A consortium of leading studios, including Warner Bros, Sony, NBC Universal, Fox Entertainment, Paramount and Lionsgate, has teamed up with Microsoft to develop an industry-standard digital media framework – excluding Disney because of its association with Apple.
Initially, more than 20 companies will be involved in the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) – a digital rights management initiative to standardise the acquisition and playback of content across a range of services and devices. This could lead to the development of a rival to Apple’s digital entertainment retail store iTunes.
In addition to the above studios, other DECE launch partners will include Alcatel-Lucent, Best Buy, Cisco, Comcast, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Philips, Toshiba and VeriSign.
The consortium will aim to “address growing consumer confusion around buying, downloading and playing digital content offered by multiple services by working towards a simple, uniform digital media experience.”
Over time, DECE will issue a licensable specification, along with a recognisable brand and logo for compliant products and services, which it says will “assure consumers that content they download will play on their devices.” The specification, based on mutually agreed industry standards, will outline the hardware and software requirements for companies to follow.