Will DECE’s UltraViolet Shine Bright? Or Will Consumers Get Burnt?


DRM has a new name, and that name is “UltraViolet.” Or at least it’s the name of a DRM system championed by the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), which is a consortium of content owners, distributors and technology providers. The group announced the brand name for its “Buy Once, Play Anywhere” digital framework today, along with a website with which consumers will be able to manage content and devices.

Formed nearly two years ago, the goal of DECE is to create a digital storage locker that will allow consumers to buy a piece of content and be able to watch that content on any number of connected devices or portable media players. Now the consortium is finally coming to market with a consumer brand that will be clearly marked on products distributed by participating members.

Along with the UltraViolet brand, the consortium is unveiling a consumer portal for its digital rights locker at uvvu.com. The portal allows consumers to give family members  access to purchased content, register devices to watch that content, and manage Ultraviolet-compliant videos bought from multiple services. While users can access all that information at uvvu.com, retailers will be able to roll out their own branded portals that plug into the UltraViolet rights clearinghouse, allowing consumers to manage content from any participating digital storefront.

By enabling consumers to watch videos across all their devices, the DECE hopes to protect member studios’ content from being ripped or copied while also giving consumers a wider choice of where and how they can access it. But questions remain about how many devices consumers will be able to register to view their purchased content on, as well as how many consumer electronics devices will even support the new standard.

The consortium has yet to announce plans for when the first UltraViolet-enabled consumer electronics devices will be available, or when member companies like Best Buy (s BBY) or Amazon.com (s AMZN) will begin selling digital video content that can be streamed or downloaded by multiple devices. But it’s a good bet that, now that the consortium has settled on a name, we’ll start seeing UltraViolet branding on consumer electronics devices and in digital storefronts by the end of the year, probably in time for the holiday season.

Related content on GigaOM Pro: The Return of DRM (subscription required)



It’s already screwed, because there are two incredibly conspicuous companies missing from the list: Apple and Disney. They are working together on an alternate DRM-locker scheme. Oy Vey.

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