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Hollywood chiefs talk downloads and HD

June 5th, 2006 · No Comments

The fifth annual Home Entertainment Summit, organized by trade journal Home Media Retailing, generated some revealing quotes from the movers and shakers in the movie software industry.
“We must not fear change. We must seek it and embrace it,” declared Universal Studios Home Entertainment President Craig Kornblau.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Prez David Bishop, confirmed that movie downloads were always going to be part of the home video landscape. “Music business executives wanted it to go away, we knew it wasn’t,” he said.
Bob Chapek, boss of Buena Vista Home Entertainment, revealed that a quarter of every high-level studio executive’s time is now spent looking at new delivery options, such as the internet and HD media.
Much of the confidence of the studios in downloading is down to the rigorous DRM (digital rights management) technology involved. Increasingly, the majors are convinced it will not be cracked.
Some pundits predict that it’s only a matter of time before the studios relent and allow downloads to be burnt to disc, for playback in standard DVD hardware.
Despite the interest in downloads, Hollywood is still keen to exploit the potential of the new HD disc formats. Peter Staddon, EVP of marketing for 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment had this warning: “We must be careful not to confuse the consumer. A confused consumer doesn’t buy a lot of product.”
While Warner’s Steve Nickerson confirmed that his studio would be stepping up the release of HD DVD/DVD hybrid discs this year, Sony’s Adrian Alperovich confirmed that no such product line is planned for Blu-ray.
Bizarrely, when the ICT (image constraint token) issue was raised, Sony’s Alperovich implied it could be used and that it wouldn’t cause any problems. ICT degrades the output of an HD disc to standard definition when viewed via a component connection. Sony’s own cheaper PS3 has only component connection, which would make its Blu-ray capability redundant, should ICT be implemented on Sony software.
However he was rebuffed by a retail representative who boomed: “The studios would be shooting themselves in the foot,” if they implemented the technology.

Tags: HD DVD and Blu-ray · Internet and networking · Trade

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