Watch movies on Android phones without taxing the wireless network? That's the model Mo-DV is pursuing. Today, the company announced that its Mo-DV Universal Player intellectual property with DRM is now enabling major movie studios to securely offer movies on SD cards for Android devices.
Mo-DV isn't entirely new to the scene. In August 2008, a major movie studio released the first movie on a USB flash drive using Mo-DV's technology. It's been supplying its technology to the likes of Sony and Paramount.
But the Campbell, Calif., company has been mostly quiet until now. CEO Jessica Fullmer says the way Mo-DV has designed its technology, it won't strain wireless networks, either by way of spectrum or backhaul. Because movies are stored on SD cards, they don't use the network while playing. Even as 4G networks roll out, they're not necessarily equipped to deliver reliable video if they run into capacity issues.
The Mo-DV Universal Player operates on smartphones running Symbian S60, Windows Mobile 5 or 6, and Android 2.1 and later. In development are versions for BlackBerry v5.0 or later, Windows Phone 7, Java and Brew. The company isn't currently supplying an iPhone version because it doesn't expect Apple to approve an app that would compete with its own services.
Chief technical officer Eric Hamilton says the company initially will be looking at bundling movies with cell phone manufacturers and expects that movies preloaded on SD cards also could be sold as accessories. It's also looking at ways to sell SD cards using kiosks. It's possible the first phones and/or tablets bundled with the movies could show up in the first quarter.
While T-Mobile USA earlier this year sold Samsung Vibrant Galaxy S phones preloaded with the "Avatar" movie, Mo-DV's value proposition would have allowed the carrier to include the movie across phones running multiple operating systems, Fullmer says.
Another plus for consumers: They don't have to worry about keeping their content when they change devices because their library of cards likely will be compatible with their next device.
What about the DRM? Mo-DV's got that covered. Consumers can share their SD cards with friends or use them on various devices, but if someone tries to copy a movie, it will not play. For laptops and PCs, Mo-DV Universal Player supports Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.
Mo-DV's customers, which may include content owners, carriers and memory manufacturers, will set the prices, but they've seen models range from a new high-quality movie and game for $30 to a lesser quality movie for around $12. Depending on how it's structured, a movie-loaded card could be sold through a kiosk for less than a DVD rental.
Mo-DV isn't funded by venture capital; it's family and friends. Founded in 2002, the company has received more than $4.5 million in investment since it was founded, according to a FAQ sheet on the company. Sounds like some nice friends and family.