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DECE Becomes UltraViolet

20 Jul, 2010 By: Chris Tribbey


The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) has decided on a consumer brand name: UltraViolet.

UltraViolet aims to complement purchased physical media for consumers by allowing content to be stored online and easily accessible for a broad range of devices and platforms, including connected TVs and set-tops, PCs, gaming consoles, smartphones, tablets and more. Consumers will be able to download, stream or burn a DVD for their content for registered devices registered on the site.

DECE is a cross-industry consortium looking to establish a “buy once, play anywhere” digital locker philosophy for content. In addition to its new name, DECE’s UltraViolet has a new logo, a new website and three new members — LG Electronics, LOVEFiLM and Marvell Semiconducter — bringing its total roster to 58.

“We did an exhaustive search for names, and we found that UltraViolet popped,” said Mitch Singer, DECE president and chief technology officer for Sony Pictures Entertainment. “It fits with the idea of a digital rights locker.”

The group is looking to release technical specifications and licensing details for content and hardware companies this fall. When UltraViolet launches, consumers can visit to create an account and purchase and register content and devices. 

“The introduction of the UltraViolet brand is another important step toward the consumer launch of UltraViolet products and services,” Singer said. “Our goal is to firmly establish UltraViolet as the symbol for digital entertainment, one that gives consumers the freedom of access wherever they are, the confidence of knowing how it will work and the most choice of content, stores and devices.

“Now it’s starting to feel real to everyone. 2010 is going to be a huge year for us. We’re ready to turn this service on. This will be the very first time consumers will have complete control over their content, and I’m excited that we’re getting this off the ground.”

The content is protected by one of five digital rights management solutions — Adobe Flash Access, CMLA-OMA V2, Marlin open standard, Microsoft’s PlayReady and Widevine — alleviating security concerns from content owners, Singer said. Retailers such as Best Buy and Tesco and service providers such as Comcast and Netflix will help facilitate UltraViolet by unlocking content for consumers registered on the site.

Beta testing for the system will commence over the next few months. 

“We have the strongest technical minds working on this, and we’re talking to every company imaginable,” Singer said. “If you look at the roster of companies we have, it’s pretty powerful.”

If all goes well, the logo will begin appearing on DVDs and Blu-ray Discs that handle UltraViolet, in retailers’ store and on consumer electronics devices, possibly by the holiday season.

Richard Bullwinkle, chief evangelist for Rovi Corp., said UltraViolet is a needed companion to physical media.

"I think consumers will take to this concept quite easily, though not all consumers of all ages, and the less techy among us will take some time," he said.

Bullwinkle also praised the system UltraViolet has in place to combat piracy.

"Each copy is different so breaking it once doesn't get one access to other copies," he said.
But he added compatibility with all devices will take time.

"Not all manufacturers will want to adopt this standard and there will be some devices and content sites that implement the standard poorly at first,” he said. “But in a few years it should work very smoothly."

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