Fox Home Entertainment Worldwide President Mike Dunn used a Consumer Electronics Industry forum Monday in Los Angeles to advocate for closer cooperation between Hollywood and device makers on the coming generation of media players that deliver video in ultra-high definition.
Dunn proposed a next-generation Blu-ray player he dubbed a "digital bridge," which he said would carry the two industries forward over the next decade, as manufacturers introduce "4K" televisions and players that deliver four times the resolution of current high-definition TVs and Blu-ray discs.
"This is where a closer link between entertainment and electronics can be differentiating and disruptive," Dunn said in his keynote address at the industry forum. "Shared innovation that marries emotional, personal and media connections."
The film studios and manufacturers have been at odds over which features these next-generation disc players should offer consumers. Some device makers have balked at hardware enhancements such as built-in storage, citing cost considerations.
The outcome of these discussions is critical, because millions of consumers replace their DVD players every year. The nearly ubiquitous players are a key platform for studios to reach consumers in their homes.
Dunn advocated for generous hard drives in these new ultra-high-definition players, which he said would let consumers build their own personal digital movie libraries. An internal hard drive also would allow new movies to be downloaded in advance, and stored, so they would be available for viewing on the day of release.
"Consumers would have the ability to copy their physical discs and store and manage their entire digital library in one centralized location -- managed in the living room, where most content is viewed on the big screen," Dunn said in his speech.
Dunn said these new players should offer wireless connectivity so consumers could move their digital files to any device in the home -- including tablets and smartphones. The devices also should be compatible with any video or audio disc, playing CDs, DVDs or Blu-ray discs, he said.
"It's an entertainment hub that bridges consumer behavior into the future," Dunn said. "There are 101 million households in America already with a DVD or Blu-ray player under their TVs, giving it virtually 100% penetration. It is one of the most important pieces of real estate there is."
Dunn also used the forum to announce that Fox is making its own investment in the future entertainment technology. It plans to open an innovation lab in 2014 to keep pace with the latest devices and delivery methods.
The objective is to get ahead of the current product cycle, so the studio can anticipate what's coming and begin developing entertainment for new screens.
"It's an investment that acknowledges the emerging role of digital media and the need to evolve our business as technology advances," Dunn said.
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