A couple days ago I came across this article at CNET News.com about a company called PortoMedia and their plan to make movies available on flash memory cards. I’ve touched on the subject before, but for a different reason that PortoMedia seems to be interested (I was interested in the small form factor). They see flash memory cards as an alternative to Internet delivery:
PortoMedia is setting up kiosks that will let consumers download movies to a flash memory key or portable hard drive.
The kiosks will be packed with hard drives that can hold 350 to 5,000 titles. Users then plug in a memory device from the company, enter a PIN code, and buy or rent a movie. When consumers get home, they simply slide the memory device into a dock connected to a TV.
Evidently they have come up with a proprietary USB interface that can load a high-definition movie onto the memory card in less than 45 seconds. There are some big advantages to this model:
- Reduced cost as packaging and shipping associated with DVDs is no longer required
- More selection – you aren’t limited by shelf space with a kiosk like Blockbuster is
- It can happen sooner than Internet delivery (because most of us still have fairly crappy connections)
Sadly, but not unexpectedly, the company plans to use DRM from Microsoft to protect the movies.
PortoMedia did a trial run last year, and plans to go live with the service in four U.S. cities sometime in Q2 2008.
Read: CNET News.com