DVD Kiosks the future of DVD rentals and another notch of support for duplication products

With discussions being tossed about as to the future of optical media as a viable medium, an announcement was released recently that I feel is a strong advocate for the longevity of the optical disc and duplication products. Walgreens issued a statement that they will soon adopt a line of DVD kiosks that will duplicate movies on demand for the consumer. The DVD Copy Control Association, made up of a group of movie studios and hardware manufacturers that govern the copy protection systems for DVD’s known as Content Scramble System (CSS), helped spur this project on by broadening their standards for licensing their software.

In doing so, the CSS software no longer is relegated solely to the replication market and can be used under controlled circumstances in the duplication market. Thus retail stores and online retailers can now store thousands of movie titles on hard drives which can be burned onto a physical disc at the customer’s request. This not only frees up the retailer from keeping inventory of the titles on physical disc, but also encourages retailers to offer a broader selection of titles. Walgreens may be the flag ship superstore to adopt this technology, but it’s certain to catch on with heavyweights in the retail and video rental market such as Wal-Mart and Blockbuster as an example.

These kiosks not only enhance the DVD market but also further qualify duplication equipment as a valid consumer electronic product for the future. For years replication was able to keep duplication as a second class citizen in the world of reproduction for data on discs by trumpeting their stronger playback compatibility. When that no longer became a factor as DVD recordable discs (DVD-R or DVD+R) now boast playback compatibility nearly equal to replicated discs, replication held on to the fact they had the ability to insert the CSS copy protection onto discs scarring content producers into foregoing duplication for higher run replication projects. Now that duplication will be able to offer CSS or alternative forms of copy protection, the duplicator is becoming more and more a viable solution for content providers of any size.

Considering a duplicator is drastically less expensive than the equipment needed for replication, not to mention dramatically smaller, duplication equipment is gaining ground in all avenues of life where companies or individuals need to store content on discs. In addition the duplicator has a much smaller learning curve and widely available to the masses. Duplicators of today will allow the retailers of tomorrow to become more fiscally responsible and innovative in offering a wider selection of content for product stored on optical discs!

Blu-ray taking another step toward universal acceptance

One prohibiting factor in the wider acceptance of the Blu-ray recordable discs (BD-R) is the great expense for the disc manufacturers to add new lines dedicated to the production of the BD-R disc. With the market for BD-R discs slowed by the public’s hesitation to adopt a hi-def disc format between Blu-ray and HD DVD, it’s a significant gamble for a company to invest the funds required to create a BD-R line when the return on investment could be prolonged to say the least.

Recently, a joint venture between Pioneer and Mitsubishi, successfully developed the ability to successfully use an organic dye film to create the BD-R discs. This innovation will help lower the overall cost for media manufacturers to create BD-R lines and in turn lower the cost of BD-R discs to the end user. At an average retail cost of $15 per disc for a single layer 25GB BD-R, it’s much higher than even the DVD9 8.5GB DVD+R which typically retails for $1.50 ~ $2.00.

With this organic dye, media manufacturers can convert their standard DVD-R and CD-R lines to BD-R lines with minor alterations as apposed to major retooling. This is a huge accomplishment for the BD camp by removing one of the most prohibitive factors for media manufacturers to produce BD-R discs. Combine this with the fact that HD DVD still has yet to release a recordable drive and hence has no recordable media on the market, Blu-ray will continue to make bigger waves in the duplication market and smaller production studios. The battle still wages between HD DVD and Blu-ray, but as far as the duplication market is concerned, Blu-ray is widening the gap toward universal acceptance.