updated 12:30 pm EDT, Fri September 8, 2006
EZTakes Movie Store
Recent direct-download movie stores have been almost exclusively dependent upon Microsoft's Windows Media Player technology for copy-protection; without a viable alternative from Apple or other software developers, Mac users and those averse to the Windows Media format are forced to go without. EZTakes avoids this platform dependence by copy-protecting the content only during the download phase. Videos purchased at the store are initially encrypted and are then decrypted by custom software once the download is complete. The resulting file is a large but unprotected disc image that can be played directly on a Mac or Windows PC, or written to a DVD - the combination of which is a first for the industry. Content providers are protected by watermarking, the company says. Each video file is traceable to an individual account, linking potential pirates to their copies but granting fair use rights to legitimate customers. Most titles in the current catalog cost half as much as regular DVDs, but are often older movies and television shows. Notable exceptions include TLC shows such as Overhaulin' and Rides, which sell for $3 each. The service is currently in beta and is limited to US customers.