Customers who like to watch movies and TV shows on their own devices have suffered somewhat over the years. Changing formats have made their libraries obsolete and onerous DRM has made moving content around problematic. A new proposal and standard, backed widely, called Vidity, aims to change all that.
Vidity is the product of the Secure Content Storage Association (SCSA). This organization was founded by both movie studios, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as well as storage companies SanDisk and Western Digital. It currently has over 50 member companies, most notably Intel, Qualcomm, Comcast, Samsung and Walmart.
The goal of Vidity is to make purchased UHD/4K content easier to move around to various devices and watch anywhere without hassle or onerous restrictions. It should take the worry out of purchasing UHD/4K content and accelerate acceptance of that format amongst consumers.
The general manager of Vidity, David Huerta told Home Media magazine:
“We’re all familiar with the challenges, restrictions and limitations in today’s digital world — you buy a movie and it will only work on one system or a particular set of systems. As a result, consumers have often been confused about what can be played back, on what device, and when — and, more often than not, this content is not the latest out there, or of the highest quality. These kinds of limitations often lead to frustration limiting the potential for wide spread digital sellthrough.
From what has been disclosed so far, Vidity works on a device via licensed software, so there's no need to upgrade to a new device so long as it can support UHD video. There's no account required, no device activation or need for a persistent Internet connection.
The Vidity video file can be copied and moved from one Vidity device to another, and the result is that the psychology of the ownership is more like that of owning physical media — except that is exists in digital format on your own storage instead of on a plastic disc.
The Apple Angle
Apple is not listed as a supporting member, but that's not surprising because membership might give away Apple's intentions for a next generation Apple TV that supports UHD/4K.
Even so, down the road, it would make sense for Apple to support Vidity on a new Apple TV and on its other high resolution products as a way to promote its own involvement with the TV and film industry and create a critical mass of advanced systems in the hands of its customers. This applies whether Apple is selling content or creating its own. Plus, one can surmise that if Apple doesn't get on this bandwagon, other companies will in order to gain a competitive advantage.
Rumors are flying about a 4th generation Apple TV & remote that
will knock our socks off. Concept image: Martin Hajek.
It would be very good indeed if this were part of Apple's September 9 event.
The bottom line is that it's refreshing to see the industry using both technology and smart design to make owning advanced video content enjoyable and less of a hassle. The last thing the industry needs is a widespread consumer sentiment that the UHD/4K movement is just another 3D boondoggle.
Finally, the pricing of the hardware looks to be poised just right for the coming holiday season. That makes a next generation Apple TV very timely indeed.
65-inch UHD/4K TV prices are getting very reasonable.