Disks Will Catch Video Downloads

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Amid the rush to enable the downloading of digital shows and movies, don't think for a moment that the disk is dead. It'll be a long time before downloading supplants the DVDs that we get at the local store or through the mail. Even then, our home networks will be too flaky to ship the shows to another room. For that, we'll walk a disk across an old-fashioned sneaker net.

At least that's the view of Sonic Solutions, which makes the popular disk-burning software Roxio. Sonic is slipping into background partnerships with numerous download services, including TiVo and most recently Akimbo, to let us burn those digital files to a hard, plastic-coated disk that we can carry from the PC to the living room. Or even home from the store, where consumers soon can begin burning disks from movies downloaded at kiosks, says Chris Taylor at Sonic. "It will allow for virtual inventory that far surpasses anything on the shelves."

Sonic also makes high-end burning tools used by Hollywood studios, giving it a leg up in the emerging channels for commercial downloads. The company also helped with a recent change in the technology that protects DVDs from copying, a change that will allow for consumer burning while studios and resellers can limit how many copies are made.

TiVo users already can use a Roxio product to burn their TV recordings to disk. With Akimbo, Sonic will provide the download interface itself, called Roxio Venue. Later this year, the service will add the ability to burn DVDs, giving the humble disk yet more footing in the flashy world of downloads.