Technology blocks DVD copying

Macrovision has licensed technology to Compaq, IBM, HP, and others to prevent illegal copying of DVD movies.

Think again about trying to make bootleg copies of movies from the DVD-ROM drive on your computer.

Macrovision (MV SN) announced today it has licensed its copy protection technology to Compaq Computer, Gateway 2000, Packard Bell, IBM, Micron Electronics and Hewlett-Packard for use in their personal computers.

Macrovision says that its copy protection technology is embedded in an integrated circuit in DVD players. The end result is that when someone attempts to make a copy of a DVD movie on a VCR, a distorted picture appears on the unauthorized copy, according to the company.

By licensing copy protection technology such as Macrovision's, major PC vendors apparently are trying to ease the fears of Hollywood studios who envision a DVD-ROM equipped PC churning out a limitless supply of high-quality VHS tapes. Addressing studio fears could encourage the release of more DVD titles, which could in turn increase the demand for DVD-equipped PCs and standalone DVD players.

DVD sales are expected to take off in the next few years, especially those of DVD-ROM drives for personal computers. While only 720,000 DVD-ROM drives are expected to ship by the end of this year, analysts expect that 123 million will ship in the year 2001, according to International Data Corporation.