Yanks Push for Global ‘Video Everywhere’

American cable and entertainment-industry
executives were roaming the halls at the IBC trade show
last week in Amsterdam, looking to drum up interest in
two Hollywood-led digital video specifications.

The two U.S.-based groups are the Entertainment Identifier Registry, which has developed a system to create
unique IDs for content, and the Digital Entertainment
Content Ecosystem, whose UltraViolet system is designed
to let consumers access video content in their “digital locker”
from anywhere. Both associations have ambitions of
becoming global standards, hence their presence at IBC.

Backers of the Entertainment Identifier Registry were
trying to demonstrate momentum for the coalition’s
content-tracking system and attract new European members.
Last week, EIDR announced that members including
Comcast, The Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros. have
begun to integrate the EIDR IDs into their digital distribution

EIDR, which was announced last year and launched in
January, is designed to be an industry resource for cataloging
commercial digital video and audio assets, such as
movies and TV content. Its creators compare the EIDR IDs
to the Universal Product Code (UPC) for packaged goods.

Other members of EIDR (pronounced “eider”) include
Cox Communications, CableLabs, Rovi, In Demand
Networks, MovieLabs, Deluxe, Universal Pictures, Neustar,
Paramount Pictures, Rentrak, Sony Pictures Entertainment
and the Motion Picture Association of America.

EIDR’s backers are hoping to show momentum behind
the project to try to recruit more members at IBC as well as
at the Entertainment Supply Chain Academy’s ESCA Europe
conference in London later this month.

“We haven’t spent much time focusing on Europe,”
CableLabs vice president and deputy counsel Jud Cary
said. “We want this to become a truly global standard.”

The EIDR coalition is organized as a not-for-profit entity. Rovi initially is contracted to operate the registry database.

Meanwhile, UltraViolet, the DECE’s content-authentication
system, also is looking to use the EIDR system. And
DECE members, too, were at IBC to spread the word about
UltraViolet to hardware manufacturers and service providers.

Last week, in another step toward the commercial
launch of UltraViolet-based products and services, digital-video engineering services firm
Solekai Systems announced a contract with DECE to develop a suite of verification tests for
device manufacturers to ensure conformance to the spec.

San Diego-based Solekai is working with DECE to design
and develop certain parts of the UltraViolet technology
infrastructure including a set of Common File Format
(CFF) generation and verification tools. “We wanted to be
in there as an expert on the DECE specifications,” Solekai
president and founder Martin Caniff said.

The first consumer-electronics products for UltraViolet — a cross-industry
eff ort to let consumers access purchased content from a
digital “locker” using multiple devices — are expected to
make their debut at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show
this January in Las Vegas.
UltraViolet-enabled DVDs are expected to begin hitting the market before the end of the year.

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