Inside Move: Cinea screeners nixed

Studios will be using watermarked DVD instead

WB and New Line have become the first studios to give an official thumbs down to Cinea.

Time Warner-owned studios, along with their indie counterparts Warner Independent Pictures and Fine Line, sent a letter to Academy members on Oct. 25 to let them know they won’t be sending screeners in the specially encrypted format that only works on Cinea players.

Instead, studios will be using watermarked DVD with technology that lets authorities track the origin if any copies are leaked onto the Internet or bootlegs. Technically the solution is analogous to that used on the screeners studios sent out last year, although it was previously applied primarily to VHS tapes.

Warner and New Line said they decided not to use Cinea’s format “because we have not had sufficient time to test their players.”

Cinea wasn’t able to deliver players for studios to test by mid-October, when execs started making decisions about award screeners. Thus most studios will likely not use Cinea’s encryption, even though the company’s still planning to send out free DVD players to all Academy members by Thanksgiving in hopes that its system will be widely adopted next year.

The Cinea players work with regular discs as well, though, meaning every Academy member will have a free new DVD player on which to watch Warner and New Line’s screeners.

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