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UltraViolet Moves To Licensing Stage

Los Angeles – The
Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) this week launched a licensing
program for its


content usage system for purchased movie and TV programs.

The group recently
completed “the third leg of the stool” on the back end of the technology to
enable content, technology and service providers to license the system and
clear the way for the first UltraViolet-enabled devices and titles to hit the
market this fall.

licensees will be able to market content, services and products with the
UltraViolet name and logo; implement technical specifications; and utilize a
centralized digital rights locker system where consumers’ can manage their
UltraViolet content.

Still to be worked
out, however, are revenue-sharing terms between studios, content services and
distributors that will enable customers to access UltraViolet movies they’ve
purchased from a variety of digital devices.

Mark Teitell, DECE
general manager, told TWICE that he expects most of that to be settled in time
for a fall rollout, adding that revenue-sharing models could likely be modified
and evolve further over time.

The premise of the
system is that through the use of sophisticated encryption keys and digital
rights management technology, anyone who purchases an UltraViolet Blu-ray Disc,
for example, would be able to pay one price for the disc and also have the
ability to view the title as a digital download file, or streaming media file from
a smartphone app or Cloud-connected home or portable TV, for no additional

Under the
UltraViolet system, up to 12 CE devices can be registered to share
UltraViolet-enabled content at any one time. After that, an older device would
have to be dropped from the registration list to make room for a new one.

Mark Teitell, DECE
general manager, called the licensing step “a major pivot point.” Initial
licensees are currently beta testing the system.

The group’s
membership includes a number of CE manufacturers that are expected to license
the system in order to offer UltraViolet support in some current and
forthcoming products. Initial DECE hardware manufacturer members include Cisco,
Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and

Teitell said that
each member company must still license UltraViolet before implementing it in

After licenses are
acquired by the CE device manufacturers, it is possible that some products in
the field may be made compatible with the UltraViolet system through firmware
updates, though whether or not an existing product can be updated to UltraViolet
will depend on both the manufacturer and the product model.

In addition to CE
device makers, six studios – Fox, Lionsgate, Paramount, Sony Pictures,
Universal and Warner Bros. – are expected to leverage the UltraViolet system
for discs that will enable consumers to then set up accounts with participating
online retailers to allow up to six family members to access the title as Cloud-based
content via studios, participating retailers and streaming service providers.

Apple and Disney,
which has interests in a similar KeyChest content-sharing system, are so far
still not DECE members, Teitell said. But it may be possible for device makers
to eventually use both UltraViolet and KeyChest systems in products.

“On Apple, we see the
use situation split between two parts of Apple, one of which is the iTunes
store, and they may eventually chose to sell content that becomes UltraViolet
right, or they may not too for a while, that’s their business choice,” Teitell
told TWICE. “But the more important part from our angle is whether consumers
who own Apple devices will be able to access their UltraViolet collections
using their iPhones, iPads, etc, and we think the answer to that is yes. There
are a lot of apps people use today that are related to third-party
content-distribution services. We believe it’s the case that consumers are
going to be able to access their UltraViolet collections [through these
third-party apps] on their Apple devices.”

Meanwhile, Teitell
said the DECE has added eight member companies this year, expanding its membership
roll to more than 70. The most recent members include AMD, Blockbuster,
Walmart’s Vudu, Nvidia, CyberLink, PacketVideo, SeaChange and Roadshow.