Walgreens to offer DVD-burning kiosks

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Your first stop for a quiet Friday night at home might soon be the drugstore, not the video store. Actually, that’s assuming you haven’t discovered the joys of On-Demand and/or downloading movies directly to your Media Center PC or Apple TV.

Walgreens is planning to outfit its stores with DVD-burning kiosks “in the next few months,” according to a company spokesperson. This is thanks to last month’s ruling by the DVD Copy Control Association to loosen the reigns on how CSS protection can be used.

The kiosk software, called Qflix, will be licensed from a company called Sonic Solutions and will require the use of special burners and blank discs — how convenient for Sonic Solutions!

Blockbuster is considering a similar move, but is waiting to see how successful Walgreens’ system turns out to be, according to Blockbuster’s Randy Hargrove.

“We’ll continue to monitor it. If it makes sense to get into kiosks, it’s clearly something we could do.”

This could turn out to be bad news for those of you who work at a movie rental store. Blockbuster could conceivably turn every location into a giant kiosk, save a bundle on labor costs, and have every movie in stock all the time.

Of course, that’s assuming this system could be used for movie rentals as well. Does anyone remember Circuit City’s ill-fated DIVX format? I’d imagine we might see something quite similar in the near future if companies like Sonic Solutions can figure out how to make these special blank DVDs self destruct in standard DVD players.

Walgreen sees movie-burning DVD kiosks at stores [Reuters]

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