Company: Sonic Solutions
Title: Senior VP/general manager, advanced technology group
How he’s leading: Three years ago, Jim Taylor had an off-the-wall idea while riding a train in Japan. What if, he wondered, you could download a movie from the Internet, burn it to a DVD yourself and play it on your TV using your set-top DVD player?
When he took that idea to the studios, he was laughed off the lots. To be playable on a standard DVD player, the disc would have to be encrypted with CSS, the copy-protection scheme ubiquitously tied to big-studio DVD titles. Anything else would be incompatible with the hardware.
But CSS is designed not to work on recordable discs, a feature meant to deter piracy.
Undeterred, Taylor drew on Sonic’s expertise in DVD authoring and burning software to figure out a solution.
Then the real work began: convincing the studios and consumer electronics companies to go along with the plan.
As chairman of the inter-industry committee created to work out the technical, legal and business details, Taylor spent much of the past year keeping the often fractious negotiations moving forward, until, in late November, a final deal was reached, paving the way for the studios to begin offering movies on a download-and-burn basis in 2007.
POV: “I think it’s potentially a huge business across all channels,” he says. “There’s a huge amount of content out there that will never get a commercial DVD release but can now be made available.”
Homevid Leader Report: