Standard domestic internet connections in Japan have long been fast enough to deliver a lot more than most people use, with average ADSL download speeds maxing out at around 50Mbit/s and fibre connections typically twice that. Such bandwidth bounty makes it surprising that no major ISP has delivered full DVD downloads until now.
Starting today, KDDI is offering subscribers to any of its broadband services DVD-quality films to download for just ¥500 (£2.15) a pop through its 'DVD Burning' service. The movies are copy protected using the same CPRM DRM found on SD cards and have to be written to DVD-R discs before watching on a standard DVD player.
The copy protection means, in theory, that the disks cannot then be recopied and passed on, though this is relatively easy to circumvent. KDDI's distribution deal with Warner Bros. is the driving force behind the inclusion of DRM, although the firm points out that the disks don't have a fixed lifespan and can be replayed indefinitely.
The launch selection includes around 1,000 titles, including many currently available to rent in Japan, which will rise to 5,000 early next year. Considering that renting a DVD there for a week from one of the ubiquitous rental chains costs around half the cost of KDDI's offering, one has to wonder if the pleasure of owning a DVD with no label or packaging is really worth paying double for.
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J Mark Lytle was an International Editor for TechRadar, based out of Tokyo, who now works as a Script Editor, Consultant at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Writer, multi-platform journalist, all-round editorial and PR consultant with many years' experience as a professional writer, their bylines include CNN, Snap Media and IDG.