Sonic Solutions to Offer Roxio CinemaNow Service on Verismo's VuNow Over-the-Top Platform

--Sonic Teams with Widevine to Enable Delivery of CinemaNow Titles on USB Flash Memory Drives

Verismo Networks, a Silicon Valley-based company that offers an over-the-top-TV platform called VuNow (note: the platform has traditionally been offered in conjunction with a small set-top box device called the PoD; however, back in February, Verismo announced the launch of a global OEM initiative targeting consumer OEM's, content aggregators and ISP's--see the article posted on itvt.com, May 8th), will today announce a deal with Sonic Solutions to offer the latter's Roxio CinemaNow broadband VOD service on the VuNow platform. The deal follows on the heels of a deal announced by the companies earlier this month to offer Roxio CinemaNow on certain Indian implementations of the VuNow service, including the implementation currently being deployed to 100,000 homes in Bangalore as part of ACT Television's IPTV offering (see article published on itvt.com, July 20th). "VuNow offers consumers the broadest choice of online video content for today's living room," Verismo CEO, Prakash Bhalerao, said in a prepared statement. "By partnering with Sonic, we're able to give our customers even more entertainment options--from TV episodes to Hollywood new releases." Added Sonic EVP of strategy, Mark Ely: "Consumers are increasingly turning to the Internet for easy and convenient access to entertainment content. Our relationship with Verismo will give entertainment lovers greater ease in accessing premium digital content from the comfort of their living rooms."

Verismo sells the palm-sized VuNow PoD through its Web site, as well as through Amazon.com. It allows users to access a range of Internet video content on their living-room TV, including YouTube videos and various live global TV channels. The company says that the Sonic Solutions deal with give VuNow customers access to thousands of movies, TV shows and music videos that the Roxio CinemaNow service has aggregated through relationships with over 250 content providers.

In related news: Sonic Solutions and content-security specialist, Widevine, announced last week that they are partnering to enable the delivery of CinemaNow movies on USB flash memory devices. According to the companies, the self-contained CinemaNow USB Movie Drives (as the products will be branded)--which will be targeted at users of netbooks and mobile phones (i.e. devices without DVD players)--will include an integrated media player and the video codecs need to ensure instant, high-quality PC playback of movie content offline. Once one of these drives is connected to the Internet, the companies say, consumers will be able to add the title it contains to their Roxio CinemaNow Digital Locker, in order to access it on up to four additional "ecosystem devices" such as networked Blu-ray Disc players and connected TV's (note: rather than delivering the same file used for USB playback, the companies say, a unique file will be delivered that has been optimized for the capabilities and display characteristics of the selected device).

The partnership between Sonic and Widevine sees the latter providing Hollywood-approved DRM technologies to enable secure multiplatform playback: the companies say they are collaborating on device-optimized content preparation and delivery. The first USB Movie Drives are slated to launch in retail in the fourth quarter: Sonic says that it is currently "targeting bundling agreements" with manufacturers of mobile phones and netbook PC's. "Delivering content on USB drives is the latest example of how Roxio CinemaNow is enabling access to digital Hollywood hits across the broadest possible range of devices," Sonic president and CEO, Dave Habiger, said in a prepared statement. "Teaming with industry leaders such as Widevine is allowing us to overcome the technical hurdles of digital rights management and platform optimization behind the scenes, so all the consumer experiences is convenient, hassle-free entertainment viewing."

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