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Disney's KeyChest?

01.07.2010

I was joking (sorta) with a friend yesterday about how it would be cool to have those really large libraries with the really tall bookcases, where you need one of those ladders with wheels to get around, just to store our massive DVD collections (I'm only in the hundreds but he's like in the thousands). Well, the future it seems will have none of my impractical (but awesome) ideas and instead opt for the cold, clean, and functional benefits of digital distribution solutions. Disney is announcing just such a thing with the unveiling of their new tech called "KeyChest", which is essentially a kind of authentication system for purchased digital content.

"The Walt Disney Co on Tuesday unveiled a technology called KeyChest to enable consumers to buy films or television shows from various distributors, store them on remote servers, and play them on multiple platforms ranging from TVs to computers and phones. Company officials said the goal of KeyChest is to make it easy for viewers to see a movie accessed from various outlets and to address the issue of compatibility in maneuvering content from device to device as well as limited storage space on consumers' hard drives."

Digital distribution, of course, is not new. It's everywhere: On your cable/satellite/fiber optic systems, on your video game consoles, on your phones, and naturally, on your computers. But what Disney is trying to do here is something more vital than providing the digital content itself but instead trying to move towards a standardized system that will allow us to access any of the content we purchase across ALL of our hardware. That's big. And it's not just Disney content either, according to Kelly Summers, vice president of digital distribution at the Mouse House:

"The idea is to have all the movies consumers want to buy available in this way. If it's Disney only, there really isn't much value here."

All of this of course comes at a time when the sales of physical media are on a decline and sales of digital media are on a slow but steady rise. But it's also a transitional period for most consumers, where many are testing the waters but most still are awaiting just such a thing as KeyChest that will change the perception and ease of use of such content. Necessity breeds invention, and a standard such as this could very well be the next big step for digital distribution. As always, only time will tell.

Disney hopes to have the technology deployed before the end of 2010.
Extra Tidbit: I'll be sad to part with my physical collection of DVDs, but the thing is, I've already done it with my music...
Source: Reuters

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