Autonomic to Support UltraViolet Content in Movie Servers
Autonomic appears to be first with high-end consumer media server that stores, streams Ultraviolet-enabled DVDs and Blu-rays. "Lawsuits and disc carousels are bad for business."
CEDIA Expo 2012 will mark the debut of UltraViolet to the custom electronics industry. Autonomic Controls will introduce the DRM service to its MMS-5AV Mirage Media Server, and enabling users to manage and playback their DVD and Blu-ray collections on multiple devices … and enjoy all of the streaming content already supported by the server.
“The industry needs a legal way to store movies in the cloud and on a server. Lawsuits and disc carousels are bad for business,” says Autonomic principal Michael de Nigris, referring to the legal battles between Kaleidescape and the DVD CCA over DVD copying (and before that, RealDVD and other DVD ripping products).
For Blu-ray copying, Kaleidescape requires a disc carousel that authenticates the presence of a disc for playback, per the rules of the licensing authority AACS. UltraViolet (also known as Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, or DECE) is expected to put an end to all of that.
Made famous recently by Walmart’s new Disc-to-Digital service for Vudu, UltraViolet is an industry supported solution for maintaining a cloud-based or local digital movie collection, enabling users to manage and playback their content on multiple devices.
Consumers can buy UltraViolet-enabled titles on DVDs and Blu-rays, or download them from online merchants including Amazon and Best Buy. Or, they can take existing titles to Walmart to add them to their libraries. Up to five accounts can be associated with a single movie collection.
The beauty of Autonomic’s solution is that it takes all of the user’s content stored in the cloud or locally, aggregates them with content streamed from most of the popular online services, and wraps them into a tidy user interface for easy access via handheld device or TV.
Oddly, none of the media server manufacturers in the custom electronics channel are really talking about UltraViolet. Like Autonomic, Kaleidescape is an Ultraviolet licensee but has yet to announce any plans for it. The company is also a member of the UV organization that works together to create the framework for the ecosystem. Perhaps we will also see something from them at CEDIA?
[Note: A correction was made to indicate that Kaleidescape is a UV licensee and to correct the fact that Blu-rays, not DVDs, are required for playback in the Kaleidescape ecosystem.]
When CE Pro got wind of this announcement from Autonomic, we had a few questions for de Nigris:
What have been the barriers to UV adoption thus far, especially in the custom installation channel?
For manufacturers, there are licensing and technical barriers – the usual stuff. You’ll see some follow us however, I’m sure.
For dealers, it may be that there are no high-end devices that can download the content from the cloud; current devices just stream it. Streaming can be limited by bandwidth and may result in a lower quality presentation, or delays in starting – that’s not the high-end, reliable custom experience dealers and consumers want.
Another barrier is that the UltraViolet library, while very large and growing, is not the entire universe of movies. Our devices will aggregate UV titles, iTunes content, and any other ripped content on the network to create a consolidated library.
We’re hearing nightmares about UV implementation by Walmart. Is it a nightmare?
Thankfully, it’s a one-time event. Going forward, disc purchases can be registered at home by the consumer very easily. Simply make digital purchases from participating retailers and online services like Amazon, Vudu and Flickster. It’s automatic.
Our industry is all about high-quality content. Is it true that UV doesn’t support the highest resolution bit rates?
Note true. The UV specification is format agnostic. As an official licensee, our devices have access to the highest resolution that the movie studio provides to the UV ecosystem. It’s not a [bit-for-bit] copy of the Blu-ray, but that doesn’t really matter. Market pressure and competition will cause the studios to provide full resolution, HD copies.
Case in point, here’s a small sampling of recent releases that I’ve been able to verify in five minutes as being available in full 1080P to own or rent via UV.
Friends With Benefits
The Hangover Part II
Contagion (Jan. 3)
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (Jan. 3)
Moneyball (Jan. 10)
Killer Elite (Jan. 10)
Scorpion King 3: Battle For Redemption (Jan. 10)
The Ides of March (Jan. 17)
Courageous (Jan. 17)
The Thing (Jan. 31)
Drive (Jan. 31)
Honey 2 (Feb. 21)
Also, if there are titles not available in UV in HD (like Disney) keep in mind that our device will work and aggregate 1080p iTunes content or movies that have been ripped to a network drive (not by our device).
Any particularly interesting value propositions for integrators?
For the existing library, integrators should provide a service to go to Walmart and get the collection converted. Additionally, retailers other than Walmart will be able to offer the service too. We’re looking into determining what the requirements are for converting physical libraries and will communicate what we find to our dealers and assist them however possible.
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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