CinemaNow to Offer Burnable Film Downloads

CinemaNow will soon start selling downloads of popular films that can be transferred, or "burned," to blank DVDs for use with home DVD players, and such Hollywood heavies as Walt Disney’s Buena Vista Home Entertainment and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment have already signed on to provide content, the Associated Press reports via the New York Post.

CinemaNow’s “Burn to DVD” offering is expected to go live Wednesday, and upward of 100 films will be available for download including Scent of a Woman featuring Al Pacino and Barbershop, with Ice Cube, according to the AP.

On Monday, rival Web movie download service Movielink said it licensed technology from Sonic Solutions that will allow its customers to burn movie downloads to DVD, though it did not specify when the service will be operational.

In the past, CinemaNow users couldn’t watch film downloads on their televisions unless they connected them to computers, the AP reports.

Curt Marvis, CinemaNow chief executive officer, said, “Our customers will experience a true innovation in home entertainment, the ability to obtain a DVD in the comfort of their living room,” according to the AP.

Hollywood studios have been hesitant to adopt the online download sales medium for films due to piracy concerns and the possible cannibalization of retail stores sales, but advances in encryption and additional digital rights protection technologies have led them to experiment with the concept.

CinemaNow currently has license to distribute only a relatively small number of older film titles, but Mavis said newer, more popular movies will be offered once the studios gain some confidence in the system’s reliability, the AP reports.

Benjamin Feingold, president of Sony’s home entertainment division, told the AP, “It’s a test of the distribution and security architecture,” and he agreed that studios would license more content once the system is vetted.

The company will offer films starting at $8.99 each, and they’ll include all the features that a DVD purchased in a retail store would, according to the AP, though once a copy is burned, its quality will be slightly lower than an official studio DVD. CinemaNow’s film downloads will also be able to be transferred to DVD only once, but customers will be able to repeatedly watch the movies on their computers, according to the AP.

In addition to content from Disney’s Buena Vista and Sony Pictures, CinemaNow will offer films from MGM Worldwide Digital Media, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Lionsgate and Sundance Channel, the AP reports.

CinemaNow’s DVD-burning technology employs Germany-based ACE’s fluxDVD technology, according to the AP.

Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.

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