The DECE, or Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, is made up of movie studios and tech companies, and is trying to create a way to effectively charge for digital movies. They revealed some future plans today, and they're, um, interesting.
The idea is that when you buy a movie, your rights are digitally stored in a "rights locker," which should theoretically allow you to play your purchased movie on any hardware that supports the DECE standard. Considering that Sony, Microsoft, Cisco, Intel, Best Buy, Nokia, Toshiba, HP and Motorola—but not Disney or Apple—are all on board (and today they added several new members), that could mean a wide range of devices, from set-top boxes to TVs to mobiles—but not iPhones.
There are a bunch of issues with that idea. First, if given the choice, far more people are going to rent a movie than buy one. Movies are different than music, you guys; you rarely re-watch movies, and the DECE proposal has no room for renting. Second, they're trying to make our lives easier, but since this standard is unlikely to be adopted in full force immediately, that means lots more problems: Where do you get these particular movies, without one retailer like Amazon or iTunes? On which devices can you play them? Do you have to pick a hotel based on whether it supports DECE, so you can watch Fantastic Mr. Fox again? Do you have to replace all your current equipment?
And, of course, any solution that's harder to use than what's freely available is not likely to stick around. Ripping a DVD (or Blu-ray) is easy, and you can use the file anywhere—why go to this complicated, proprietary version?