UltraViolet: global DRM to replace DVD
The entertainment industry has confirmed their intention to this year launch a new format to take over from DVD. UltraViolet should make the transfer of digital rights between devices easier.
The UltraViolet format started to get spoken about at the end of 2010. During the CES 2011 show it has once again been presented to end users. It is planned for release in the summer through a range of compatible products and services with its official launch to hopefully come before the end of the year, initially in the United Kingdom and Canada.
Behind this UltraViolet technology we find members of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) who are adopting its specifications. This consortium brings together Hollywood studios, electronic manufacturers, retailers and DRM integrators and resellers.
A list of 56 companies supporting UltraViolet sees companies including Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, Fox, NBC Universal, in addition to Cisco, Comcast, Best Buy, Toshiba and Microsoft present. There are some notable absences from the list though, with Disney and Apple missing (there should be some compatibility with Apple devices thanks to a Netflix application, but not for purchases made via iTunes). This has already created some small waves for DRM global.
UltraViolet makes the transfer of digital content easier (film, TV series) from a device or a certified service from one to another. The management is performed through the Cloud, with the content becoming accessible for all connected devices. Anyone wishing to purchase content can create an account for up to six family members with it then being possible to save the digital content on up to twelve devices.
The purchase of this content does not necessarily restrict the purchase of physical media, as DVD content can also be stored in the Cloud so that the film is also available via an UltraViolet account. The DECE nevertheless presents UltraViolet as the successor to DVD, with a technology being supported by numerous DRM types.
Warner Bros. President of Digital Content, Thomas Gewecke, declared to the AFP "each time you purchase a film; it is stored in a virtual account. […] You no longer need to worry about the hard drive becoming full or hardware failure, or a device not being compatible." Will this be enough to reduce the temptation of users copying disks for their personal use?
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