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Today it would seem that Google has come back on the offensive, through the acquisition of Widevine - We ask whether this is a piece of Google genius or simply a fools errand?
Mario Queiroz, VP of Product Management announced it on the google blog Google agrees to acquire Widevine.
Widevine is potentially a really important acquisition for Google and its drive into premium video content, and it will be incredibly interesting to see the response from those for which this news is either a heaven sent message or a devils deal - heres why:
"...we’re pleased to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Widevine. The Widevine team has worked to provide a better video delivery experience for businesses of all kinds: from the studios that create your favorite shows and movies, to the cable systems and channels that broadcast them online and on TV, to the hardware manufacturers that let you watch that content on a variety of devices. By forging partnerships across the entire ecosystem, Widevine has made on demand services more efficient and secure for media companies, and ultimately more available and convenient for users."
1. Widevine provides one of the major DRMs that media companies and Hollywood studios already use extensively across many different types of device.
2. Widevine comes with its own video player which is also compatible across many different CE devices including TVs, smartphones, tablets and PCs.
3. Widevine comes with its own proprietary adaptive streaming technology, which would give Google something they have been desperate to have ever since Apple launched their own video optimisation technology.
4. Widevine runs on Apple Devices such as the iphone and the ipad (yep!).
5. Widevine has a multi national presence.
This one is set to explode over the coming days and weeks as the Hollywood studios, Broadcasters, CE device manufacturers, Apple and Microsoft all assess the impact of this move and respond.
Will the media companies who have publicly stated they are blocking their content from being streamed on Google TV products move away from using Widevine technology? Too much has been invested to even consider this in the short term...
Will the CE devices (inc. Apple) move away from supporting Widevine DRM and video player? Too many media companies rely on the Widevine DRM / player and the current alternatives (Adobe Flash, WMV, etc) are arguably not as good right now.
Has Google been forced into this move because of the universal backlash from the media industry, amid the concerns over security for premium content?
if Google actually manages to acquire and keep hold of Widevine, then it looks like they have just turned the tables on 2 integral parts of the future of tv food chain. If you do not know much about Widevine then at the time of writing, here is a list of just some of their customers:
AT&T: AT&T (NYSE: T) has expanded their video offerings to include next-generation television services such as AT&T U-verseAT&T (NYSE: T) has expanded their video offerings to include next-generation television services such as AT&T U-verseAT&T (NYSE: T) has expanded their video offerings to include next-generation television services such as AT&T U-verseAT&T (NYSE: T) has expanded their video offerings to include next-generation television services such as AT&T U-verseAT&T (NYSE: T) has expanded their video offerings to include next-generation television services such as AT&T U-verse
Best Buy: With operations in the United States, Canada, China, Europe and Mexico, Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) is a multinational retailer of technology and entertainment products and services with a commitment to growth and innovation.
Blockbuster: Blockbuster Inc. (NYSE: BBI and BBI.B) is a leading global provider of in-home movie and game entertainment, with over 7,400 stores throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Deutsche Telecom: Deutsche Telekom ICSS is one of the biggest carriers in the world and an increasingly important IP player across a growing European market with excellent interregional networks between Europe, the Americas and Asia.
DISH Networks: DISH Network L.L.C., a subsidiary of DISH Network Corporation (Nasdaq: DISH), provides more than 14.1 million satellite TV customers, as of Dec. 31, 2009, with the highest quality programming and technology at the best value, including the lowest all-digital price nationwide.
LOVEFiLM: leading European film subscription service with over 1 million subscribers - combining the benefits of DVD rental by mail and watching movies online via the LOVEFiLM Player (on the PC or streamed to the TV).
NBC.com: NBC is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience.
Netflix: world’s largest subscription service streaming movies and TV episodes over the Internet and sending DVDs by mail. Among the large and expanding base of devices that can stream movies and TV episodes from Netflix right to members’ TVs are Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Sony’s PS3 and Nintendo’s Wii game consoles; Blu-ray disc players from Samsung, LG and Insignia; Internet TVs from LG, Sony and VIZIO; the Roku digital video player and TiVo digital video recorders; and Apple’s iPad tablet.
Sonic Solutions (Roxio CinemaNow): Sonic Solutions (NASDAQ: SNIC) enables the creation, management, and enjoyment of digital media content through its Hollywood to Home™ products, services, and technologies.
Telstra: Telstra is Australia's leading telecommunications and information services company, with one of the best known brands in the country.
Vudu: The revolutionary VUDU box and service deliver instant access to thousands of movies and TV shows directly through the television, without requiring a computer or cable/satellite TV service.
Zip.ca: Canada's leading online video rental service. It offer members access to an ever-growing video library of over 72,000 titles to rent.
Consumer Electronics Manufacturers:
ADB: Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB) provides a diverse range of products to the worldwide digital television industry, supplying digital set-top boxes across all television transmission platforms including cable, IPTV, satellite and terrestrial.
Digeo: Digeo, Inc. provides premium home entertainment products including digital video recorders (DVR). The company's mission is to enable the best consumer experience in high-definition entertainment for the connected home.
D-Link: D-Link is an award-winning designer, developer and manufacturer of networking, broadband, digital electronics, voice, data and video communications solutions for the digital home.
EchoStar Technologies: choStar Technologies L.L.C., a wholly owned subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation (Nasdaq: SATS), spans 25 years of delivering innovations in TV entertainment, advanced set-top boxes, and end-to-end video delivery systems.
Funai: Funai Electric Co., Ltd. in Japan is engaged in development/design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of audio/visual products such as LCD TVs, DVD recorders and Blu-ray disc players.
Hisense: Hisense Group is the leading consumer electronics and home appliances enterprise in China. It exports to over 130 countries and regions throughout the world and holds nearly 30 percent of the LED TV market in China.
JVC: JVC is a leading developer and manufacturer of sophisticated audio and video products that use superior technologies to deliver high quality sound and images.
LG Electronics: LG Electronics, Inc. is a global leader and technology innovator in consumer electronics, mobile communications and home appliances.
Metrological: Metrological Group, founded in 2003, is headquartered in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The company focuses on the development and implementation of innovative hardware and software products.
Motorola: (NYSE: MOT) is a global communications leader powered by a passion to invent and an unceasing commitment to advancing the way the world connects.
Samsung: Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in semiconductor, telecommunication, digital media and digital convergence technologies.
Toshiba: a world leader in high technology, is a diversified manufacturer and marketer of advanced electronic and electrical products, spanning information & communications equipment and systems, Internet-based solutions and services, electronic components and materials, power systems, industrial and social infrastructure systems, and household appliances.