New technology in the form of a chip smaller than the head of a pin will supposedly thwart DVD theft since the discs are unplayable until they're activated at the cash register. A thin coating that blocks a DVD player from reading critical information on the disc must also be added along with the chip, which when activated, sends an electrical pulse through the coating, turning it clear and making the disc playable.
The radio frequency identification chip is made by NXP Semiconductors, based in the Netherlands, and the Radio Frequency Activation technology comes from Kestrel Wireless Incorporated, based in Emeryville. The two companies are talking to Hollywood studios and expect to announce deals this summer, Kestrel Wireless Chief Executive Paul Atkinson said. The companies said their technology also can be used to protect electric shavers, ink jet cartridges, flash memory drives and even flat-screen TV sets by preventing some critical element from functioning unless activated.