FCC waiver paves way for studios to push first-run movies into the home; rattles theater owners

Apple Online Store“Federal regulators have granted a controversial waiver to the Hollywood studios that clears the way for them to show first-run movies in the home shortly after — or even during — their release in theaters,” Richard Verrier reports for The Los Angeles Times.

“The Federal Communications Commission on Friday granted a petition from the Motion Picture Assn. of America, the chief lobbying group for the major studios, that would permit for a limited-period use of ‘selectable output control’ technology for watching movies in the home,” Verrier reports. “The technology disables video and audio outputs on set-top boxes to prevent illicit recording.”

“The lack of security has been a technical block to delivering first-run movies directly to consumers in the home. Currently, movies are available for people to watch in the home via video-on-demand three to four months after they appear in theaters and simultaneous or soon after they are released on DVD,” Verrier reports. “Movie theater operators view warily any move by the studios to push up the showing of major Hollywood movies before they come out on DVD, fearing that it will undercut ticket sales.”

Verrier reports, “Under the ruling, studios could use the technology for a window of 90 days, or until the movie is released in DVD, whichever comes first. After the 90-day window, the studio would no longer have the security protocol.”

Full article here.

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50 Comments

  1. This first run movies in the home thing is bulls__t. They have no intention of doing this and stripping the lucrative theater income. It’s all a ruse under the guise of ‘innovation in the marketplace’ designed to get the FCC to allow this sort of travesty.

  2. @jjjj

    I don’t see how this tramples consumer rights. What right does the consumer have right now–waiting until release so the theaters can have first crack at making the money? So you can spend $10-$20 per ticket? Hmm…

    Theaters are dinosaurs. I only go there with my kids, and then maybe, maybe 1-2 a year. But maybe I am different. Perhaps the movie crowd is older or younger than my demographic.

  3. A friend has a home theater with a gigantic projection screen and a great sound system. We watch movies there a lot, and we’d probably have seen Iron Man at his house last night instead of going to the cinema. We could have had cocktails and much cheaper concessions. I’m not sure why anyone is upset out this… Unless you run a theater.

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