Zediva, an online video site, emerges from beta testing Wednesday with a new way to watch movies online. With Zediva, users remotely watch an actual DVD playing on an physical player in the company’s data center in Silicon Valley.
“It’s like watching with a long cable and a long remote control,” said Venky Srinivasan, Zediva’s CEO and co-founder in an interview.
The business model allows Zediva to make DVDs available to users as soon as the films come out, since the company is literally buying physical DVDs to rent over the Internet.
And what about the issues that face Netflix and other streaming services, who have agreements to delay streaming their digital copies of movies? Srinivasan said he’s not anticipating facing any of those issues with Zediva, which operates on the same doctrine of first sale as all rental services that deal with physical DVDs. He did say he is “more than happy” to talk about partnerships with studios if he is approached.
With Zediva, users can rent a single movie for $1.99 or a ten-pack for $10. For 14 days, you have full access to the movie and all the DVD menus. You can choose different languages and subtitles, hear DVD commentary and, of course, scan, pause and play. If you have to leave in the middle of a movie, Zediva also gives you the chance to restart playback at that spot when you come back, said Vivek Gupta, Zediva’s other co-founder and chief technology officer.
In fact, it’s just like renting a DVD for two weeks.
With no membership fee, infrequent watchers could save money with Zediva over a monthly subscription service like Netflix. Since movies can be streamed on your computer, Android device (2.1 and up) or Google TV, giving Zediva an convenience advantage over Redbox. Users do have to wait if a movie they want to watch is rented out.
Gupta said that Zediva’s been working hard in the past month to make sure that the remote service is working and that the service is scalable for a wider audience, and says the service is “ready to show the world.”