07. 21. 2006
Apple should sell DVDs
Attendees to Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) are expecting to see new iPods and new PowerMacs, but Think Secret is reporting that Apple is quietly preparing to roll out a feature length movie store. Rumors have Disney, Universal Studios, Paramount, and Warner Bros already signed for distribution deals, and the rest of the major studios are theoretically in talks.
Apple has a history of favoring DRM to restrict usage of digital properties, and their movie implementation will likely be no different. The industry has tried a few different approaches without long term success: Movies could be rented for a specific time period, say three days, after which point they would cease to play. Another option is that the videos would be restricted based on the number of times played.
I don't think that Apple will use either one of those restrictions. Barring Front Row, those types of DRM don't fit with my jet-set digital hub Netflix lifestyle.
My bet is that Apple will move into the download-to-burn service. D2B is a rental option that lets the digital purchaser burn DVD's for playback on home theater systems. Cinema Now and Movielink, the two major players in the downloadable movie game, announced this week that they will soon allow consumers to make DVD copies of their downloaded content. That's a huge step forward for an industry that has always resisted new technology over piracy concerns.
Consumers love choice, and Apple would be uniquely positioned to offer the soundtrack, the digital copy and the burnable hard copy at the same time. One purchase could provide me with a copy for watching on my computer, a DVD to watch in the living room, and an iPod copy for when I'm on the go. I bet that the first company to sell ultimate portability is going to win the media wars.