With the wide proliferation of HD disc formats as well as download-to-rent and download-to-own services on the internet, it seems that the humble DVD has a bit of a struggle on its hands. With Blu-ray and HD DVD on one side and downloadable content on the other, the ageing format needs to offer something new, so it is a good job that the DVD Copy Control Association, the group in control of the DVD standard, is making plans to do just that.
Currently, downloaded films and TV programs are restricted to playback on a PC, in order to maintain the DRM restrictions imposed upon the content. However, the CCA is planning to offer a new disc format which would allow this content to be burned to a disc. The new format would be restricted to consumer set-top (well, set-bottom, usually) DVD players only, no doubt avoiding the many PC-based methods of circumventing copy protection.
Specifically, a user would download a file to a PC, before burning it to a disc, which would then render the file unusable and stop the disc being used in a PC drive thereafter. The new discs would be more expensive than current DVDs, although by how much is as yet unknown, because of the royalty fees required by the companies who created the copy protection standards for the new disc type.
While the restrictions that will be imposed may seem a touch overbearing, it should be remembered that currently the only way to get downloaded media onto a disc is to strip the DRM from the file you wish to burn, which is, obviously, not allowed. Still, if the technology can later work its way onto either HD DVD or Blu-ray then I'm all for it. Of course I'll need a better net connection, but I want one of those anyway.