The sheer unrelenting stupidity of the entertainment industry, coupled with the frighteningly unimaginative “innovation” at Microsoft, has given birth to something I would place at the top of my List of Dumbest Inventions of 2005. Quoting from a news article:

Microsoft has developed a cheap, disposable pre-recorded DVD disc that consumers can play only once. The discs would give Hollywood increased control over the release of new films and allow consumers the chance to watch a film at the fraction of the price of an ordinary pre-recorded DVD. More important, the discs would prevent copying and digital piracy, which is costing the film and music industry billions in lost revenues.

Notice the sentence at the end… the most important thing for the industry is to prevent copying. It’s not about entertaining people; it’s about making sure they don’t rip you off. Continuing:

The revolutionary product could be on the market as early as next year, with the new DVD players needed to view them.

Sweet! So if I want to use these crappy new DVD’s, I actually have to purchase a new DVD player! I’m sure it’ll be worth the cost… doesn’t everyone want a DVD player that’s crippled? What a fantastic marketing idea! Finally:

Buying an ordinary DVD of a new film costs about $20. Microsoft’s new disc will enable the studios to release a “play-once, then throw away” copy for as little as $5, much the same as renting a video or DVD. But unlike a rented DVD, the new disc allows consumers to decide when they watch films and there is no need to return it.

I honestly don’t know what demographic they’re catering to with this insane plan. If I’m in the mood to watch a movie, I bike over to Blockbuster, pick one out, and pop it in the DVD player. If I don’t have time today, I don’t rent a movie. Duh. For those people who don’t want to bike to Blockbuster, there’s Netflix– they can rent whatever they want, whenever they want, and return it at their leisure. Why on earth would I buy a DVD for the same cost as a rental, when it gives me absolutely no more convenience… and requires me to purchase a new DVD player and (probably) have some kind of connection to the internet so Microsoft can deactivate the DVD after I’ve watched it?

The mind boggles. Methinks this is even more idiotic (and even more doomed) than the plan to develop DVD’s that self-destruct 24 hours after opening them. Chalk it up as just another poorly-thought-out attempt by the entertainment industry to wrangle more money from their customers…