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CinemaNow Expands To USB, VuNow

Sonic Solutions busily expanded its Roxio CinemaNow online video service in July, revealing plans to launch the first 3-D entertainment content offerings online, to launch CinemaNow service on the VuNow Internet TV platform, and to launch CinemaNow content on USB thumb drives through a venture with Widevine.

Sonic’s 3-D entertainment content plans include teaming with Nvidia to deliver 3-D movie content for playback on specially equipped PCs. The 3-D content from Roxio CinemaNow will be optimized for Nvidia GeForce graphics processing units (GPUs) and the Roxio CinemaNow player will support Nvidia 3-D Vision and 3-D Vision-Ready displays, including the Samsung SyncMaster 2233RZ and ViewSonic FuHzion VX2265wm currently in the market for 3-D gaming.

Sonic said the technology is currently available for demonstration purposes, but it plans to eventually provide professional tools for preparing 3-D content for electronic distribution and sell-through services for PC playback.

Sonic Solutions said 3-D movies from CinemaNow will be delivered via the PC, which will decode the content prior to display on both 3-D-ready PC displays and 3-D-ready digital TVs and projectors.

The system will provide a truer 3-D experience than the anaglyph (colored glasses) solutions of the past, Sonic Solutions said.

Sonic also said it is collaborating with consumer electronics manufacturers in order to deliver 3-D content directly to next-generation connected HDTVs and Blu-ray Disc players.

Meanwhile, Mountain View, CA-based Verismo Networks said last week it has added Sonic Solutions’ Roxio CinemaNow content to the VuNow Internet TV platform.

The VuNow platform allows viewers to watch content from the Web on their televisions without having to connect a computer in between.

A palm-sized VuNow Pod facilitates the connection and service access for a wide range of online content resources, including YouTube, live global TV channels, and now CinemaNow movies and video programs.

Then, Sonic Solutions and Widevine revealed a plan to introduce movies on USB flash drives.

The self-contained CinemaNow USB Movie Drives will come with an integrated media player as well as the necessary video codecs to enable instant high-quality PC playback of movie content offline, the companies said in a joint release. Upon connecting to the Internet, users can add the title to a Roxio CinemaNow Digital Locker to access it on other “ecosystem devices.”

Ecosystem devices are said to include PCs, connected TVs, set-top DVRs, Blu-ray Disc players, and mobile media players from such manufacturers such as Archos, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, LG, Microsoft, Nintendo, Pioneer, Samsung and TiVo.

“The flash drives will work in any PC, laptop or netbook,” a Sonic spokesman told TWICE.

Sonic said it expects the first drives to begin appearing at retail in the fourth quarter, with pricing and movie titles to be announced closer to launch.

In order to ensure secure multi-platform playback, Widevine said it is providing Hollywood-approved digital rights management technologies, and the two companies are reportedly collaborating on device-optimized content preparation and delivery.

After the movies are added to the Roxio CinemaNow Digital Locker, they can be viewed on up to four additional CinemaNow-compatible devices. Instead of delivering the same file used for USB playback, a unique file is delivered that has been optimized for the capabilities and display characteristics of the selected device, the companies said.