Kingston, Paramount to deliver movies on flash drives

By on November 3, 2009, 12:57 PM
Kingston has signed an agreement with Paramount Digital Entertainment to deliver full-length motion picture films on flash devices. The movies will be stored on Kingston's SD and USB flash memory products, and will be available to consumers for a reasonable price -- all things considered. To boot, the companies are offering Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a 4GB Kingston DataTraveler USB drive for $29.99

Assuming the flash drive is reusable, that's not too bad of a deal for $30. That said, being crammed on a 4GB drive naturally means that the films will be in standard definition -- a deal breaker for many, I'm sure. Perhaps HD-friendly films will be offered on larger drives at a later date, but there are few details about the companies' future plans.

It seems to me that the people who would be most interested in this offer, probably already own a Blu-ray player. Would you pay $30 for a film stored on flash memory?

User Comments: 64

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treeski treeski said:

For a non-HD movie, $30 is too much. I would consider paying $30 for an HD quality movie on a larger flash drive. But honestly, even that is iffy.

Eddie_42 Eddie_42 said:

Awesome. I had a discussion with a friend many months ago about this very topic. The conclusion we can to for why this didn't exist is the cost of the drive, plus the rights to the movie. But now a 4gb drive is dirt cheap. I would definitely consider this as an option. The only thing I would want in extra is a DVD player with a USB slot on it. Maybe the newer ones do, mine is a dinosaur. I also am not on the blue ray band-wagon, just to expensive to get a drive, an HD tv, and re-buy all the movies. DVD till I have to upgrade

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I think this is a great idea for travelers who are stuck at an airport, or have kids in the car on a long road trip and are trying to figure out how to entertain them. They'll probably sell a million of these Transformer movie flash drives for stocking stuffers this Christmas. Kids will lose their minds over these. And once you're done with it, transfer the movie to a backup hard drive and now you have a 4GB jump drive. This is obviously not meant for the serious blu-ray movie aficionado's, but I can definitely see a market for this.

Eddie_42 Eddie_42 said:

TomSEA, you make good points, i didnt think about the travel side of it. More durable packaging. No scratches that a Disc can suffer from. Pocket size. Good stuff

swilllx2p said:

I personally think its an amazing idea. Especially if the flash drive is reusable. As TomSEA said it would be pretty awesome for people that travel. And instead of sitting on the shelf unused after you get bored of the always have a 4GB flash drive you can now use.

CrisisDog said:

I've been able to rip Blu-Ray discs to 720p HD in under 4GB. That would be a decent option for the price they're offering this at, but not for standard definition. I also wonder if this has some sort of DRM, otherwise what would be stopping the general public from copying this right off the flash drive and sharing it?

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Great idea in theory, but probably not practical in most respects, unless you can transfer that movie off your drive and onto another medium. I'm not going to pay big bucks for a limited movie stuck on a USB drive that I now have to keep track of and store somewhere... And the mobile idea is great, until you consider that to watch the movie you'll always have that USB drive sticking out of your laptop, just begging for someone or something to hit it and break the drive, the USB connector, or both...

There's not really any "convenience" factor to it if it's trapped on the drive, and there's no benefit of having a USB drive if it's clogged full of an unmovable video file. Now, if it's transferable I'd consider it. But honestly, it would be better packaged on an SD card, much easier to store and less sticking out to get damaged during playback.

buttus said:

I think this is a great concept marketing wise (as everyone loves collector memoribillia)....but the price is just too much. Unless they can get the price down I would think this idea would go the way of the mini DVD (or UMD for that matter).

nyred said:

30 bucks for a standard definition movie? No way.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I agree with Vrmithrax, SD card would have been much better. It's supported by a lot of devices, and when it doesn't, you can always use a USB adapter. That would have been easier to store and carry. I had the N-Gage game phone, whose games came on MMC cards, and with small plastic boxes that could store 4 cards. It was all pretty professional and convenient. (The device itself had some design issues, but I think the game package was nicely done.)

$30 is a bit too much, IMO, but I do think that flash cards are a good way to distribute content.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Reading the comments along the way...

It does sound like a good idea to have things on the go, but not a long term movie keeping/collection type of deal, for the price you can get a HD movie, and what would you do after you get like 10 or 20 of these movies? would you have 20 4gb flashdrives for "later use" if you get really really bored of the movies?

IF! and only IF, this is an asumption... you could store this with some sort of special ID online software to verify you are the true owner of the movie and then you could go with the flashdrive itself with some sort of blockbuster deal to only buy the movie and not the hardware itself making it somewhat cheaper would be AWESOME.

Because, where would you store 10-20 or more of these flashdrives?

Aolish Aolish said:

Great idea but like others have already said its to expensive considering its in SD. Great idea tho.

kodrutz kodrutz said:

Not really, no. Storing them would really be silly, especially since I think a living room with some shelves with your movie collection looks much better than... however you decide to store a bunch of flash drives!

Clrabbit said:

.... why would it have to be SD?

I mean more and more DVD players and pretty much ANY new PC can handle a good video codec.

infect I have a video file sitting right in front of me here.

Width 1280

Height 720

Bitrate 955

Length: 1:14:54

Size: 511MB

So now amusing this video was Twice the quality it is and twice as long.

Then we'd have a 4GB video.

Now given this is a Home video made on a nice HD camera visual quality wise, I nor any body I know can tell the difference watching it vs a Blu-ray movie. It's only 720 and my Tv is only 720, However sense it would need to be twice the quality to take up the 4GB of space it would be 1440 which would make 1080p look sad.

Video compressing has come along ways, and keeps getting more impressive by the year. Seems pointless to me to own a DVD/Blu-ray player when you can have a PC.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

But the idea of a DVD-player or something player is not stick in a chair in front of the PC to watch a movie, instead of a couch in the living room, or a movie room, or something room but a lot more comfortable and where you can see a movie in a big tv with a good sound system.

tonylukac said:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't flash drives battery powered constantly to keep their memory? Wouldn't the movie be lost in, say, 10 years of storage? Perhaps I'm confused.

Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

That said, being crammed on a 4GB drive naturally means that the films will be in standard definition -- a deal breaker for many

4GB can hold a pretty good quality HD movie using the appropriate codec (xvid, divx etc..). In fact, Bluray players *must* support Mpeg4 and now some of them are including MKV support.

With industry support behind some of these formats for codecs and containers, it is conceivable that the video contained on these flash drives will actually be 720p+. That may also be wishful thinking too...

Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

tonylukac said:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't flash drives battery powered constantly to keep their memory?

No, they are not.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

I'm curious what kind of copy guard it will have to prevent you from copying it.

pioneerx01 pioneerx01 said:

FINALY. You would nor believe how long I awaited for movies to be released on Flash drives. Think about it... Flash drives are reaching speeds of 30MB/s or more (faster than needed for blu-ray), Sizes are ever increasing, and the chance of data corruption is lover that getting your disk scratched. Plus 0 seek time. I think that is the future of movies.

JieMan JieMan said:

Well its a start! I would much rather be able to get a Digital download in better quality and put it on what ever media I want.

Is it worth buying, probably not.

The thing is that the industry needs to push to a better format that doesn't involve disks, this should have happened with BlueRay( remember its just a container for the media itself). As everyone knows disks get ruined quick. I hope they can bring the costs down and the storage up to be able to get better quality.

I feel this is just a speck that we are seeing of the future of media shifting to digital distribution, the only ones holding the transition back are the companies in control of the current industry, as they have no place in the digital world. There old time practices of production and supply are obsolete in the world today and they know it. Same thing with the music Industry they are clawing at anyone willing to change the industry as they wont have all the pie anymore. Might be

why they are so inept to understanding the use of a bittorrent system for legal digital distro needs to change fast.

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

Love the idea, hate the price! $30 is way to much for a movie which isn't either on par or better than blu ray anyway, id rather just buy the blue ray copy. If they could make it the same price as a blu ray, and same quality or greater than maybe we got ourselves a deal..I think i still just love the dvds to much.

Timonius Timonius said:

I think this is just a marketing gimmick either for fanatics or a 'fool and his money'. What is the 'physical' size of drive? My 8b verbatim tuff n tiny is the size of a thumbnail. Portability, memory density, and manufacturing costs are a big factor if usb movies are to survive beyond the 'neat idea' phase. Other than that everything else has been said.

Colonel Lance said:

I've been wondering when someone was going to start doing this. I imagined this happening pretty much as soon as the USB drive came out and it's taken this long for it to happen.

We'll just have to wait and see if it's any good.

Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

pioneerx01 said:

FINALY. You would nor believe how long I awaited for movies to be released on Flash drives. Think about it... Flash drives are reaching speeds of 30MB/s or more (faster than needed for blu-ray), Sizes are ever increasing, and the chance of data corruption is lover that getting your disk scratched. Plus 0 seek time. I think that is the future of movies.

I agree it is a superior medium, but there are a couple of issues.

The primary one is price (for now). To fit a *real* Bluray movie onto a flash drive, it needs to be 32GB. That's going to be one expensive movie. It's going to be several years before they become cheap enough to compete with made-for-pennies pressed optical discs.

The second reason is waste. I don't have any numbers, but polycarbonate and aluminum is abundant. Germanium, silicon, gallium etc.. that's used in flash drives is used like crazy already. Can we expect to keep up with demand? Flash prices sometimes go up because of 'shortages' and I wonder if replacing every new potential optical disc in the world with flash devices is a reasonable goal.

I still think digital distribution is the ultimate goal. An awesome pipe to every house with unlimited access to digital media based on whatever model they use to fund it.. be it subscription, ads and such. And perhaps in the not-so-distant future, instead of having your movies each on their own flash drives, you could have hundreds of them on a single flash instead.

gruesomeA said:

$30 is a lot to pay for a novelty item such as these. Until flash memory space is large enough to accomodate high definition, and cheap enough to rival discs, they should hold off on releasing movies on flash

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

Agreed. I wouldn't pay that much for something that wasn't HD. I'll be content with Blu-Ray until there is a more cost effective solution.

FrankTank said:

I got to agree with most, $30 for a standard def movie is steep. I can't say I'd be on board.

How would the flash drive be reusable? Does that mean you can download the movie from the flash drive onto your PC. But then your utilizing space on your hard drive unnecessarily as far as I'm concerned in return for just another flash drive.

Plus I think most people, aside from those who are tech savvy, don't have a DVD player with a USB port yet and some people including myself prefer to watch movies on my TV and not my PC.

MBK MBK said:

Awesome, about time someone made a move to do away with freakin discs!

I can't see it catching on too quickly though, it's a massive change. From what I've seen in my 21 years of existance, unless the actual end product (in this case the movie) gets better in quality, the masses wont adopt it so quickly. For me, the price needs to come down, assuming $30 is about £20 (am I right??) that's still more than most Blu-Ray films, bring on the uber mass production of pen drives!!

PC_Nerd PC_Nerd said:

Assuming you're using the right codec, you could fit a whole season dvd box set onto one of these drives. I'd pay for that.

Shalimar said:

this has to be the biggest looser marketing idea i've seen in ages,.. honestly what morons are in charge of this crap and WHY have they not been fired for sheer stupidity.

spikester48661 spikester48661 said:

30 for a non-hd movie sucks.But a movie on a flash drive is the to go.

Deso said:

You can fit a very good quality movies into 4 GB, a lot of BD(blue ray disk) rips are only 2 GB and are still have awesome video and sound quality

lynxon said:

Well, the 4gig flash drive is ok to begin with, and adding a movie on top of that would just be an added bonus to me! Well, aside from the fact that the movie, Transformers 2, was utter crap.

LxTrix said:

I think this would contribute to piracy. I think people would stick to dvds vs this considering how not everything has a usb.

GACrabill said:

Q. Would you pay $30 for a film stored on flash memory?

A. Nope. This may be a concept that's "before it's time". Will 8GB drives cost a $1 in bulk a couple of years from now? Will these sell at airports - definitely. Prices will come down, USB 3.0 is coming, this could be the next big thing .... it's just too early and too pricy for me.

elroacho72 said:

How many flash drives am I going to have? It would be great for travel with but put my whole collection but as an option yes, sounds cool. Will they be write protected?

BlindObject said:

Nah, $30 for SD movie is a no no, even if it's a 4GB drive. So what? I'm suppose to stack these up? Imagine having like 40 of theses, where are you suppose to store them? I like the discs, or maybe a new format? Like SD cards?

zaidpirwani said:

Movies on flash drives are like collectable items, these should be made in limited quantities and with some special USB drive, I mean there should be a special, custom made case for every Movie-On-A-USB-STICK, otherwise, it is just plain wrong to buy a USB with a movie, and if the movie is un-movable then the only reason for me to buy it would be that the USB would scream the movies name out loud with its design and shape....

SinOfDeath said:

I'd bye one of these in a flash (corny pun lol) But dont you think paramount would be worried about torrent sites getting a hold of these, no saying theyre not already on there, but more worried?

ceejay949 said:

Movies on flash drives is a good idea. Let's see if this will succeed.

hellokitty[hk] hellokitty[hk], I'm a TechSpot Evangelist, said:

Seems overly expensive; and those flash drives look sketchy, I don't like Kingston.

I would adore having a worthless stockpile of flash drives which I bring everywhere and use to watch movies whenever I see a computer, and spend $30 each.

Piracy made easy?

EDIT: I bet those flash drives are too iffy to play the movie smoothly anyway!

freedomthinker said:

4 Gigs , and a non HD movie ? A bit overpriced , but it depends if you even want it , i say why not just download it from the net ? Way simpler

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Call me a skeptic, but I picture Paramount putting some sort of DRM software on the flash drive as well to prevent people from transferring it and sharing it. The more tech savvy will undoubtedly figure out a way around the copy protection, yet the movie studio will fight to keep their product copy-proof. I don't think the drive will be reusable, and I believe $30 is way too much because of this.

Puiu Puiu said:

If they didn't sacrifice too much video quality then i might actually but it. 30$ for an 4GB Kingston and a movie isn't much.

I actually expected movies on flash drives to appear much sooner, but i'm just glad they finally actually did appear. Better latter than never.

Razerblade said:

That's a very good idea! It will start off quite expensive to see if it is worth progressing. The only thing with this is that you would have to burn it onto a DVD if you wanted to watch it on a DVD player and what copyright would be on it! They probably wont allow you to burn it onto a DVD and if this is the case then its way too much for the film specially in standard def!

limpangel limpangel said:

Didn't Ubisoft already try this with PC games?

I think it was a 4GB drive and you had to choose between Rainbow Six, Brothers in Arms, Splinter Cell and another one I can't remember. Games are generally more appealing than movies (to me at least) and still they didn't last on flash drives.


Transformers flash drive picture (don't know if is real or fake):

Very funny FAQ about the last Transformes movie:


slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

To me this seems like a bad idea, their target market is a person who wants a 4GB USB drive AND someone who wants to buy a Transformers film. Also once the film on the flash drive gets outdated, they're going to have overstock issues.

waterytowers said:

Firstly the idea has merit and they are not the first to think about putting movies onto media other than DVD's and Bluray disks.

I was recently working on a project to use any portable media (ipod, portable hard drive, usb stick,...) to load with movies at a video store, user would chose to rent movies X,Y and Z and also get other recent release movies added at the same time, loaded with DRM of course. Unfortunately the company had financial problems and some in-fighting at the board level which ultimately led to the company going into receivership. The movies were to be encrypted on the media and pay-per-view, paying for the right to watch via an internet connection (ADSL/3G) and watching from the already loaded portable media. A user would use a media device that would come as part of a membership, like getting pay tv, and plugin the media from which the device would copy the movie to be played. It would be like a PVR that also played rented movies. A later revision would allow downloading movies over the internet, which I don't think is likely until Internet speeds allow fast downloads of bluray quality movies. So as an interim solution loading onto portable media was the go.

So this has merit but I would give the option to use your own media device rather than wasting all the material needed to produce these usb sticks. Have a kiosk that sells movies using a USB, esata, firewire, etc.. connection to the users own device. The movies should only costs a couple of dollars, and requires no operator. Just think of it, just a few kiosks and someone to sell them a packet of chips/popcorn and a beverage, that is the video shop of the near future. They could even offer to sell the user a permanent copy after they have watched the movie and charge the difference between the rental price and full price. Rent with the option to buy.

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Interesting idea but the cost is crazy unless you happen to need a 4GB usb drive and want the movie. I'd like to know how the video quality is since they must have compressed it to fit on the drive.

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