Owned by Best Buy, CinemaNow is in the process of upgrading its movie library to 1080p quality and has already updated several hundred titles. However, not all users will be able to take advantage of the new streaming quality. Based on a new partnership with Intel, only users running on a second generation Core i3, i5, or i7 processor will be able to access the high definition stream. Owners of computers with the first generation processor or anyone utilizing an AMD processor in a computer will be restricted to previous standard definition quality levels. While CinemaNow has an approximate library of about 15,000 titles, upgrading the entire library is dependent on pitching new deals to movie studios.
So far, only Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment have agreed to supply 1080p versions of movies available through the service. Studios were previously concerned about providing 1080p quality downloads to PC users due to piracy concerns. However, fears about piracy were subdued due to hardware protection that’s built into the second generation Core i3, i5 and i7 processors. Enabled on the service provider side, the Intel Insider technology adds an extra layer of content protection that keeps the data safe during the initial download. According to Intel, Intel Insider isn’t designed to be digital rights management technology, but rather secure the connection so movies can’t be copied from over the network during the stream. This technology is similar to the protection around Blu-ray movies when played on a personal computer.
Exclusive deals like the partnership between CinemaNow and Intel put the consumer at a disadvantage. If AMD develops a similar technology and strikes up exclusive deals, another layer of choice is added when considering the CPU for a new computer. At the very least, this move forces users to upgrade to the second generation of the Core processor in order to access content at high definition quality.