2007 might be the year that downloading becomes a lot more viable.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, many Hollywood studios have given the green light to a new technology that would allow consumers to buy movies digitally over the internet, and then burn them "onto a DVD that will play everywhere."

Sonic Solutions Inc. as introduced "the Qflix system for adding a standard digital lock to DVDs burned in a computer or a retail kiosk."

This lock, "known as 'content scrambling system,' or CSS, is backed by the studios, TV networks and other content creators and comes standard on prerecorded DVDs today. All DVD players come equipped with a key that fits the lock and allows for playback."

Companies "such as Movielink, CinemaNow and Amazon.com's Unbox haven't been able to use CSS because studios fear widespread DVD burning could lead to piracy."

Because of this new system consumers might finally be able to burn DVDs which some think could really open up the future of downloading. The only hitch is "they'll need new blank DVDs and compatible DVD burners to use it."

Down the road, many feel that something like Qflix could "be used in retail kiosks, which could hold hundreds of thousands of older films and TV shows for which studios don't see a huge market. Customers could pick a film, TV episode or an entire season's worth of shows and have them transferred to DVD on the spot."

There will still be restrictions, for example "using the copy-protection technology in Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Media system, a service could specify that a given title can be burned no more than two times."

According to Sonic Solutions it "will take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes" to burn a disc using their technology.

Evan Jacobs