Feeds

Electro-optic film set to foil DVD shoplifters

Discs unplayable until purchased

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

For once here comes a digital protection technology designed to stop shoplifters rather than prevent consumers copying content. US-based Kestrel Wireless this week announced a plan to make DVDs, Blu-ray Discs and HD DVDs unplayable until they've been purchased.

It's a simple scheme: each disc is coated with an electro-optic film that's initally opaque but turns transparent in response to an electrical pulse transmitted by a Kestrel radio unit after it has authorised the process by checking an RFID chip embedded in the disc.

This takes place at the point of sale (POS), after the purchase and only when the disc has been authorised, via Kestrel's network, by the vendor.

Kestrel and RFID-making Philips spin-off NXP are pitching the process primarily at optical media, but they believe it can also be applied to any consumer electronics product with a display or anything else that, if obscured, renders the device unuseable. And if they can't be used, the partners reckon, thieves won't want to nick 'em.

The cynic will suggest the shoplifters will turn to mugging instead, but there other, more realistic flaws in the scheme. To implement, it will require the participation of the retailers, who will have to install potentially expensive POS upgrades. And they'll all have to get with the programme, or the studios will need to press two sets of discs for each title, one with the technology for retailers who support it, and another without the coating for retailers who don't. Not a move they'll be keen to make when they're already having to deal with two separate HD disc formats.

And there are privacy concerns. Will consumers accept the notion that the studios will know exactly which disc they own - just link the purchase data to the unique identity code embedded in each RFID chip?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD to DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get the parts for HDD models
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
Back to the ... drawing board: 'Hoverboard' will disappoint Marty McFly wannabes
Buzzing board (and some future apps) leave a lot to be desired
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.