The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem coalition of movie studios, cable operators, technology vendors and other companies launched its UltraViolet licensing program for content, technology and service providers, and expects that U.S. consumers will be able to purchase select movies and TV shows with UltraViolet rights starting this fall.
UltraViolet provides consumers a secure "digital locker" designed to let them buy a piece of digital media once and then download or stream it to different devices after authenticating access rights.
Among DECE's more than 70 members are such cable-industry players as Comcast, Cox Communications and CableLabs, as well as five of the six major Hollywood studios -- Fox Entertainment Group, Warner Bros. Entertainment, NBC Universal, Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Others DECE members include Motorola, Cisco Systems, SeaChange International, Netflix, Blockbuster (now owned by Dish Network), Best Buy, IBM, Microsoft,
Panasonic, Toshiba and Wal-Mart's Vudu. Two notable players not
participating in the initiative are Apple and the Walt Disney Co.
According to DECE, UltraViolet licensees are now testing the digital rights locker system and integrating their products and services with it.
"Consumers are looking for a better value proposition to own and collect digital movies and TV shows -- a proposition that provides downloads, streaming and physical copy viewing options which are accessible on multiple platforms," UltraViolet general manager Mark Teitell said. "The initiation of UltraViolet's business-to-business (B2B) licensing program represents another key step in the development and rollout of this new ecosystem designed to respond to this consumer demand."
On June 27, Neustar Media submitted the candidate release of the UltraViolet Digital Rights Locker and Coordinator technology to DECE for final beta testing. The UltraViolet specifications encompass just under 100 application programming interfaces, including APIs for account creation, account linking, placement of an asset into a locker and DRM management.
By becoming an UltraViolet licensee, a company will be able to implement technical specs; market content, services and products with the UltraViolet name and logo; and make use of the Neustar-operated centralized digital rights locker system for consumers' management of their UltraViolet proofs-of-purchase. DECE is offering five different types of role-based licenses: content provider, retailer, streaming service provider, app/device maker and download infrastructure/services provider.
DECE also published technical specs for UltraViolet, which include a universal Common File Format for downloads to let consumers copy playable files directly among multiple brands of registered apps or devices even if they run different UltraViolet-compliant DRM systems.
UltraViolet is primarily a Hollywood-driven effort to provide a cross-platform standard for digital media purchases, to pick up the slack from falling DVD sales. But it could also enable new "VOD Everywhere" business models, such as letting cable providers sell videos to customers rather than just renting on-demand access.
In the first half of 2011, DECE added eight new member companies: AMD, Blockbuster, CyberLink, NVIDIA, PacketVideo, Roadshow Entertainment, SeaChange and Vudu.
DECE provides more information on UltraViolet at uvvu.com (spoken as "you view").