Not the “one-play only” DVD again!
I’ve seen this story reported on several sites already today, including Techdirt. The comments at TechDirt, like all the others, point to an article at The Business Online that claims Microsoft is about to resurrect one of the truly bad ideas of the 1990s:
Computer software giant Microsoft has developed a cheap, disposable pre-recorded DVD disc that consumers can play only once. The discs would give Hollywood increased control over the release of new films and allow consumers the chance to watch a film at the fraction of the price of an ordinary pre-recorded DVD. More important, the discs would prevent copying and digital piracy, which is costing the film and music industry billions in lost revenues.
The revolutionary product could be on the market as early as next year, with the new DVD players needed to view them. Microsoft hopes it will help the company dominate home entertainment as it dominates the desktop computer market.
The reactions to this story are predictable: “How dare Microsoft do this,” and “Doesn’t anyone remember the Divx disaster?”
But I was more interested in the strange journalism at work here. The story includes only one offhand reference to “a senior source in the company,” and it’s a little odd to see all these assertions being presented as outright facts rather than attributed to someone. Most experienced reporters would go out of their way to provide details and attributions. Their absence here is telling.
I’d never heard of this publication before, and Google doesn’t exactly give it a lot of respect either. With stories like this, it’s no wonder.
My guess is that the real story here is somewhere between “way off base” and “complete fabrication.”
Anyone want to take bets?
Update: Yep. It’s a hoax.