Neustar Media this week turned over the final version of the digital rights management system developed for the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem consortium, paving the way for a consumer launch of the group's UltraViolet cross-platform video service later in 2011.
UltraViolet is designed to let someone buy a piece of digital media once and then download or stream it to different devices after logging into an account. The Neustar Media Cloud Service handles account management, authentication, device management and digital rights management for UltraViolet.
"We'll be in a position as soon as Aug. 1 to go out to consumers, but safe to say by Q4 we'll be ready for a consumer launch," Neustar Media vice president and general manager Tim Dodd said.
DECE's members include five of the six major Hollywood studios -- Fox Entertainment Group, Warner Bros. Entertainment, NBC Universal, Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment -- along with such cable-industry players as Comcast, Cox Communications, CableLabs, Motorola and Cisco Systems. Others include Netflix, Best Buy, IBM, Microsoft, Panasonic and Toshiba.
Two noteworthy players not participating in DECE are Apple and Walt Disney Co.
UltraViolet, which its creators have described as akin to the banking industry's ATM settlement systems, is primarily an effort by movie studios to replace the hole left behind by falling DVD sales. But it could also enable new "VOD Everywhere" business models, such as letting cable providers sell videos to customers rather than just renting on-demand access.
About a year ago, DECE expected the system to be ready and finished with testing by the end of 2010.
Dodd said that Neustar actually was about four months ahead of schedule in delivering the service. "We got the final specs about a month ago," he said. "We had teams work around the clock, across the globe, to get it finished."
On June 27, Neustar submitted a candidate release of the UltraViolet Digital Rights Locker and Coordinator technology to DECE for final beta testing. Dodd said about six DECE member companies will be testing out the platform over the next several weeks; he declined to identify those companies.
The UltraViolet specifications encompass just under 100 application programming interfaces, including APIs for account creation, account linking, placement of an asset into a locker and DRM management. UltraViolet is compliant with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA), a federal law designed to ensure privacy and safety of kids under 13 online, to enforce age restrictions on movie titles.
DECE provides more information on UltraViolet at uvvu.com (spoken as "you view"). While it's intended as a framework for transactional, purchased media, UltraViolet could also be applied as the underlying authentication mechanism for "TV Everywhere" services that are subscription-based.
Sterling, Va.-based Neustar currently operates the directories for telephone-number portability in North America.
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