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Qflix brings CSS to download-to-burn DVDs: a new day has dawned

Evan Blass
January 4, 2007
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It's been a long time coming, but the major Hollywood studios have finally agreed to amend the CSS (content scrambling system, found on store-bought DVDs) licensing restrictions to include support for both commercial and private download-to-burn options. First mentioned last summer, this new agreement uses technology from Sonic Solutions called Qflix (initially adopted by Movielink) to slap that good ol' digital lock on discs that consumers burn either on their PCs or at in-store kiosks like the ones Wal-Mart and other big box retailers have been planning for some time now. Of course you can already burn downloaded flicks to DVD through CinemaNow's aptly-titled "Burn to DVD" service, but compatibility issues have relegated this option to merely a stopgap solution. While Qflix burns should be readable by any old player that supports CSS, the downside is that new media and -- in some cases -- new drives will be required to perform this neat little trick (some current burners can apparently be made Qflix-compatible through firmware upgrades). Besides the studios, other companies that are down with Qflix include disc manufacturer Verbatim, video-on-demand provider Akimbo, your friendly neighborhood Walgreens, and of course, Movielink. It's not clear when consumers will start seeing this these new devices and kiosks in the wild, but rest assured that you'll soon have a way to spend those 10 to 15 minutes waiting for your prescription that doesn't involve sitting next to a bunch of sick people in a germ-ridden pleather chair.

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