back to article Movie, tech giants prep universal online media store

A universal digital video system that allows us to "build, manage and enjoy... libraries of digital entertainment content purchased from multiple sources and playable on multiple devices" may at least be about to become a reality. Some 55 technology companies, content publishers and content distributors have banded together to …

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Interesting

Finally sounds interesting....it will fail as these sorts of things have come up before and the major studios can never agree on anything and one pulls out, eventually they all pull out and your left with a few BBC 70s comedies and the Airplane films!

If however I am proved wrong, which I hope not, let's see if the price is right AND let's see if all those who say "If the price was right I would sign up to legit services for my movies!", actually do follow through!

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Am I dreaming?

Is this the content providers finally starting to get it?

Or will they make an effort to fusk it up again by silly pricing - e.g. expecting us to pay £150 for a film on the grounds that we can play it on 10 devices that we would previously have had to buy separate copies for at their suggested retail price of £15 each?

I wonder if it will be US only since Tesco are involved.

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Anonymous Coward

US Only?

Tesco are a UK company, so I can't see their involvement suggesting it will be US-only.

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Tesco are international

Tesco had spread at least as far as China back in 2007. I know, I shopped there.

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Anonymous Coward

that's what the music industry should have done 6 or 7 years ago

It is easy to see that:

Music industry = Show White

Apple = poisoned apple

So the video industry wants to avoid a repeat.

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NoO thanks

It'll be DRM'd to death and, as it is backed by Sony-BMG, can you really trust it? Can you be 100% sure they will not root your PC (again) just to "protect" their "rights"?

I'll stick to buying the physical media and ripping to the format of my choice (perfectly legal fair use, normally blocked by DRM).

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Hmmm

I wonder what happens when you're bored of a film and want to sell it?

Odds are that it won't be possible to do so - methinks the film industry has watched the development of Steam (for example) with envious eyes...

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Alert

Where going to need a bigger boat^H^H^H^H pipe

Streaming HD content at peak time? Good luck on that one.

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DRM crap

"you don't have to fear losing your collection to burglars or housefires" - with much greater probability you will lose "your" collection to the UV consortium, deciding you are not worthy anymore to have access to the stuff or requiring you to pay all over again.

This really is the ultimate surrender of all control over what is in your house to the IP owners in the (vain) hope that they will remain generous and benevolent and will let you use the stuff forever if you'll be nice.

Stupid, naive and gullible - go for it! I know there are plenty of such people around and they will indeed go for it. After all, millions are using iFones, eyeBads, Steam and even BD (the latter maybe not millions).

As far as I am concerned, if I paid for something I will use it in my house the way I want it - on any device I like, at any time I like and I will not ask you for permission. If you don't like it you won't get money from me.

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I don't worry about my collection being stolen just now

I have this thing called "insurance".

If they held is, I would seriously worry about their records getting screwed and losing me my "collection". "Computer says 'No'" attitude.

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Joke

@Vladimir

>> "As far as I am concerned, if I paid for something I will use it in my house the way I want it - on any device I like"

Good luck playing your DVD disc in your toaster.

My CDs make a great cracking sound in my microwave oven. I like the visual effect too.

Really, who cares about DRM? Either it works or it doesn't.

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Not that simple

"Really, who cares about DRM? Either it works or it doesn't."

No, it's not like that. DRM means it may work today (some of the time and on some specific kind of equipment) but may not work tomorrow.

Example: your BD your player may one day either stop playing anything at all or refuse to play certain discs that it could play in the past.

This is beside the fact that DRM are normally designed to prevent you from playing the content in any way not specifically approved by the vendor (IP owner). So, no use in portable players unless you get a specific permission, for example, or no streaming over your home network.

To me, that is simply unacceptable.

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BD downloads

If we all had a consistent ability to pull down 4gb files any time with no lag or contention then this will work very well. (Maybe they'll try it first in Scandinavia )

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Happy

@RegisterFail

Preventing open source adoption? That's 3 people who will be disappointed then.

And you guys wonder why Microsoft keeps winning? It is not because their software is any good - we all know Windows is cr*p. It's because you choose dumb, stupid fights to fight and cripple your own OS.

Awesome work guys, keep it up. Soon you might have 4 users. Or 5!

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FAIL

Online storage?

"And the question remains, will consumers care about not possessing the files? There are clear advantages in not doing so: you don't need buckets of local storage, and you don't have to fear losing your collection to burglars or housefires."

Fine for those who have a reliable and fast connection. Not so good for those of us who struggle to watch YouTube videos because the connection runs so slow that they keep halting. Can you imagine it? Pausing every few seconds, often partway through a word, to get the next bit -- or having to decide a day in advance to allow it to download and then be viewed once.

(And will it be available for Linux, or will it be a DRM locked down stream? I'm betting on the latter...)

No thanks, I'll keep my copies where I can watch them when I want them, on whatever device I like.

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Hurrah

Oh, hang on, I can't even watch down-res'ed SD on ITV Player without it stopping every few seconds. And Virgin won't run cable down my street, so none of that fibre stuff either.

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Anonymous Coward

Offline storage? DRM? Universal?

Lots of nice words, but the devil is in the detail and there's precious little of that. Can I keep a local copy so I don't rack up huge bandwidth usage on repeat viewings? Presumably it will be DRM encumbered, so will it need a net connection before it plays? What happens when the authentication servers go offline temporarily or permanently? And how universal is universal? Will it work on a non-x86 linux box, or on existing media players?

On past experience it'll allow a local copy per device, but probably not transfer from one client to another. It'll demand online authentication of the DRM on any net-connected device, and if the servers go down that's tough. you didn't think you'd bought it when you paid did you? And 'universal' will be Windows, maybe Mac, and new branded hardware. They may try an iApp but Apple will claim it duplicates iTunes functionality and ban it. Since it'll be less functional than a DVD I'll expect to pay less, but that probably won't happen either.

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Question left unanswered

1. If I have already purchased legal copies of films can I type in the bar code and have the UV version free of charge?

2. I have a bandwidth cap on my internet connection.I cannot be constantly pulling down 4 GB files on a whim. An offline option will have to be looked into unless the Major Canadian and UK ISPs are consulted and UV content is not counted as bandwidth usage. How will this affect the systems potential success?

3. Re-selling of content I no longer want. How can one do this?

On a different note I am pleasantly pleased with the studios approach. A huge step in the right direction so long as the price is right.

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Dead Vulture

And...

"And the question remains, will consumers care about not possessing the files? There are clear advantages in not doing so: you don't need buckets of local storage, and you don't have to fear losing your collection to burglars or housefires."

And the disadvantages? Such as losing any control over access to the content provider (See Amazon, 1984)? Such as not being able to use the content when your internet connection is down? Such as being constrained (still) in your choice of device (e.g, no Apple, what about Open Source devices)?

This sounds more like a recycled press release than actual reporting. I expect more of you, Tony.

Besides, UV may seem cool, but IR is HOT!

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Anonymous Coward

Great stuff

I'll use that service and start buying media again on these conditions..

They allow local storage of media (downloads not just streaming).

TV shows are no more than 50p per episode.

Music is no more than 20p per track.

Films are no more than £2.50 each.

There is no limit on the number of copies you can have.

There is no price difference for HD formats.

It is available for Linux.

There is no sign of PayPerView.

They use file formats like MKV & OGM.

They use free codecs like WebM.

There is no sign of DRM or encryption.

There is no limit on the number of plays or views.

Until they meet all those conditions I'll BitTorrent until I can buy the disc cheap enough second hand on Ebay.

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FAIL

Nice idea but...

With all this data moving the ISPs will be forced to go to 'per Mb' charging making sure we pay for everything again. They'll probably end up with service plans where MAFIAA bandwidth isn't included in your monthly limit but BBC iPlayer, YouTube and other bandwidth intensive services like Steam aren't included.

With the royalty agencies lobbying to get a 'download tax' added to broadband costs we'll soon be paying three times for our media.

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Pint

It will be Windows only

You're all saying, "Will it work with Linux!". Nope! At the end of the day, the vast majority of Joe Public runs a bog standard, TESCO/ASDA/DELL/PC World bought PC running Windows XP/VIsta/Windows 7! Does iTune work natively on Linux? No.

Quite frankly the media corps, couldn't give a stuff if they lost 100 million sales, so long as there were 1.5 billion sales to Windows only users, who have no idea what DRM is, so long as they get the latest Hollywood trash piped to their TV/PC for £9.95 a month.

OSX port of this thing, if it takes off may come if porting does not cost too much and it's worth it to capture sales to make the development worthwhile.

ITunes only works on OSX 'cos Apple own it. Given the tiny market for OSX users, if MS came up with iTunes first you'd be lucky if it was anything other than Windows. iTunes is only Winodws 'cos Steve is in the business of making money and he is not stupid, he knows the vast majority of people own WIndows PCs, so he's not stupid enough to cut his own nose off in this respect.

You'd better start dusting off WINE or VirtualBox if you fancy running this thing on anything other than Windows Vista/7!

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Linux

@AC: It will be Windows only

"Does iTune work natively on Linux?"

Pffft - No! We only want well-written software on our machines thank you.

There are several OSS alternatives for uploading / syncing data with your iPod. As for purchasing music... why the hell would you want to download from iTunes when just about everything else on there can be legally downloaded cheaper from elsewhere.

The ONLY reason I still have a windows machine at home anymore is for playing games - if I had my way my work laptop would have Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on it as it is vastly faster and more stable than windows on the same hardware, plus with Linux you have access to much better (and free!) utilities for network management.

Having said that I sadly doubt very much that this will be released initially for Linux, There's no way it will be open source for example. There's nothing stopping the UV software developers from releasing pre-compiled code, as ATI and NVidia do now with their 3D drivers.

However even if they don't that's never stopped those lovely geniuses (genii?) working on Open Source before... We can even now play Blue Ray movies natively in Linux without ripping them first. Sure we don't get the menus, but we also don't get all the rootkits, DRM, forced advertisements, and "Pirating a movie is equivalent to murdering a granny" bullshit either.

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