Disney's Keychest Technology

It sounds like Disney is getting into the entertainment technology game in a big way. The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a really cool new venture it's involved in, codename Keychest. It would seek to change the way people purchase entertainment. DVDs and Blu-rays would become obsolete. Here's how it would work:

The technology, code-named Keychest, could contribute to a shift in what it means for a consumer to own a movie or a TV show, by redefining ownership as access rights, not physical possession.

The technology would allow consumers to pay a single price for permanent access to a movie or TV show across multiple digital platforms and devices--from the Web, to mobile gadgets like iPhones and cable services that allow on-demand viewing. It could also facilitate other services such as online movie subscriptions.

Where do I sign up? It sounds like a great idea to me. Clearly, Disney isn't the only firm working on a project like this, but it has a lot of weight in the entertainment business and a vast library to utilize. Here's a bit more:

Keychest aims to address two of the biggest hurdles blocking widespread consumer adoption of movie downloads: the difficulty of playing a movie back on devices other than a PC or laptop, and limited storage space on those computers' hard drives.

The day is coming when technology like this won't be a novelty: it will be essential. And that inevitable outcome isn't far off. My new LCD TV and Blu-ray player both have internet connections where I can obtain content. It's wasteful for entertainment firms to spend money producing and shipping physical media like DVDs when they can just upload you the same content in a few minutes. With such a reduced cost, they can charge consumers less but make more profit.

There also needs to be a unified system that brings content to all devices. It shouldn't be hard to watch TV shows that I've DVR'd on my laptop or iPhone. Right now, it is.

It sounds to me like Keychest seeks to solve these problems. The WSJ piece also notes a similar initiative out there called the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem. Stay tuned to see who gets there first. I hope these efforts are advancing quickly, because I think we're ready for it.