Technology for legally burning copy-protected content

Tips on burning copy-protected content

It's ironic: The copy protection created to stop the illegal copying of DVDs is the same technology that has prevented users from legally downloading paid-for content and then burning it to a DVD for playback in their living rooms. At the time the copy-protection rules were created, they had no provision for user recording of protected content to a recordable DVD, as opposed to a factory-replicated DVD-ROM.

All of that changed about a month ago. The US DVD Copy Control Association passed an amendment to the Content Scramble System (CSS) -- the copy protection used on commercial DVDs -- specifying a standard for recording electronic downloads to recordable DVD media. The standard, dubbed Qflix, is still in its infancy, but already a movement is afoot to bring this technology to drugstores, and perhaps even to a PC desktop near you.

The P's and Q's of Qflix

Jim Taylor, general manager of Sonic Solutions' advanced technology group and author of DVD Demystified, has been spearheading efforts to get Qflix off the ground. The process of making this standard a reality, he says, began a few years ago.

"Everything is ready to go -- all of the licenses are in place, the format specifications are ready to go. The tricky part is that the Content Scramble System in place on movie DVDs was originally designed to prevent its use on recordable media. So we had to do something that reversed the original intent of the CSS format," explains Taylor. The concept of Qflix, he adds, "combines the best of digital delivery with the physical medium [of DVD]."

The amendment enables three distinct, new possibilities for getting content. Imagine downloading a movie or TV show (CSS-protected, of course), and then either playing it on your PC or transferring it to a DVD so you can enjoy it on any DVD player in your home. Or, how about going into a local shop -- warehouse club, supermarket, or superstore -- and ordering a disc from a sales kiosk, much as you might order digital photo prints today? Those are two of the most likely scenarios by which consumers of video content will directly benefit from Qflix.

The third scenario impacts users in another way: You can expect to see more obscure and niche catalog content offered for sale. Because the new rules enable manufacturing on demand, retailers don't have to sit with inventory on hand, but rather can obtain a title quickly whenever someone orders it.

"This new way of distributing content -- factory, store, and home -- makes it vastly easier for all kinds of new content to become available to the home," says Taylor. "Sports, cooking, home improvement. There are a lot of people out there who would be very interested in content that meets a specific need."

For a more concrete example of how you or I might benefit, look no further than the example of entertainment giant Warner Bros. Jim Wuthrich, senior vice president of digital distribution at Warner Bros., notes that of the company's 6600 films, only 1500 have been released on DVD. At any given moment, only 300 of Warner's 1500 DVD titles may be available on a store shelf.

"For the deeper catalog film, it may not justify space on a store shelf," Wuthrich says. For Warner's massive television library, the story is even more dramatic: Of 50,000 series episodes, only 5000 have been released on DVD.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?