A New Pay-Per-View Technology

Something new is headed to an electronics store near you. It's a new video player that promises to change the way you rent movies. It's called DVD-DIVX and, as CBS News Consumer Correspondent Herb Weisbaum tells us, between now and the holiday shopping season, you'll be seeing lots of ads for it.

DVD is the digital way to watch movies: digital picture, digital sound.

DIVX is DVD with a twist; a whole new way to pay for the DVD titles you rent - with DIVX.

There are no late fees, because you never have to bring this disc back to the store.

DIVX discs sell for $4.49. For that price, you get a 48-hour viewing window which starts the first time you watch the disc, whether that's a few days, a few weeks, or many months later. Don't worry. The DIVX disc doesn't self-destruct when the time runs out, but you will have to pay to play it again.

Mario Ramirez is with Circuit City: "You just take it off the shelf, you put it back in your DVD player, you press play and for $3.25 you get another 48-hour viewing period."

It works because when you hit "play" on your player, basically the modem in the machine will communicate with DIVX and automatically will bill you. That's why a DIXV-DVD machine has to be hooked up to a phone. It needs to "talk" to that central billing computer.

Andrea Justham loves to watch movies, but she hates to return her rentals to the video store, which is why the Justham family is the first on their block (and one of the few in the country) to own a new DIVX-DVD machine. Andrea explains, "You can watch them at your convenience. You can buy it from the store, and 3 weeks later,, watch it, so it's real convenient."

Clearly, people want to rent DVD movies. The question is: Do they want to rent regular DVD discs, or will they prefer the DIVX pay-per view technology?

When it comes to DIVX, Weisbaum is recommending a "wait and see" strategy. Marc Horowitz is editor-in chief of Video Magazine: "The only reason to buy a DIVX player now, is if you want to be the first on your block to have the newest, freshest, funkiest new technology."

If you want to buy a player, right now there are just few models available. For a Zenith, you'll pay from $399 - $429. Suggested retail for the RCA is around $599. All these machines play DIVX, regular DVD, and music CDs.

And just in case you're wondering, the companies that developed DIVX have said they will not release adult entertainment: no DIVX porno. But right now there are 150 movie titles available, and dozens more will be added to the list each month.

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