I have been having a lot of fun remotely watching the craziness and goings-on at MacWorld this week. There are a handful of liveblogs of the Steve Jobs Keynote for this event that you can go and read. It is interesting to compare the coverage and reporting in different live blogs, what people think is interesting or not. There is a little blurb in the Engadget liveblog that jumped right out at me. It was not even reported on some of the other blogs, so small and inconsequential is it to Apple specific technology and developments. It was this excerpt from the Keynote when Jim Gianopulos ( Chairman & CEO of 20th Century Fox) took the stage [emphasis added are mine]:
10:06am – “The real back story, when Steve came to us, it was a no-brainer. It was the most exciting, coolest thing we’ve ever heard. VoD isn’t a new thing. But there was music, and then the iPod. There was a phone, then the iPhone. Apple does things in an intuitive, insightful way… this will be a transformative version of the rental model. We’re incredibly excited about it.”
“There’s another idea we’ve been talking to Steve about. There are other formats — DVD. And there are next gen formats, like Blu-ray.” Laughter and applause. “People still want to buy hard media, but we don’t want to deny them the benefit of watching the same movie. So we developed a digital copy that will be on discs going forward.”
Stuck in the middle of all of the hype and hoopla about movie rentals on iTunes and making this VoD for real is an interesting little tidbit. Fox intends to put a digital copy of all of its movies on the DVD. So when you buy a hard copy of the disc, you also get a digital copy you can copy to your computer, load on an iPod, put on a file server at your house and watch in a digital home video system, etc.
As far as I am concerned, this is actually a REALLY BIG deal. Some poking around on the web shows that someone with the new Family Guy DVD ( the first DVD to include this feature) confirms this functionality. There is no detail on the functionality/DRM built in. From the MacRumors report, it looks like this will require iTunes and will most likely be DRM’d. However, this is a step forward from the original Fox plan which worked only with Windows and PlaysForSure devices. It is not clear if this means they are abandoning their Windows only path, or if both types of files will be on the DVDs.
This is not the complete solution- none of this works on Linux or Unix computers, it is all still completely laden with DRM, but it is at least 5 steps in the right direction. I hate The Family Guy, but I am tempted to go buy the DVD, just to support the move. Most likely I will check the FOX releases and see what is being released soon. We are a household of media consumers, currently two of us having video capable iPods, three with laptops and 2 portable DVD players- if I can buy a disc and also get digital versions of the movie that the laptop and iPod users can play, I may actually start buying DVDs again- not just renting them. How about you?