Zediva thought it had things all figured out. Allow users to rent a DVD player in a data center someplace with a hot new release movie in the slot, then stream them the output from the DVD player. Zediva claimed that was no different than the consumer renting the disc themselves. The courts didn’t agree and have now upheld a preliminary injunction and shut Zediva down for good. The company has also been ordered to pay the MPAA $1.8 million.
It was a war on two fronts that eventually drove Blockbuster into bankruptcy. Netflix was on one side, and Redbox on the other. Redbox has long been a favorite of thrifty film-buffs with its super-cheap $1 per-night movie rentals. Unfortunately, the party is over, or is at least getting a little less raucous. Redbox is upping that DVD charge to $1.20 a night starting October 31st.
You could be forgiven if you've never heard of Amazon's Disc+ program. Basically, when you buy select movies on DVD or Blu-ray, you can get a downloadable copy made immediately available to you. The problem was selection. The feature was only available on about 300 movies when it launched last year. Today Amazon has announced a massive expansion of Disc+ to over 10,000 titles.
The process is automatic when a selected movie is purchased. The digital copy appears in the user's Amazon Video On Demand folder. So it isn't a free and clear copy that you can watch anywhere, but there are over 200 Amazon VOD compatible devices out there. Would this sort of feature make you more likely to buy from Amazon?
Gamers prefer physical media, eh? That's what their mouths said anyway, but their wallets are singing a slightly different tune. The NPD Group – who's finally tracking digital PC sales – found that 48 percent of unit sales on the PC in 2009 were of the digital variety. That accounts for 36 percent of dollar sales, which is a smaller portion, yeah, but still a pretty sizable slice of the pie.
Granted, that still doesn't include the mountains – if not entire continents – of cash that have sprung up around games like Farmville, which is on track to rake in a whopping $1 billion in 2010. If nothing else, this proves that the PC marches to the beat of its own drum, and analyst groups are going to have to march a bit faster if they want to keep up.
Also, if you're interested, the report includes a list ranking the most popular digital videogame storefronts. “The winner may surprise you” is what we'd say if we were pathological liars. Here's a hint, though: it doesn't -- and never will -- rhyme with "Splames For Grindows."
Sharp today introduced two new Aquos Blu-Ray disc recorders -- BD-HDW700 and BD-HDW70 -- into the Japanese market, both of which support the new BDXL format.
The BDXL format allows for far greater storage than with regular Blu-ray discs, up to 100GB on triple-layer discs (compared to 50GB), and up to 128GB on quadruple-layer discs.
Sharp's drives are the first in the world to support both recording and playback of BDXL media, and also come with 1TB (HDW70) and 2TB (HDW700) of hard drive capacity. Both drives will be available in Japan on July 30, 2010, with no word on when the company plans to ship these stateside.
If you live in the fast lane of bleeding-edge tech, you probably believe physical media’s on its deathbed – just a couple coughs and a close-eyed “ahhh” away from casting off its mortal coil. That impassioned eulogy you’ve been working on, however, might be a little premature, according to a survey from Ipsos MediaCT. The survey, which fell into the hands of over a thousand people, found that a whopping 64 percent of gamers still like their media the way we like our women: tangible.
“I believe the preference for physical discs amongst next gen gamers reflects the potential value they derive from the pre-owned market, which is holding up the preference for physical – this is unlike the music and film markets,” said Ipsos MediaCT director Ian Bramley.
The same survey found that music and film’s digital rejection rates were at 45 and 51 percent, respectively.
“Physical games discs have a long and well-established history, which is a deep mindset to change – particularly when gamers build a physical collection as they fear losing digital versions. And in-store browsing is also important to buyers,” Bramley added.
Gamers’ fears, we might add, aren’t unjustified. Multiplayer server shutdowns have become commonplace on consoles, and PC DRM has – in some cases – turned “ownership” of a game into a total farce. The digital revolution is one of convenience, no doubt, but at some point, we’re forced to ask: how much are we willing to give up for convenience’s sake?