Sony Shines UltraViolet On Smurfs, Justin Timberlake

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in December will release Blu-Ray Disc versions of The Smurfs and Friends With Benefits, a romantic comedy starring Justin Timberlake, which will be among the first UltraViolet-enabled products on the market.

At this point, though, it's not clear which UltraViolet devices or services will be available -- if any -- to let consumers take advantage of the new system when the Sony titles hit stores Dec. 2.

UltraViolet is a "digital locker" system designed by the Hollywood-led Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem to let users access their movies and TV content through any UltraViolet-compatible service or device, such as PCs, tablets, cable set-tops and smartphones. It's supposed to work the way ATM networks clear transactions among banks.

DECE's 70-plus members include Sony and four of the six other major Hollywood studios -- Fox Entertainment Group, Warner Bros. Entertainment, NBCUniversal and Paramount Pictures -- as well as Comcast, Cox, CableLabs, Motorola, Cisco Systems, SeaChange International, Netflix, Dish Network's Blockbuster, Best Buy and Wal-Mart's Vudu. Two notable players not participating in DECE are Apple and Disney.

For now, though, Sony is the only DECE member to officially have announced an UltraViolet product.

The first consumer-electronics products for UltraViolet are expected to make their debut at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show this January in Las Vegas.

In July, DECE officially launched its licensing program after Neustar Media completed the final version of the network-based digital rights management system for UltraViolet. Engineering services firm Solekai Systems is developing certification tests for UltraViolet devices.