The Secure Content Storage Association (SCSA) wants to make it easier for consumers to share downloaded 4K Ultra HD and HD content across multiple devices.
The technology, called Vidity, would enable consumers to store, copy, play and share downloaded digital files among such devices as laptops, smartphones and tablets. The technology could also be used in Ultra HD Blu-ray players, the first of which are expected to be available late this year or early next.
The Los Angeles-based organization released licensing specifications today to companies that sign the SCSA adopter agreement.
Current SCSA members Samsung, Fox, Seagate, Western Digital and MGO already offer Vidity-compatible products with support for 4K UHD and HDR (high dynamic range) content, SCSA said. With licensing of complete specifications available for the first time, Vidity-equipped products can now be made available to consumers to support such capabilities as copying and moving content between devices as well as “other cross-platform playback capabilities,” the group said.
Compared to other content-sharing technologies, Vidity doesn’t require consumers to log into accounts or connect to the Internet for playback, the group noted.
For its part, the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) recently began licensing the technology for Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray players and discs, and the specs allow for an optional “digital bridge” that could incorporate SCSA technology. The optional bridge would let users make a local bit-for-bit copy of a disc, if authorized by the content creator, in a player’s embedded memory or on a connected USB drive, BDA executive Dan Schinasi previously told TWICE. The BDA’s U.S. promotions committee chair said the bridge would let users view content on other TVs, tablets, laptops and the like, and the discs and players could support SCSA options.
David Huerta, the SCSA’s GM and executive director, offered additional Vidity details in response to TWICE questions:
Is this technology part of the 4K Blu-ray spec?
No. Vidity is separate from Blu-ray technology, though they can be compatible and complementary.
We are announcing Vidity’s download functionality, which allows content to be moved, stored, and played back on any Vidity-compliant device at any time, separate from any other solution or ecosystem. A Vidity title purchase comes with multiple files that can be used simultaneously on different devices along with the ability to move and copy those files.
Is Vidity also targeted to streaming services?
We are announcing Vidity’s download functionality, though it can be compatible and complementary to streaming.
Vidity titles could be Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray discs?
This is an independent studio decision, but it is possible now for studios to offer Vidity title rights with a Blu-ray disc as is done for today’s digital combo packs.
How would you share? Would you stream over Wi-Fi to a tablet or smart TV in the house?
Sharing can be done in several ways. Vidity can be played on any Vidity device without need for device activation – it’s that simple. Also, if a Vidity device is on your home LAN or stored or your home NAS, a Vidity device will be able to see and locally stream that title without the file being physically on the device playing the content back. No need for an Internet connection.
Could you copy to a USB stick, USB HDD, or direct to a laptop via USB?
Vidity content can be copied to any Vidity internal or external storage product (for example, USB, HDD, NAS, SD, MicorSD, NAND, SSD, etc).
What’s the limit on the number of copies that can be made available?
There is a minimum number of copies that are required to be made available that will be disclosed in the specifications. However, a content provider can always choose to provide more.
A tablet or smartphone could be made Vidity-compatible via a Vidity app?
Yes, a tablet or smartphone can be made compatible via a Vidity-compliant app. There are different levels of playback capabilities based on the playback device’s capabilities, which currently include SD and low-bit-rate HD, full-bit-rate 1080P, 4K UHD, and 4K UHD HDR (high dynamic range).
SCSA is a consortium of entertainment and storage-industry companies founded in January 2012 by 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, SanDisk, and Western Digital. SCSA develops technologies to make it easier consumers to purchase, transfer and view copy-protected content across multiple electronic devices.
More than 50 contributor companies have joined the SCSA since 2012, including Samsung Electronics, Walmart, Qualcomm, LG Electronics, Xiaomi Technology, Comcast, Intel, Sky UK, Cisco Systems, Sprint, Broadcom, ARM Holdings, MStar Semiconductor, ST Micro, MediaTek, and Realtek Semiconductor. Security firm Cryptography Research, a division of Rambus Inc., is a special advisor.