Six major studios to distribute UltraViolet titles by mid year, hardware to come later

Some days our dream of being able to watch anything, anywhere, anytime, and on any screen seems like it'll never happen, but other days are like today. Yes, today every major studio, except Disney, announced that it would start distributing movies that will work with any UltraViolet devices, software or services. We learned on the Engadget HD podcast that this means that if you buy a movie one way (DVD, VOD, hotel PPV, whatever) you can view it on just about any other without paying again. PC software and updates for existing devices are expected to start rolling out later this year -- so much for launching in 2010 -- but we'll have to wait for CES next year to learn about all our gadgets that can't, or won't, be updated. Of course the dream will only come true if everyone and everything agrees to play, and while we're a long way away from finding out if our media consumption fantasy will ever come true, the list of 60 companies that have already pledged their allegiance is a who's who among media and electronics giants.

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Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) Completes Design of UltraViolet™, Paving the Way for Consumers to Enjoy Digital Entertainment Across Multiple Platforms

Top Executives from DECE Member Companies to Appear on Panel at the Consumer Electronics Show to Discuss the Future of Home Entertainment in the Digital World

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) LLC,, a cross-industry consortium dedicated to creating a consumer-friendly open market for digital content distribution, today announced a series of milestones in the development and availability of UltraViolet™. The milestones include a roadmap for introducing UltraViolet content, services and devices to consumers beginning in mid-2011; planned expansion to the United Kingdom and Canada; and the release of technical specifications for evaluation by potential licensees.

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UltraViolet will allow consumers to purchase digital content and watch it wherever, whenever. Consumers who purchase UltraViolet entertainment will have an easy and consistent way to watch film and television content across multiple branded platforms, such as computers, connected TVs, game consoles, smartphones and tablets. The UltraViolet name and logo will help identify content, devices and services from a spectrum of familiar entities – including studios, retailers, consumer electronics manufacturers, cable companies, ISPs and other service providers – that will work together.

"Today's announcement that UltraViolet is ready shows that the entertainment and technology communities have made good on their promise to give the world a new, user-friendly digital standard for collecting movies and TV shows in the digital age," said Mark Teitell, general manager of DECE. "In the coming months, consumers will hear exciting news from DECE Member companies and other UltraViolet licensees about a host of interoperable products and services, ushering in a new era of choice, confidence and freedom in digital entertainment."

This evening at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, high level representatives from DECE Member companies will come together for the first time to discuss the future of home entertainment for consumers and for businesses. The panel will take place at 5:00 p.m. (PST) in Room LVCCS221, and will feature top executives, such as:

Chris Homeister, senior vice president and general manager, Home Entertainment Group, Best Buy
Peter Levinsohn, president, New Media and Digital Distribution, Fox Filmed Entertainment
Blair Westlake, corporate vice president of the Media & Entertainment Group, Microsoft Corporation
JB Perrette, president, Digital and Affiliate Distribution, NBC Universal
Lisa Hook, President and Chief Executive Officer, Neustar
Tae-Jin (TJ) Kang, senior vice president, Media Solution Center, Samsung Electronics
John Calkins, executive vice president, Global Digital and Commercial Innovation, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Thomas Gewecke, president, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution

DECE today announced the following key milestones:

The UltraViolet Experience

Through the UltraViolet Account system, each household will be able to create an account for up to six members who can access the household's UltraViolet movies, TV and other entertainment via participating retailers, streaming providers and devices. Consumers will also be able to register up to 12 devices so UltraViolet content can be easily downloaded to those devices, or shared among them. In addition to these UltraViolet devices, UltraViolet streaming access will enable consumers to access their collections via set-top boxes and most places they can access the web, via computers, web-connected home video devices such as Blu-ray players and Internet TVs, and mobile apps for smartphones and tablets. Also, the UltraViolet Account will enable retailers to provide consumers with a copy to use on DVD players or other physical media, such as portable flash memory.

Technical Specifications and Licensing Program

After a rigorous development process which brought together engineering and product management experts from the world's leading technology and entertainment brands, DECE has released an evaluation suite of technical specifications for the UltraViolet ecosystem. These include:

DECE Common File Format - video files are encoded and encrypted just once, but used by multiple compliant DRMs. This offers substantial efficiency improvements for the industry, while allowing consumers to transfer UltraViolet movie and TV show files to any of their registered UltraViolet-compliant devices, regardless of brand
Technical Design Specifications for Each Major Category of Company - spanning content providers, retailers, streaming services, device and application providers and digital distribution infrastructure providers

DECE's UltraViolet licensing program will allow companies to use the technical specifications, interact with the UltraViolet Account infrastructure via a suite of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and use the UltraViolet logo for promotion and marketing of UltraViolet content and devices.

In addition to use within UltraViolet, to achieve the highest possible efficiency gain for the industry, DECE intends to make the Common File Format widely available for use in other areas of video content preparation and delivery. Details of this will be confirmed in the coming months.

UltraViolet Account System Infrastructure Availability

Based on the technical specifications and licensing program announced today, studios, distributors, device and application makers and other participants can now begin developing UltraViolet-based offerings for consumers. The UltraViolet Account system infrastructure, which was developed by Neustar and is now operational, will be fully available to support the launch of UltraViolet products and services in mid-2011.

Roadmap for Consumer Rollout

As an industry group, DECE has focused on defining the branded UltraViolet experience that is consistent for users, as well as developing the technical specifications for licensing, and creating the UltraViolet Account system – all announced today. Market deployment of these capabilities now shifts to individual companies, and this roadmap for consumer rollout is based on expectations and subject the to specific rollout plans of UltraViolet licensees.

Beginning in mid-2011, DECE Member companies and other UltraViolet licensees are expected to introduce UltraViolet products and services. Initial offerings will gradually expand to include a slate of UltraViolet titles from studios for purchase through a growing roster of retailers, either electronically or as digital copies included with Blu-ray Disc or DVD purchases. Initially, UltraViolet retailers will enable consumers to use downloaded copies on many devices they already own. Additionally, initial streaming services will allow consumers to access their UltraViolet collections via websites or linked devices, like set-top boxes, Internet-connected Blu-ray Disc players, smartphones and tablets.

Later in 2011, UltraViolet-optimized media player apps will begin to roll out via software updates to PCs, game consoles and smart mobile devices that consumers already own, as well as on new devices for sale. In early 2012, the first designed-for-UltraViolet consumer electronics devices are expected to become available. These devices will be immediately compatible with UltraViolet; potential offerings include connected Blu-ray Disc players, set-top boxes, Internet TVs and other devices.

International Expansion (United Kingdom and Canada in 2011)

The UltraViolet Account system infrastructure that is now operational will initially be available for use by consumers in the United States. DECE plans to begin operations in the U.K. and Canada later in 2011, with deployment timelines for additional international markets expected to be announced in the coming months.

New DECE Members

DECE announced that several additional companies have joined the group in recent months, including Akamai Technologies, Arxan Technologies, BSkyB, Dell, Fanhattan, Fujitsu and QuickPlay Media Inc. DECE now includes more than 60 Members across entertainment, software, hardware, retail, infrastructure and delivery.

New Consumer Website

As of today, the UltraViolet website,, has been updated to provide a resource for educating consumers on the benefits they can expect to reap from UltraViolet. The new website also includes access to press materials.

About Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) LLC

The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) LLC is a cross-industry initiative developing the next generation digital media experience, UltraViolet. UltraViolet is based on open, licensable specifications and is designed by DECE to create a viable, global digital marketplace. DECE is currently made up of Adobe, Akamai Technologies, Alcatel-Lucent, Arxan Technologies Best Buy, British Sky Broadcasting Limited, BT, CableLabs, Catch Media, Cineplex Entertainment, Cisco, Comcast, Cox Communications, CSG Systems' Content Direct, Dell, Deluxe Digital, Dolby Laboratories, DTS, Fanhattan, FilmFlex, Fox Entertainment, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Huawei Technologies, IBM, Intel, Irdeto, LG Electronics, Liberty Global, Lionsgate, LOVEFiLM, Marvell Semiconductor, Microsoft, MOD Systems, Motorola Mobility, Nagravision, NBC Universal, NDS Group, Netflix, Neustar, Nokia, Panasonic, Paramount Pictures, Philips, QuickPlay Media Inc., RIAA, Red Bee Media, Rovi, Saffron Digital, Samsung Electronics, Sonic Solutions, Sony, Switch Communications, Technicolor, Tesco, Toshiba, Verance, Verimatrix, VeriSign, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Widevine Technologies Inc. and Zoran . DECE's new digital media specifications, logo program and interoperable digital rights locker will enable consumers to purchase digital video content from a choice of online retailers and play it on a variety of branded devices and platforms from different manufacturers. For more information, please visit