Movie Mess: Microsoft Plans Single-Play DVD

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Microsoft

In its latest bid to ingratiate itself with Hollywood dealmakers, Microsoft has created a new type of disposable DVD movie disc that can only be played back once. The new discs are designed to prevent copying and piracy, but it's unclear why consumers would embrace such a technology in an age of on-demand cable channels, cheap DVD movies, and movie rental services like Netflix.

Further damaging to the new format is that it will require a new type of DVD player, which will be in the market in early 2006. And let's not even tackle the environmental issues of a disc-based format that is designed to be used once and then thrown in the trash.

Despite the sheer silliness of this technology, Microsoft's efforts in the home entertainment market should not be underestimated. The company is making an enormous push right now to establish a beachhead in the movie industry before Apple Computer can create the partnerships it needs to unseat the software giant. Apple has already destroyed Microsoft's chances of dominating the digital music market, thanks to its successful iPod devices and the iTunes Music Store, though Microsoft still holds out hope for a coming generation of smart phones-based MP3 players.

The issue, of course, comes down to digital rights management (DRM).

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