New Video File Format Promises to Work on Any Device

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Maybe Holywood is wising up a little bit. Five out of six major film studios joined the DECE (Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem), an association of media and technology companies that are trying to make it easier to play movies you buy digitally on any device.

Now The New York Times says the DECE has agreed on a video file format that they hope will make your purchased video library work on devices other than the one you made your purchases on.

The DECE hasn’t announced the name of the format yet, but it won’t restrict who can create a device on which to play it or a store through which to sell it. It’s not DRM-free, mind you; rather, proof that you bought the file will be kept in an online “rights locker,” and any device that’s able to check the locker can play the file. The official announcement is expected this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The DECE will also announce that it has 21 new members, including Cox, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola and — very notably — Netflix. Many of the members will either produce devices that will play files in the new format or offer content using the format through online services. You can guess which one Netflix will likely do, of course.

Here is the portion we are most interested in:

The plan isn’t quite unanimous. There’s one major studio holdout: Disney. It’s backing a competing format called KeyChest. The models aren’t identical, but they share many of the same strengths and weaknesses.

Note that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is Disney’s largest shareholder, and rumors have been popping up that Disney (which owns television network ABC) will join the subscription TV service Apple has been trying to build behind closed doors. Apple — currently the world’s biggest provider of digital video downloads — is conspicuously absent from the DECE.

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New Video File Format Promises to Work on Any Device

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New Video File Format Promises to Work on Any Device New Video File Format Promises to Work on Any Device New Video File Format Promises to Work on Any Device New Video File Format Promises to Work on Any Device New Video File Format Promises to Work on Any Device New Video File Format Promises to Work on Any Device
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