Microsoft at the 3GSM show in Barcelona announced PlayReady, a new digital rights management technology that will allow the use of commercial content on multiple different devices for a single fee.
Microsoft describes PlayReady as "a multimedia content access technology" that will allow people to share protected pieces of content between mobile phones, PCs and other devices. PlayReady is based on a system of virtual environments called "domains." People can register multiple devices within their domain. If a mobile operator, Internet service provider or broadcaster has registered with PlayReady, their customers can purchase content through the system and then transfer it to other domain-registered devices. Alternatively, a user could download the content multiple times to each device.
The technology enables a broad spectrum of business models such as subscription, rental, pay-per-view, preview and super-distribution, and can be applied to many digital content types and a wide range of audio and video formats.
Content types supported include music, video, games, ring tones and images. Audio/video formats supported include Windows Media Audio (WMA), AAC/AAC+/HE-AAC, Windows Media Video (WMV), and H.264.
PlayReady will be available in the first half of 2007 for handset and device implementation. Microsoft said that Telef?nica, O2, Verizon Wireless, Bouygues Telecom, and Cingular Wireless and AT&T have announced their support for the new technology.
Microsoft is working with mobile industry software developer PacketVideo to showcase a fully operational demonstration of Microsoft PlayReady for the first time, at the Microsoft booth at the 3GSM conference.
PlayReady has been designed to be backward compatible with Windows Media DRM 10, allowing devices that support Microsoft PlayReady to access content using Windows Media DRM. Microsoft will also provide an interoperability program so content may flow to qualifying DRM and content protection technologies.
Microsoft PlayReady technology will be available as a porting kit with source code, so it can be deployed on any mobile hardware or software platform, including low-end devices. Optimized implementations for several popular handset platforms will be available from PacketVideo in its software products for mobile phones.