A couple of days ago, I discussed the announcement by the film download service Movielink that they had licensed software to allow downloaded films to be burnt to DVD. Of course, there was still the tiny little hurdle of getting the studios to go along with their plan. Maybe by the end of the year.
Enter CinemaNow. They announced yesterday that they have not only licensed DVD-burning software and gotten a studios to take a flyer on the concept, but they have actually started offering the service. Naturally, there are issues.
- It only works with Windows XP running Windows Media Player 10, and CinemaNow’s proprietary software.
- The whole process can take up to 5 hours. (I still don’t think that this is a huge issue: do something else while you wait for the download and burn. Duh.)
- Only about 100 titles, none of them new releases. And the prices are too high for the Long Tail product: I’m not sure that I want to pay $15 bucks to download and burn Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie. Especially when it costs very very little to stick a copy of that digital file on CinemaNow’s servers.
- You can only burn to DVD one time, so you better hope to god that your store-bought DVD-R is a good one!!
These are not, of course, minor quibbles. Given everything that can go wrong with this process, especially as compared to purchasing the same DVDs from Best Buy or Amazon, you can see why that there are people who suggest that the studios want this distribution method to fail. The problem, of course, is that people will download and burn films anyways: the only question is whether or not they do it legally and cheaply or illegally and even more cheaply.