Dell has partnered with Sonic Solutions on a device that lets people take a movie downloaded to a PC from CinemaNow and burn it onto a DVD for playback on most standard players.
The Qflix external DVD burner is available in the United States as an option with most Dell Inspiron, Studio, and XPS notebooks. The device, released Monday, is also available separately through Dell's online store and will be available soon as an option on select consumer desktops. The drive is priced at $120.
Qflix is the name of Sonic's patented technology platform for burning DVD titles with the company's digital rights management software to prevent duplication. Most DVD players support the platform, which includes Sonic's Roxio Venue recording software.
The Qflix DVD burner includes two recordable DVD discs, the Roxio Venue application, CinemaNow software, and a USB cable. Movies must first be downloaded to a PC through CinemaNow and then burned to a DVD through Qflix.
The device only records on its own recordable DVDs. Roxio Venue and CinemaNow software must be installed on the PC.
The use of DRM to protect movies and other digital content remains controversial because it limits consumers' ability to play the content they buy on multiple devices. Record companies, faced with declining CD sales and pushback from consumers, have started offering DRM-free music through major online vendors, such as Amazon.com and RealNetworks' Rhapsody service. Apple iTunes, the largest music store, still sells only DRM-protected music, making it difficult to play the tunes on other devices besides the iPod.
Electronic Arts last week angered customers with the inclusion of copyright-protection technology with its new "Spore" PC game. The DRM prevents the popular game from being installed in more than three computers.