PNY and Sony have announced they are releasing Ghostbusters the movie on USB flash drive and expect other movies to follow.
PNY has done first what we all knew some company would do eventually: try to sell us Ghostbusters the movie on thumb drives. PNY is teaming up with Sony to re-release this 1984 classic in preemptive celebration for the 25th anniversary of the movie. In traditional Sony style there will be DRM protection present, but as PNY has indicated to Tom’s Hardware, the movie can still be downloaded to a laptop or PC and played as long as the thumb drive is plugged into the PC. It appears the DRM needed to play the movie is present in some way on the thumb drive, turning the thumb drive into an access key of sorts.
The resolution of the movie is unknown, but PNY tells Tom’s Hardware that the format used is proprietary to Sony Pictures, has been specifically designed for distribution of movies via the USB medium and is compatible with standard Windows operating systems. When asked about whether or not future movies were expected to be released in a similar fashion, PNY told Tom’s Hardware there are plans to launch future movies with USB sticks this way. Though the idea of selling or renting movies on thumb drives may not have us ditching our Blu-ray or DVD players just yet for, a similar concept has had some experimental success in the music industry with some artists releasing their music albums on USB flash drives.
Pricing for the thumb drive has been recently listed at Argos.co.uk for £29.99 (opens in new tab), or roughly $53. That is a pretty steep asking price for an old classic (and a low capacity drive) and currently there is no word on whether this will be an Argos exclusive. Though it is possible this movie on a thumb drive idea is just a gimmick to sell more products, with PNY and Sony having no intention of it actually affecting the movie industry, lower prices wouldn’t hurt.
For those interested in the actual thumb drive itself, it features 2 GB of storage, which PNY advertises as enough for 12 hours of video playback — though clearly this isn’t even half the capacity of a DVD disc let alone a high definition movie. Lets hope the movie provided is of higher quality than the video bit-rate used to achieve that figure. The size of the drive measures 2-cm by 6.3-cm by 0.8-cm, it is USB 2.0 compatible and comes in the fashionable color black. Although it is hard to make out for certain, from photos it looks as if the thumb drive used is a basic PNY Attaché model, which go for about $15 for a 2 GB model.
With 64 GB thumb drives available now on the market and prices for low capacity drives becoming cheaper, distributing movies, music, and software on inexpensive thumb drives could become an increasingly popular option.
My DVD player made by Phillips already plays internet movies from my USB stick and some compatible external HDD's and it is 3 years old now. MY TV has a usb port, but no software to decode movies. This is the future. Blu Ray is dead.
Also, I doubt the USB movie will be a Blu-ray killer. As the article mentions, the display quality is unknown as of yet. Even so, judging by the number of software manufacturers that have opted to use a dongle to secure their licensing, I'm going to guess that the movie dongle license system will be equally lack-luster in its appeal.