Parks Associates Blog

Friday, July 23, 2010

DECE unveils the UltraViolet consumer brand

The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) consortium has announced its UltraViolet consumer brand. The goal of UltraViolet is to allow consumers to watch their digital entertainment across multiple platforms, such as connected TVs, PCs, game consoles, smartphones and tablet PCs, in an easy, consistent way. Since all UltraViolet offerings will work together, consumers will be able to select which products and devices they prefer from a spectrum of familiar companies – ranging from major studios to consumer electronics companies to cable, web and other service providers. In addition, the UltraViolet name and logo will help identify entertainment products and services designed to work together seamlessly.

In yesterday's Webcast on "TV Everywhere," I hypothesized that a "digital locker" solution such as UltraViolet (or perhaps something proprietary to the operator) would be a key in extending the concept of TV Everywhere from mere cable channel repllication to what I've termed "VoD 2.0," where operators create storefronts and are selling VoD downloads that can then be accessed on a variety of consumer electronics platforms. Eventually, I would expect that the concept of TV Everywhere then morphs into "Content Everywhere," where we see cloud-based solutions hosting a variety of content - from user-generated to professional (including games, e-books, music, etc.). But are the service providers on board with DECE? Although there are operators and service provider-related entities on DECE (CableLabs, Comcast, Cox, and Liberty Global), the comments I've read in news reports about the UltraViolet announcement are pretty noncommital about its use.

In a post that I wrote after our CONNECTIONS™ 2010 event, where we had Mitch Singer (CTO of Sony Pictures and president of DECE) speak, I had expressed some concern about whether DECE would get traction with the service provider community. We heard concerns from service providers during CONNECTIONS™ that DECE's goal of limiting the number of video formats available would limit their ability to compete on higher and higher quality content. If a service provider is going to spend billions of dollars to upgrade their network to fiber or DOCSIS 3.0, shouldn’t they have the option of providing a very high-quality format that cannot be easily replicated by an over-the-top provider?

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