Sony licenses Microsoft's PlayReady DRM

No one really likes DRM, but until Hollywood realizes what we already know -- it is more trouble than it's worth -- it is a fact of life for those who wish to enjoy premium content at home. And in the world of DRM, when it comes to digital distribution, there are two giants; Apple's FairPlay and Microsoft's PlayReady. But while Apple doesn't license its technology to anyone, Microsoft is more than happy to add a name to its long list of licensees. The latest to join that list is Sony, and although we have no idea what said company has in mind, the new Blu-ray players announced at CES will be the first to sport it. Our best guess is that this has something to do with UltraViolet, which seems logical considering the PlayReady is one of the few DRM systems approved by UltraViolet and the CTO of Sony Pictures also happens to be the president of the industry group behind UltraViolet.

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SAN DIEGO –March 18, 2011 – Sony Corporation ("Sony") today announced an agreement to adopt Microsoft PlayReady content protection technology for Sony's network-enabled devices. The first Sony device to include support for Microsoft PlayReady is the Sony Blu-ray Disc™ Player which launched in U.S. this February.

"Sony has been providing customers with new types of network entertainment offerings and as a founding member; Sony has been working to proliferate content protection technology "Marlin" in order to protect copyright owners. Simultaneously, in order to enhance the customer's convenience of access to various network entertainment; Sony has been considering adopting additional content protection technology. We hope to increase customer convenience and enjoyment by adding PlayReady," said Yoshiki Okada, Senior General Manager of Software Design Technology Center, Sony.

"PlayReady is a key technology to help provide consumers with access to a world of high quality content, with great choice and convenience," said Andreas Mueller-Schubert, general manager, Interactive Entertainment Business, Microsoft Corp. "As a global leader in consumer electronics, Sony's adoption of PlayReady in its network access capable devices will further broaden the range of entertainment options for consumers via devices they interact with and enjoy every day."

Microsoft PlayReady is advanced DRM technology that is designed to enable digital entertainment scenarios across devices and software applications, with a specific focus on meeting the needs of content owners, mobile and network operators, service providers, and device manufacturers. Microsoft PlayReady supports a broad range of business models that can be applied to almost any type of digital content, including videos, games and images, and a wide range of audio and video formats, including MPEG Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), AAC+, Enhanced AAC+, H.264, Windows Media Audio (WMA) and Windows Media Video (WMV). Microsoft PlayReady also provides features, such as service domains and embedded licenses, specifically designed to make it easy for consumers to enjoy content on all of their registered devices without the need for an active connection.