Microsoft announced the features of the next version of its Windows Media Digital Rights Management (DRM) software, and announced early adopters of the platform, including online music and movie services entertainment companies, consumer electronics manufacturers and chip makers.
The company says that its next generation of Windows Media DRM technology will make new scenarios possible, such as protecting, delivering and playing subscription-based or on-demand digital music and video. These scenarios span Windows- based PCs and devices, including portable audio devices, Portable Media Centers, cellular phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) such as Windows Mobile based Pocket PCs and Smartphones, and networked devices connected within the home, including those that connect over a wireless network.
Microsoft's new DRM will enable a more secure flow of content to dozens of devices, and support the widest range of purchase and rental options for digital media.
"This is a positive development in the continuing effort to provide consumers with more choices for enjoying legitimate entertainment content on emerging digital platforms," said Bob Lambert, senior vice president of New Technology at Disney. "Consumers, content companies and technology companies stand to benefit as content continues to migrate from analog to digital devices, and Microsoft's ongoing commitment to create robust, flexible and secure media technology will help facilitate these new experiences and business initiatives."
The next version of Windows Media DRM will offer new features designed to improve the user experience and offer music and video services the flexibility to implement new business models. These features cover a range of user scenarios. For instance, license chaining makes it easier for licenses to be renewed (a direct benefit for consumers with large content libraries filled with subscription content), and support for secure time clocks and metering make it possible for services to offer subscription content to portable devices for transfer and playback for the first time. In addition, improved license synchronization and license store performance make it easier and faster for consumers to manage and access their music. Microchip and device manufacturers can implement support for next-generation Windows Media DRM today through porting kits that include ANSI C code and other tools to help them rapidly integrate these new features into any device, including portable media players, set-top boxes, mobile devices or digital media receivers. Also available is the Windows Media Rights Manager Software Development Kit (SDK), which supports the new DRM functionality being delivered on the PC and devices.