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Consortium seeks common download standard

15 сентября 2008

A consortium of some of the biggest media and technology companies is planning a common set of downloading standards to boost sales of handheld devices and web-based content, such as movies and music.

Sony, Microsoft, Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers Entertainment are among the companies that have joined the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), which plans to develop a specification that works across different online services and devices.

Apple, the biggest seller of online music and video content, has not joined the consortium.

Neither has Walt Disney, which has Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, on its board, although every other large Hollywood studio has signed up.

Mitch Singer, president of the DECE, said the group was trying to respond to consumer needs by removing some of the confusion about web downloading. “We want to enable a single, uniform experience,” he told the Financial Times.

Most internet content is protected by digital rights management (DRM) software that restricts which devices it can be played on. Apple owns its own proprietary DRM software, which means that the content it sells on its iTunes store can only play on iPods and other Apple devices.

“I’m not sure that the absence of Apple is a negative to what we’re trying to achieve,” said Mr Singer. “Apple is a very good ecosystem that will continue to sell content. What we’re focusing on is a different type of consumer that really wants more choice.”

Devices and websites compatible with the set of agreed standards will bear a new logo.

Mr Singer said this would make it easier for consumers to understand what they were buying. The consortium was taking the “lessons learned from the successful ‘buy once, play anywhere’ experience that we enjoy with CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray today”.

The new standards will also allow consumers that have paid for content to access it remotely, via a “rights locker”, he added. “You will be able to stream your content to enabled devices in the same way that you can share photos on the internet. Why shouldn’t that same concept also apply to movies?”

DECE has attracted a range of companies from across the technology, retailing and media industries. Alcatel-Lucent, HP, Cisco, Intel and Toshiba have all signed up. Fox Entertainment Group, Lionsgate and Verisign, the internet security group, have also joined.

Nico Popp, vice-president of innovation at Verisign, stressed the open credentials of the consortium. “If you look at the market place, open [standards] always win. There’s a big demand for consumption of content online waiting to be unleashed. We want to tap into that … the more successful we are the more people will want to participate.”

Источник: Financial Times

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