By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
Americans are weighing in on a court case pitting Hollywood execs against Real Networks, which wants to sell an inexpensive package to let consumers copy DVDs to their hard drives. The National Consumers League just gave us a new survey that finds some 90 percent of consumers want the new technology, called RealDVD. Reasons: Consumers are sick and tired of having to repurchase lost or scratched DVDs, and they want to load lots of movies on their computers for long trips. "Consumers' attitudes toward saving content have been shaped by their ability to freely copy the contents of their CD collections to the computers and iPods," says Sally Greenberg, executive director of the consumer advocacy group. "Our survey shows that they are eager to have the same ability with their DVDs." The survey is the latest twist in a case, now in a California court, in which Hollywood has blocked the release of RealDVD. The movie industry fears it's simply software for pirating. Real Networks, however, claims that only the owners of DVDs can download a copy to their computers and that downloads can't be shared.
Other survey highlights:
—More than 35 percent of consumers own more than 50 DVDs.
—93 percent of households with children want to be able to download DVDs.
—55 percent of consumers say they are buying fewer DVDs in the economic recession.
—40 percent said that they would buy more DVDs if they could download them.