Industry Leaders Developing "Buy Once, Play Anywhere" Standard For Digital Media

Illustration for article titled Industry Leaders Developing "Buy Once, Play Anywhere" Standard For Digital Media

Many of the big guns in Hollywood, technology and retailing have joined forces to create the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) LLC—a consortium focused on building "a new digital media framework using industry standards" that will "enable consumers to acquire and play content across a wide range of services and devices." In a nutshell, the DECE hopes to create a system where users can download content, playback that content on compliant branded products and possibly store that media in a "virtual library" to be accessed at home or on the road. Unfortunately, I see a few problems with all of this. First of all, this isn't the first time a consortium like this has been established. For example: The Secure Digital Music Initiative was formed in 1998 only to die a horrible death a few years later. Second, I don't see any mention of Apple on the list of participants—but I do see Comcast on there. You know, the same ISP enforcing 250GB data caps on its subscribers. So they are all for unlimited access to long as you keep it within reason. It doesn't seem to be viable to me in its current form, but I will withhold judgment until the full details are revealed in January at CES.

Industry Leaders to Create Global Standard Enabling "Buy Once, Play Anywhere" Consumer Experience for Digital Media Major Hollywood studios, retailers, service providers, and consumer electronics and IT companies to develop framework for bringing together digital products, content and services for consumers LOS ANGELES (September 12, 2008) – Today, an international and cross-industry group of more than 20 leading companies announced the formation of a consortium, Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) LLC ("DECE LLC"), that will define and build a new digital media framework using industry standards, and will enable consumers to acquire and play content across a wide range of services and devices. Anchored by Alcatel-Lucent, Best Buy, Cisco, Comcast, Fox Entertainment Group, HP, Intel, Lionsgate, Microsoft, NBC Universal, Paramount Pictures, Philips, Sony, Toshiba, VeriSign and Warner Bros. Entertainment, DECE LLC will address growing consumer confusion around buying, downloading and playing digital content offered by multiple services by working toward a simple, uniform digital media experience. "This is great news for consumers hungry for access to a wider array of digital content they can enjoy on any device they own. We formed this consortium to give consumers that kind of power and choice," said Mitch Singer, president of DECE LLC, on behalf of its members. "To open up the market for digital distribution, we are developing a specification that connects a wide variety of services and devices. DECE LLC is taking the lessons learned from the successful "buy once, play anywhere" experience that we enjoy with CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray today, and using a similar approach in developing the next generation digital media experience." Over time, DECE LLC will issue a licensable specification, along with a recognizable brand and logo for compliant products and services that will assure consumers that content they download will play on their devices. The specification, based on industry standards, will outline the hardware and software requirements for companies to follow as they define new consumer experiences. The specification will also define how consumers can enjoy their purchased content on an assortment of devices, or even remotely, thereby creating the convenience of a virtual library, accessible in the home or on the road. By offering consumers the same level of confidence and comfort with digital content that they feel today with physical media, DECE LLC believes it can bring real value to digital content. As DECE LLC moves ahead, it will continue to seek broader industry support across the content, software, hardware, retailer and service provider sectors, and will issue more information around its development and release plans.



As much as hippies and cheapskates don't like DRM, it really does serve a legitimate purpose - that is, it protects the intellectual property rights of whoever is selling the DRM'd media. Granted, its current implementation leaves very much to be desired, and from a consumer perspective, DRM-free does look much nicer, but it is nevertheless a necessary evil.

With a good stroke of luck, this might just become a major step towards making a DRM format that every company is happy with, works on all of the devices a given consumer may own, and allows for re-downloading of already purchased content.

Personally, I'd love it if there would be an international treaty to give everyone a global ID linked to all the commercial services they're using, as it'd instantly become very easy for DRM to be tied to one given person, no matter where they are or what devices they're using, among many other nice conveniences. Of course, then you'd get militant libertarians, end-time Christians, and paranoid schizophrenics alike up in arms, making a lot of head-splitting ruckus. Can't have something for nothing, I guess.