is a new commercial movie download service that lets you buy DVDs, download, watch and burn them on your computer. EZTakes announced Friday that it’s expanded from Windows to Mac OS X.
Unlike TV show content you might buy from the iTunes Music Store or other download services, EZTakes offers a full DVD disc image, often measuring 4GB in size. You pay for and download an encrypted file — once it gets to your Mac, the download management software — which runs on Mac OS X v10.4 or later on both Intel and PowerPC-based Macs — checks to make sure you’ve paid for it, then decrypts it.
What you’re left with is the same contents you’d find on a DVD. You can play the movie using Apple’s DVD Player application or burn it to disc — and you can burn it to DVD as many times as you need to.
The download manager doesn’t just let you buy, download and burn movies, either — it also lets you download and print DVD labels and jackets, so you can make your burned copies look just like they would if they’d been bought in the store.
Rather that protecting the content using DRM encryption, EZTakes “personalizes” it, according to EZTakes CEO Jim Flynn. The downloaded DVD is personalized with your name, and information about your account is embedded into the disc image. “You could make unlimited numbers of unauthorized copies, but you’d incriminate yourself in the process,” Flynn told
. “We’ve developed this system to make copies traceable.”
Flynn explained that EZTakes doesn’t want to restrict people from using their content, but understands the importance of protecting content license holder’s intellectual property. Flynn said his company has found DRM encryption to be problematic and ineffective at stopping piracy, and has found content publishers that agree.
“The market has changed tremendously,” said Flynn. Content providers are starting to understand the benefits of providing material to end users without making it excessively difficult for them to use.
So far, EZTakes has expanded its library from 50 black and white movies made in the 1930s, first published last December, to 1,000 titles online by next month. Flynn said that the service mainly focuses on what might be termed “independent” fare, with cult classics from Troma Films (makers of the B-movie classic series “The Toxic Avenger”) and Indian “Bollywood” musicals, but it’s recently expanded into television shows, with the classic “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” available for purchase, along with shows broadcast on cable channel The Learning Channel including “Rides” and “OverHaulin’.” Also available is “Shelley Duvall’s Tall Tales & Legends” children’s shows.
The price of DVD images downloaded through EZTakes can run half of what they’d cost in a store, according to Flynn, without users having to actually visit a store or buy a subscription.
At three or four gigs a pop, EZTakes content is large — prohibitively so for users stuck with slow dial-up connections or even some narrower broadband connections.
“I love to procrastinate, and this is a great problem to procrastinate on,” joked Flynn. Flynn cited recent market research that points to the explosion of broadband connectivity in the United States, and the increasing download speeds offered by cable companies and DSL service providers.
Right now, EZTakes is restricted to use by users who have a US-based credit card account, but Flynn said the service will expand with international account support soon.