We may have the first important movie tech story of 2007: The major studios have approved new security technology for downloaded movies that are burned to DVD. Sonic Solutions Inc. has introduced their Qflix system, which adds a digital lock to the DVDs. This copy-protection lock isn't much different from the locks used on store-bought DVDs, though because it is for burned discs, it will require customers to buy a new kind of blank DVD and a new kind of DVD burner.

This could be a very big step in the movie download business, because one of the downsides so far has been that few movie sites have been given permission to offer a download-to-burn option. CinemaNow introduced such an option last summer, but it got a bad reputation. Another concern for downloaders is with the restriction of multiple burnings, but the movie download sites will likely allow for two burns, which seems in my opinion to be plenty for non-pirates.

In addition to benefiting the personal computer movie downloaders, Qflix is going to aid the in-store download kiosks that were being discussed last year. These kiosks will offer an extensive list of titles to be downloaded and burned at places like Walmart and Target.

Significant issues still exist for movie downloads, such as reasonable cost and picture quality, and until these issues are dealt with or bettered, downloaded movies are still not that appealing for mass consumption. But at least the studios are headed in the right direction.

In totally unrelated news, Blockbuster Video has shut all its stores in Peru.

More on movie downloading:

Film Clips: Direct-to-Download: The New Wave of Film Distrib?

Cinematical Seven: The Most Important Things to Happen in Film in 2006