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With the number of devices supporting IP video continues to expand, content creators are seeking ways to reach consumers on as many screens and as many devices as possible. That’s the impetus behind cable’s TV Everywhere initiative, as well as Hollywood’s new UltraViolet video format. In order to cater to these customers, Akamai (s AKAM) is rolling out new capabilities to its HD Network for video distribution that will make it even easier for content owners to securely distribute content to nearly any device.
While Warner Bros. (s TWX) has spearheaded the launch of UltraViolet-enabled movie titles through the launch of its Flixster applications, the promise of allowing viewers to buy a movie once and stream or download it from multiple retailer websites or applications has yet to fully catch on. That’s why Akamai, which provides content distribution services to a number of different studios and media companies, believes it is well positioned to offer up a solution that provides an easier way to make UltraViolet movies available. Ahead of CES, Akamai is announcing that it has integrated with the UltraViolet Coordinator, which controls access to the digital rights locker and manages entitlements and other information around which movies consumers have bought.
The Akamai for UltraViolet product is designed to connect with the digital rights locker and offer up storage, security and delivery of UltraViolet-enabled digital assets. The idea is to create a common reference point that studios and retailers can point to whenever a consumer tries to access an UltraViolet title. Akamai is pitching the studios first, since they are moving quickly to make these services available.
But as time goes on, and digital storefronts from the likes of Walmart’s Vudu, (s WMT) Best Buy’s CinemaNow (s BBY) or Amazon Prime Video (s AMZN) begin supporting the digital rights initiative, having a unified storage and delivery point will simplify access to, and distribution of, UltraViolet movies. That’s because those retailers won’t necessarily have to duplicate the process by storing and managing their own copies of the files — they’ll be able to point to those already under Akamai’s control. That could make things a lot more efficient for everyone involved.
Akamai is also announcing that it’s adding new security features to its HD network to ensure that content owners and retailers can distribute video assets to multiple devices. Akamai’s SecureHD offering provides four layers of protection, including token authorization, player verification, media encryption and content targeting. With those features in place, media customers will be able to optimize their security protection based on the capabilities of the device, while providing the best playback experience regardless of whatever tablet, mobile handset or connected TV that viewers are watching a piece of content on.
Finally, the content delivery network is simplifying the process of streaming on its HD Network by selecting HTTP as its default delivery method and integrating Adobe’s HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS)(s ADBE) functionality into its product offering. As a result, customers can take advantage of HTTP streaming without having to make changes to their existing Adobe Flash workflow. The Akamai HD Network also supports Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) (s AAPL) and Microsoft’s Smooth Streaming (s MSFT) protocols.