January 13, 2006

New player in DVD burning kiosk business

Sonic Solutions announces AuthorScript software at CES. This is already being used on kiosks (Polar Frog).

Sonic offers burning solutions
Amid growing interest in on-demand DVDs
By Paul Sweeting 1/12/2006

JAN. 12 | As the studios and other program suppliers search for incremental sales in the face of flattening DVD growth, giving consumers and retailers the ability to download and burn their own movie discs is getting serious attention.

The latest sign of growing interest in the idea comes from Novato, Calif.-based Sonic Solutions, a leading provider of DVD-burning software and professional authoring tools. Earlier this month, the company announced the release of its AuthorScript DVD on Demand software development kit. The new software package is designed to allow program suppliers to implement so-called managed-burning services in industrial, retail kiosk, PC and set-top box environments.

No major studio has yet licensed the Sonic software, but set-top box makers have been signing on in anticipation of providing cable operators and other service providers with a managed burning option.

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At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, Sonic announced a deal with Scientific-Atlanta to incorporate DVD on Demand technology into new S-A boxes to allow consumers to burn DVDs of programs recorded on the boxs internal digital video recorder drive. It also reached a deal with chipmaker Broadcom to include DVD on Demand in set-top boxes powered by Broadcom technology.

Electronic DVD sell-through requires meticulous integration of Hollywood content creation, electronic distribution and DVD burning technology, and there is no other company that can bring to bear the combination of across-the-board expertise and trusted industry relations needed to make this work, Sonic senior VP Jim Taylor said. With AuthorScript DVD on Demand, we are applying our experience and innovation to expand DVDs versatility and create a profitable new channel for the industry.

Taylor acknowledged that widespread adoption of the technology by the major studios is contingent on all parties agreeing on a digital rights management system, but said those discussions were underway.

Late last year, Sonic and Microsoft proposed a system for encrypting downloaded files using the same Content Scrambling System used on commercial DVDs before the file is burned to a disc.

The latest round of negotiations over how to implement that system were held in Los Angeles in the week following CES.

Others are not waiting for an agreement on DRM.

At the Adult Entertainment Expo running concurrent with CES, Polar Frog Digital unveiled its MediaToad retail burning kiosk, which is based in part on Sonic technology.

The kiosk allows customers to create and burn their own adult DVDs from clips either stored on site or downloaded from a server.

Also at CES, Image Entertainment subsidiary Egami Media announced a deal with Lighting Content Distribution to make Egami programming available for burning at retail kiosks, using Lightnings proprietary technology.

The instant gratification provided by on-demand solutions levels the retail playing field and will make retail floor space limitations a non-issue, Image CEO Martin Greenwald said. While the smaller independents and chain stores will benefit from the virtual inventory a kiosk provides, even larger retailers are looking for ways to deal with the thousands of DVD titles available today.

Video Business Online - 1/12/2006 - Sonic offers burning solutions - CA6299091

Posted by keefner at January 13, 2006 11:16 AM