Q&A: Sonic Solutions is looking to the future of home entertainment. Since its acquisition of CinemaNow and rebranding to Roxio CinemaNow, Sonic has been creating partnerships for the online movie download service for playback directly on TVs. Sonic also is planning high-definition Web downloads that are comparable to Blu-ray and movies on USB drives. Sonic's executive VP of strategy Mark Ely spoke with Video Business' Jennifer Netherby.
VB: During the first half of this year, Sonic and most of your competitors announced a string of partnerships to get digital movies to the TV by the end of the year. Roxio CinemaNow has partnerships now with Blockbuster, Best Buy, TiVo, LG, etc. What are we going to see when these all launch?
Ely: What you're going to see are a couple of things. You're going to see CinemaNowas a branded storefront that will show up on consumer electronics devices like the LG Blu-ray player and forthcoming devices from other consumer electronics manufacturers. You're also going to see CinemaNow powering the services that are provided by Blockbuster, devices like the various Samsung devices, Vizio devices and other ones that Blockbuster has announced. You'll see us essentially as a key piece of the infrastructure for getting content to the home. You'll also see us powering Web sites from studios like Warner Bros. and Lionsgate, enabling digital downloads from their Web sites.
VB: Who is the digital consumer these days?
Ely: If you asked me a couple of years ago, it would have been a different answer. The digital consumer two or three years ago was somebody who was watching movies on their PC or was trying to get their content to a mobile device. It was kind of an early-adopter crowd.
The digital consumer today, and the consumer we're going to see over the next couple of years, is the average consumer, it's the broadband homeowner who has got a flat-panel television set in their living room. That's what the big leap is going to be over the next year or so. These Internet-connected services are just going to show up on devices you already buy. So if a consumer goes and buys a flat-panel television next year or even this year, chances are it's going to come with some Internet services built in. By connecting that TV set to the Internet, to your broadband connection just like you would a laptop or your iPhone or whatever, you have enabled that television set for digital content.
As long as that content is a remote-control click away for the consumer, it makes it easy enough for them to acquire and consume that content. You don't have to know how to network; you don't have to know how to format content or transfer it between devices. So all the hurdles that had existed are now going to fall away.