HD Video Download Service Allows Blu-ray Recording

Dec 11, 2008
Naoki Asakawa, Nikkei Electronics
Tsutaya online delivers video content from its server to compatible digital home appliances and allows the content to be copied on Blu-ray Disc, iVDR-S and memory cards.
Tsutaya online delivers video content from its server to compatible digital home appliances and allows the content to be copied on Blu-ray Disc, iVDR-S and memory cards.
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Tsutaya obtained permission to use seven of the technologies that can export content based on MarlinDRM specifications.
Tsutaya obtained permission to use seven of the technologies that can export content based on MarlinDRM specifications.
[Click to enlarge image]

Tsutaya online Corp will launch its HDTV video download service for digital home appliances in Japan Dec 19, 2008. For the first time in the world, it will enable users to export HDTV content from HDDs to Blu-ray Disc and other recording media.

Tsutaya online is planning to deliver 412 titles, including movies and TV programs created by four US film companies, by the end of 2008 and to allow dubbing for half of them. This time, the company will add a download service to the streaming video delivery service it is operating through its "Tsutaya TV on acTVila" on the "acTVila" portal site.

Ahead of launching the service, Tsutaya online gained permission to dub HDTV content from the US companies. HDTV video can be exported, without down conversion, to Blu-ray Disc, DVD-R DL (AVCREC) and iVDR-S media. AACS will be applied to recording on Blu-ray Disc and DVD-R DL media, while SAFIA will be applied to recording on iVDR-S media.

In addition, video can be delivered in a form protected by DTCP-IP to DLNA-compatible devices. In the future, it will also be possible to down-convert HDTV content to SD quality and record it on SD memory cards, Memory Stick PRO and EMPR (embedded memory with playback and recording function).

Among the content that can be copied on recording media, new movies become available when their DVD and Blu-ray Disc packages are released on the market. This means that the new service has been granted a position equivalent to that of packaged media in the business structure called "Window System," which is based on release windows, the prescribed time gaps between which movies are aired over different media.

With "Tsutaya TV Sell-through Service," which allows to purchase content that can be viewed for an indefinite period, it is possible to watch content downloaded to HDDs anytime and to export and store the video content onto Blu-ray Disc or iVDR-S up to two times. The average fee is ¥3,675 (approx US$39.7) for movies and ¥893 for TV programs.

Furthermore, Tsutaya will offer "Tsutaya Download Rental Service" with viewing time limited to 48 to 72 hours. This service allows only video downloads to HDDs, and dubbing to recording media is not available. The average fee is ¥735 for movies and ¥368 for TV programs.

The video encoding technology used in the services is MPEG-4 AVC/H.264. Using VBR technology with an average speed of 10Mbps and the maximum speed of 20Mbps, 1080i video will be distributed. Tsutaya is planning to deliver titles including "Desperate Housewives," "Heroes," "Lost," "No Country for Old Men," "Cloverfield," "Dreamgirls" and "The Bucket List" in December 2008.