquired Movielink in August, last month disclosed in a regulatory filing that the download service had lost $10.1 million in the first half of 2007 on revenue of just $1.98 million.

Jim Taylor, SVP and GM of Sonic Solutions' advanced technology group, said the deal with CinemaNow should give the online video distribution industry a shot in the arm.

“We are confident that our partnership with CinemaNow will fuel the burn-to-DVD business and provide content owners with a new, valuable distribution platform,” Taylor said.

He might be right.

CinemaNow last week announced it had partnered with Samsung Electronics to begin offering downloadable content playable on the consumer electronics manufacturer's P2 portable media player.

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