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Warner, Fox Create Portable SD, USB-Based DRM

The average, honest movie buff wants to purchase their blockbusters and TV shows and really not have to worry about anything else. They don't want to be concerned with a specific platform, or a specific hardware set, or a specific form factor. They just want to watch their investment hassle-free, and they should be able to do just that. Yet Hollywood and copyright owners are pulling consumers around by the ear, seemingly convicting them of piracy even before they make a purchase, saying where and how they can watch purchased digital content.

And so far, there seems to be no end in sight.

Or is there? Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros. have teamed up with SanDisk and Western Digital to create an interesting DRM scheme that could fix the current content control problem. Called "Project Phenix," (yes, the spelling is correct), consumers will be able to purchase and download high-definition digital movies and TV shows -- including new releases in up to full 1080p -- on storage solutions. That means users can watch their purchased content on multiple devices both offline and online. Even more, the downloaded file will be backed up via the cloud thanks to UltraViolet and other cloud-based services.

"The project is being developed by the newly formed Secure Content Storage Association (SCSA). Established as an LLC, this coalition will create and license solutions that secure high definition and other premium copyright-protected content on local and portable hard drives, and flash memory products such as USB flash drives, SD cards and solid state disk drives (SSDs)," reads the press release.

There's the catch, of course. Once content is downloaded to a hard drive or flash memory product, it's then accessed, online or offline, on any SCSA-enabled device such as a connected TV, laptop, Blu-ray player, tablet, mobile phone or game console. The optimized content will be purchasable via digital download, digital files bundled with physical media, kiosks in retail stores, or other means of secure digital delivery.

"The SCSA's solutions will be designed to work with the industry-backed UltraViolet ecosystem and aimed to complement other next-generation high definition content protection technologies already in the market such as Intel Insider," the announcement states.

The SCSA expects to make its solutions widely available for license this year. Bert Hesselink, CTO of Western Digital Branded Products, added that the SCSA solution will allow the consumer to store high definition purchased content, including copies of certain DVD content, "in a secure, consumer-owned digital home library on a hard drive, along with their personal photos, music, and videos."

Naturally this has nothing to do with competing against Netflix and Hulu despite other reports. This solution is a means for consumers tp purchase and keep their content while also having the freedom to watch it on multiple devices. Consumers who don't care about "owning" digital products will likely stick with the monthly pay services.