Today at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft and Verizon Wireless announced their collaboration on the new Verizon Wireless V CAST Music service to offer Verizon Wireless customers the ability to access and enjoy full-track, digital music downloads on mobile handsets and Microsoft Windows XP-based PCs through Windows Media Player 10. Verizon Wireless adopted core Windows Media technologies including Windows Media Digital Rights Management (DRM), an enhanced Windows Media Audio Professional (WMA Pro) codec and Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) to provide consumers with unfettered access to V CAST Music content across multiple devices and scenarios.
"With the V CAST Music service we wanted to provide our customers with an unprecedented digital music experience that allowed the widest range of options for accessing and enjoying music," said John Stratton, vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless. "Microsoft and its Windows Media Technologies played a crucial role in enabling this end-to-end mobile music vision. The over-the-air delivery capabilities of the Windows Media DRM platform and broad support across multiple devices and scenarios allow us to provide a truly unique and compelling consumer offering."
Taking advantage of the inherent direct license acquisition capabilities in
Windows Media DRM, V CAST Music will deliver over-the-air downloads directly to
mobile handsets from a catalog of more than 1 million music tracks a few short
weeks after launch, providing customers with access to content anywhere within
the award-winning V CAST wireless broadband service area. Using a dual-download
approach for the handset, the V CAST Music service provides an optimized file
for mobile handsets and access to a higher-fidelity copy for downloading on
Windows XP-based PCs. Copies available for downloading to a Windows XP-based PC
can be accessed through a new Verizon Wireless V CAST Music online store in
Windows Media Player 10 and integrated into a customer's existing library for
playback on the PC. Downloaded music can also be burned to CD and enjoyed on a
host of portable and networked devices, including PlaysForSure-verified devices
and the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system.
An enhanced WMA Pro
codec optimizes the compression of music tracks for over-the-air delivery of V
CAST Music downloads. Using WMA Pro, Verizon Wireless' V CAST Music service can
deliver smaller music files to mobile handsets without sacrificing an amazing
audio experience. Support of MTP on V CAST Music wireless phones will enable
easy connectivity to Windows XP-based PCs and Windows Media Player 10 for
syncing content, ensuring that music stored on the PC flows to the mobile
handset for enjoyment on the go.
"Verizon Wireless has taken mobile entertainment to a new level with its
V CAST digital entertainment offerings," said Amir Majidimehr, corporate
vice president of the Windows Digital Media at Microsoft. "By adopting
Windows Media technologies in its V CAST Music service, Verizon Wireless is
giving its customers the best handset experience with unmatched connectivity
to the PC."
V CAST Music is available from Verizon Wireless starting Jan. 16, 2006. Songs
available from V CAST Music will be from artists at major music labels (Warner
Music Group, EMI Music, Universal and Sony BMG) as well as independent provider
The Orchard. The V CAST coverage area is already available to half the
population - some 150 million Americans - coast to coast. Verizon Wireless also
uses Windows Media technologies to power its existing V CAST service, the
nation's first broadband entertainment service providing high-quality video
content to wireless handsets.
Neither Verizon Wireless nor Microsoft has
announced any pricing structures for purchased song and it's also unclear which
mobile phones will supports a) the OTA (Over the Air) download or b) the
synchronization with the PC.
Cheers ~ Arne