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Vidity on a Roll as Ultra HD Business Takes Off

28 Sep, 2015 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Vidity is on a roll.

The technology, developed by the Secure Content Storage Association (SCSA), offers consumers the chance to store and move digital content, including Ultra HD files, around from device to device, from the biggest home theater system to the tiniest smartphone.

And observers expect demand for the technology to soar, now that Ultra HD is rapidly ramping up. Ultra HD, of course, is the much-ballyhooed next-generation viewing format, with four times the resolution and 64 times as many colors as HD. Will it take over? It already is taking over — to the point where Strategy Analytics projects that by 2020, less than five years from now, Ultra HD will account for 61% of annual TV sales. And that’s no pie-in-the-sky number; rather, it’s based on a survey of consumers conducted just last month.

"Ultra HD is rapidly becoming a de facto standard in the large-screen TV market," said David Watkins, director of connected home devices for Strategy Analytics. "As prices fall, tier one vendors like Samsung, LG and Sony are now looking to entice customers with enhanced UHD TVs which add wider color gamut and high dynamic range capabilities."

Vidity promises to benefit from this boom as well as further it. That’s because Vidity can be enabled to make it easy for consumers to access the Ultra HD movies they buy, either on a physical disc or as an electronic download, and easily move it around, from device to device — without an Internet connection or cumbersome passwords to type in, or concerns about buffering or other streaming issues.

The key to Vidity is that it’s platform agnostic, durable, future proof and ensures a high level of consumer experience and ease of use. It bridges the complexities of interoperability and compatibility across devices. It’s a standardized solution that takes advantage of technological advances in chipsets, operating systems and devices — from smartphones to tablets to computers to smart TVs — to enable the best possible digital entertainment experience without getting in the way of the experience and requiring the consumer to have a Ph.D. just to figure out how to make it work.

The industry is certainly gearing up its Ultra HD push — and Vidity plays right into that exciting new and improved way to watch movies. At IFA Berlin earlier this month and IBC, Nandhu Nandhakumar, SVP of advanced technology at LG Electronics, showed a preproduction prototype of an LG Vidity player device and tablet linked to a Western Digital My Passport Cinema 4K Ultra HD movie storage hard drive with HDR functionality. Both the hard drive and player devices conform to the Vidity platform and showcased cross device interoperability and accessibility, Nandhakumar said. The player device draws the content from the hard drive and “plays it over a secure HDMI 2.0a connection to the TV,” he said. LG said the player will be available in the first quarter of next year.

Also at IFA, Samsung announced the industry’s first Ultra HD Blu-ray Player, which supports HDR content and can play UHD Blu-ray at up to 60 frames per second. The player will also upscale standard Blu-ray Discs to UHD quality and, in line with the versatile nature of recent Blu-ray players, will also be able to stream 4K content as it becomes available. The Ultra HD Blu-ray player is expected to launch in early 2016.

The Samsung announcement included a presentation from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment president Mike Dunn, who vowed the studio’s support on the software side, saying the studio will release upcoming movies on Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc on the same day as standard Blu-ray and Digital HD. The studio will also go back and reissue recent films in Ultra HD, including Kingsman: The Secret Service, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Life of Pi and Fantastic Four.

These are two leading companies that are also supporting Vidity with product already in the market, and one can only hope that this “coincidence” will lead to the ultimate offering of UHD Blu-ray with Vidity Digital Bridge capabilities. This would eliminate any download wait times and provide the ultimate viewing experience, flexibility and control. Vidity should be embraced by all the major studios and made available with Blu-ray Discs or Ultra HD. Full eco-system support of Vidity would provide consumers with the best possible offering, giving them a reason to want to collect and own titles again.    

That would really maximize Ultra HD’s potential for the studio’s home entertainment divisions.

Indeed, Vidity could be likened to the glue that holds it all together. Ultimately, with one purchase, the consumer could get not only the highest-quality Ultra HD file, but also HD and SD files, for viewing on less advanced devices like the bedroom TV or the older tablet you’ve handed down to your youngest son — you know, the one with the cracked screen. And since the content lives locally — on your hard drive, thumb drive or SD card — they would be instantly accessible, just like any JPEG or movie clip of Junior’s birthday party.

Vidity’s value chain can affect everyone in the home entertainment ecosystems in a positive manner.

The consumer can get to enjoy the highest-quality viewing experience imaginable, along with ease of use and the ability to move purchased content around from device to device. The file may be big, up to 60GB, but once it is downloaded from the Internet or hopefully copied over from the Blu-ray Disc it stays in the consumer’s actual possession.

The retailer can provide customers with the best-possible viewing experience for a variety of playback platforms, all with a single purchase, either on a disc or as a download.

The studio gets a mechanism that can fuel Ultra HD movie and TV show purchases, with the value proposition to the consumer that whatever is bought is both backwards compatible and forward facing. Vidity also enables new business models and encourages digital content collection.

And technology companies — well, for them, Vidity can open doors to Hollywood, a way to bring new business models and technology advances into the lucrative home entertainment food chain.



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