Los Angeles - Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Brothers have teamed up with SanDisk and Western Digital to extend the UltraViolet digital content locker system beyond streaming services to include locally stored video downloads that can be played back on home and mobile devices in up to 1080p resolution.
The joint initiative, called Project Phenix, will create and license solutions to secure premium copyright-protected content for download to local and portable hard drives and to flash-memory products such as USB flash drives, SD cards and solid-state disk drives (SSDs), the companies said. Once content is downloaded, it will be accessible online or offline on any enabled device such as a smartphone, tablet, laptop, game console, network-connected TV, or connected Blu-ray player.
The content will be made available for purchase via digital download, digital files bundled with physical discs, kiosks in retail stores, or other means of secure digital delivery, the companies said.
The downloads will render content up to 10 times faster than over-the-top streaming services, said Mike Dunn, president of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
Through the newly formed Secure Content Storage Association (SCSA), Dunn continued, "we will accelerate the development of products that will make it easy for the consumer to download, store and play back their high definition digital movies and TV shows, in full 1080p, on any SCSA-optimized device at home and on the go."
The SCSA solution, added Western Digital CTO Bert Hesselink, will let consumers "store high-definition purchased content, including copies of certain DVD content, in a secure, consumer-owned digital home library on a hard drive along with their personal photos, music and videos."
Content from the user's library will be viewable inside a home on a TV, PC or tablet, "or when owners are on the move, with a portable library copy providing mobile viewing even when a reliable Internet connection is not available, such as a plane, car, train or remote location," Hesselink explained
The SCSA expects to make its solutions widely available for license this year. Companies interested in learning more about the SCSA can contact:
The move will mean that consumers won't be limited to buying DVD or Blu-ray Discs that carry UltraViolet codes that enable streaming access to the physical-media titles through the Warner Bros.-owned Flixster service. Flixster enables streaming playback of UltraViolet through PCs and smartphones and through select Panasonic and Samsung TVs.
Studios expect that at least 100 titles will be released on Blu-ray this year with UltraViolet rights, joining 20 titles available in 2011.
For its part, Amazon earlier this year
to offer UltraViolet downloads from an undisclosed studio, but the company didn't provide details.