Media Group to Create New Digital Video Ecosystem

LOS ANGELES(Reuters) – A group of media industry companies said it is planning tobuild a digital world where video devices and content websites playtogether in perfect harmony, and consumers can safely store theirdigital content and access it anywhere in the world.

The consortium of Hollywood studios, retailers, service providers,and consumer electronics and information technology companies, calledthe Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, or DECE, is working on a"uniform digital media experience" but won’t announce details until theConsumer Electronics Show in January.

The consortium said it will call for interoperability of devices andwebsites, and usage rules that allow consumers to copy content ontohousehold playback devices and to burn their content to physical media,DECE President Mitch Singer said.

The plan also would provide customers a "rights locker" or virtuallibrary where consumers’ digital video purchases would be stored forretrieval in a manner similar to accessing an email account, Singersaid.

The consortium plans to design a logo that will be placed onproducts and websites to let consumers know that those products andservices are compatible with DECE standards.

"We will be developing a … specification that services and devicemakers can license. They can use the logo to associate their device,knowing that when the consumer goes to buy the content, they know itwill play," Singer said.

The new digital framework would turn Apple Inc’s "closed" iTunes model on its head, Singer said.

"This is very different from the Apple ecosystem," he said. "Weencourage Apple to join the consortium. We don’t ever anticipate Applegoing away or this consortium replacing it."

The consortium aims to recapture in the digital universe the senseof comfort and simplicity of use that consumers found with DVDs, saidMark Coblitz, senior vice president of strategic planning for ComcastCorp.

"They knew that when they brought (a DVD) home, they could play iton the device of their choice," Coblitz said. "We see this vision of’buy once, play anywhere.’"

The consortium includes Alcatel-Lucent, Best Buy Co Inc, CiscoSystems Inc, Comcast, News Corp’s Fox Entertainment Group,Hewlett-Packard Co, Intel, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp, MicrosoftCorp, General Electric Co’s NBC Universal, Viacom Inc’s ParamountPictures, Philips, Sony Corp, Toshiba, VeriSign, and Time Warner Inc’sWarner Bros Entertainment.

(Editing by Phil Berlowitz)