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Toshiba to Play Cards

25 Sep, 2008 By: Chris Tribbey

Toshiba and technology companies MOD Systems and NCR Corp. have joined forces to try and change how people get their digital media.

Toshiba and NCR will invest $35 million in MOD to develop self-service digital delivery devices whereby consumers can download digital content to Secure Digital (SD) cards and portable devices. Toshiba said it will develop high capacity SD cards, as well as a dedicated set-top box for the home. A firm launch date has not been announced.

“The SD card has the potential to be the lead in the digital world,” said Anthony Bay, executive chairman and co-founder of MOD Systems. “[NCR] has been looking for a year for a partner in the digital realm … The way SD works today, it’s not particularly consumer friendly, and the last thing we felt we needed was another proprietary format. The native DRM in the SD cards allows the studios to feel comfortable with security.”

The financing deal gives Toshiba and NCR minority stakes in MOD. NCR would maintain the self-service systems at retail outlets. MOD’s technology would also allow for DVD burning, content would be stored in a hybrid of online and in-store systems, and at launch more than 4,000 titles will be available in standard definition. The companies aim to add high-def content down the road.

“Digital distribution of content to SD cards offers consumers a convenient, faster, more portable way to buy content and access and use their growing entertainment libraries,” said Yoshihide Fujii, corporate SVP for Toshiba and president and CEO of Toshiba’s Digital Media Network Company. “This investment is key to our strategy for migrating consumers to digital.”

Other companies, including Blockbuster, have stated their interest in pursuing digital delivery on SD cards.

“This technology and initiative have tremendous potential,” said NCR chairman and CEO Bill Nuti. “We continue to see opportunities to extend our experience in self-service to promising new industries like entertainment. Our initiative with MOD Systems is designed to offer consumers one of the fastest, most convenient ways to access high-quality digital entertainment.”

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