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Sonic's Qflix licensing process demonstrated
Qflix to pave the way for movies on the cheap as well as unlimited supply for retailers

Sonic, the parent company of Roxio, today announced what it calls a licensing program designed to legally allow users to download content from online providers, burn the content onto DVDs, and watch on set-top players. The program, dubbed Qflix, provides Content Scramble System (CSS) protection for high-quality content.

The Qflix system requires support from both media manufacturers and drive manufacturers. Online digital content providers will also have to be Qflix-enabled, as will the necessary software. When a user downloads a movie for example, the movie has a CSS tag which is recognized by both the client software as well as the drive. When burned, the movie will only be able to be played back on the PC it was downloaded on as well as a standard DVD player. Users will not be able to copy the burned DVD.

The system is broken up into two forms: one for professionals called Qflix Pro, and a standard version for consumers. Right now, Sonic has a host of supporters that include both movie studios as well as hardware OEMs. Plextor, Mitsubishi and Verbatim are just some of the leading manufacturers that have voted "yes" for Qflix.

Warner Brothers studios is also commited to supporting the standard. Chris Cookson, president of Warner Bros. said "Warner Bros. is committed to giving consumers the widest range of choices to access our content in ways that recognize and protect its value."

According to Sonic's own press release:
The Qflix technology and intellectual property program empowers for the first time factory, in-store, and in-home systems for on-demand, electronic sell-through of movies and video programs that can be recorded to DVD with Content Scramble System (CSS) encryption. As the industry-approved content protection mechanism used on mass-produced discs and incorporated into all DVD players, CSS has been deemed essential by major content providers for the on-demand digital distribution of premium entertainment.
One interesting aspect of Sonic's Qflix system is support at the retail level. Sonic, in conjunction with various retailers, plans to offer DVD burning kiosks that will allow users to burn their own DVDs for a fraction of the cost of a retail packed movie. This will also allow retailers to save on actual physical stock. If a store runs out of a particular movie, users can simply burn copies from a virtual library.

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What about
By jak3676 on 1/5/2007 10:24:54 AM , Rating: 2
Someone stop me if this has already been done - but I expect to see proof of concept to circumvent the encryption within a few months. Is there any mass produced media encryption out there that hasn't been hacked?

I believe the article and some other sources I've seen on this mentioned that your hardware would need to support CSS for this to work. As is it a free or very low cost license, most hardware will soon support this if it doesn't already - but that's how they limit it to one computer or a player that has CSS protection built in. If you bought all your DVD drives years ago, you'll probably need to upgrade.

Still unless they limit this to players with only HDCP output, it will still be simple enough to the do the "analog gap" transfers by just plugging the output from your player into a recorder. I suppose this does limit quality a bit - but at least I can still get a copy over to my old laptop.

Overall I'm happy to studio, hardware and distribution support for something like this. It looks like it will only lower costs for consumers and distributors.

RE: What about
By TomZ on 1/5/2007 10:51:36 AM , Rating: 2
I agree - it will be broken - but still, the vast majority of consumers will not be downloading crack/hack programs for that. I'm sure they don't expect everyone to be honest, in order for their business model to make sense. And besides, the DVD encryption's already been broken, so it's not like the content would be available unprotected for the first time due to this.

RE: What about
By OrSin on 1/5/2007 11:42:53 AM , Rating: 2
Companys know all DRM will be hacker at some piont. All they hope is to make it hard enoguh that the "typical" user will not fell like ding ti and just buy the product instead.
For the most part that is true for those watching DVD on a dvd player. The reason for the delay in downloading movies, is the "typical user that wants to DL a movie is much more savy then the dvd player own. The studios know we can figure out teh hacker and do it so easy most of us will do it. Not the same % of the DVD players owner. Basicly if we was dumber we have had DL movies along time ago. Don't fault the studios for knowing that we will rip them off and not giving us the means to do it.

RE: What about
By Zapp Brannigan on 1/5/2007 2:16:19 PM , Rating: 2
CSS isn't anything new, it's the same copy protection thats in all standard dvds. All dvd players will be able to play the burned disks, as long as they can play burned disks. ;)

dvd decrypter or dvd shrink (among others) will easily be able to wipe the CSS protection from the burned dvd but i'm not to sure they would be able to defeat the files you download.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

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