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Hollywood studios pledge support for UltraViolet

Last summer the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) announced a project dubbed UltraViolet, intended to serve as a digital media locker for consumers, enabling users to pull up any digital media they owned—DVDs, Blu-ray discs, digital video downloads, whatever—on any computer, device, or platform they liked, without having to have the physical media onhand, and regardless of technology or format. UltraViolet wanted to have licensing details all worked out by the end of this year, and while UltraViolet media and compatible devices are still over the horizon, the initiative does have some news: six major Hollywood studios are now on board, with content due to hit the streets “this year.”

Studios pledging to support UltraViolet include Lionsgate Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

“These six major Hollywood studios were a driving force in creating UltraViolet, and their plans to make films and television shows available through the UltraViolet ecosystem cements a milestone union among the content, technology, and retail services industries,” said DECE general manager Mark Teitell, in a statement. “In 2011, UltraViolet will substantially raise the bar on the electronic home entertainment experiences in-market today.”

DECE says individual UltraViolet-compatible titles will be announced by studios as they become available; titles compatible with the system will feature the UltraViolet logo.

UltraViolet works by requiring users to set up and individual account, then register authorized devices to access media associated with that account. DECE now says consumers will be able to register up to 12 devices for use with UltraViolet content (including things like Blu-ray players, Internet-connected TVs, set-top boxes, computers, smartphones, and tablets), and retailers will be able to give consumers physical copies of media, like on DVD or flash memory, of content in their UltraViolet account.

Companies such as LG, Intel, Nokia, Samsung, HP, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic, retailers like Best Buy, as well as streaming media providers like Netflix and Comcast have all pledged support for UltraViolet. The major player missing from UltraViolet’s studio lineup is Disney. Another major digital media player that hasn’t weighed in on UltraViolet: Apple.

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