A more secure SD for HD content

A quintet of companies have banded together to promise a new HD-friendly encryption scheme for SD cards and embedded flash.

Coming in 2012: flash memory technology optimized for DRM, which companies hope will encourage HD content delivery to mobile devices. Sarah Tew/CNET

Panasonic, Samsung, SanDisk, Sony, and Toshiba today announced an agreement to develop new content-protection technology for SD cards and embedded flash.

Dubbed "Next Generation Secure Memory Initiative," the press release claims the as-yet undeveloped technology will be based around public key encryption. Based on the release's limited information, it sounds like it will create unique IDs that will tie a variety of fixed and mobile CE devices to you, making content producers less nervous about allowing you to download--rather than just stream--DRM'd content to devices they currently can't control, like phones and tablets.

They expect to see implementations arrive in 2012, and given Panasonic and Sony's intimate involvement with Blu-ray, that's likely.

But it's also likely that it won't quite be "the solution that enables the effortless consumption of online and offline content across multiple device platforms" for consumers that SanDisk's Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Sumit Sadana claims it will be. Because no matter how you spin it, DRM is designed to mollify the seller, not improve the experience for the buyer, and usually just annoys the latter. Basing it around the public-key infrastructure does sound less problematic than proprietary solutions like UltraViolet (read the comments), though this "solution" will likely work in conjunction with that.

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