Preventing DVD theft

Two companies have joined forces to develop a system to solve the problem of DVD theft.

Theft of DVDs thoughout the supply chain is a big, expensive problem. But now, two companies, NXP Semiconductors and Kestrel Wireless have joined forces to develop a system to solve it.

Using NXP’s RFID chip technology and Kestrel’s RFA (Radio Frequency Activation) system, it is possible to disable a product at the point of manufacture and then enable it at the point of sale, making goods stolen at any point during the supply chain worthless, eliminating the incentive for theft.

In a typical Point-of-Sale transaction, a firmware-enhanced RFID reader would scan a product looking for an RFA/RFID chip. Upon finding the chip, it would then read information from it and transmit it to the Kestrel network for authentication. The information would then be processed and sent back to the RFA chip which in turn switches on the element in the product and activates it.

But how does that work for DVDs?  For this application, a switchable element must be added to the disc that makes the physical disc (and thus the content it stores) non-readable when it enters the supply chain and then readable again at the Point-of-Sale.

And for that purpose, Kestrel has developed an optical “shutter” that can be switched on/off to make the disc non-readable or readable regardless of the disc format or the playback device.

When the disc leaves the factory, the shutter is closed, thus preventing the player’s laser from reading the content stored in the disc. At the point of sale, which can be at the retailer or via mobile phone, the shutter is switched open and the disc is made readable – and valuable – again!