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DRM Free Physical Media 'Lib-Ray': Will It Work?

Posted by: , 17:57 AEST, Tue May 15, 2012

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Lib-Ray will not take on Blu-ray, but the DRM-free, open standard, SD media based video format may yet find its niche
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Image/Photo Credit: stevendepolo @ Flickr, CC

Terry Hancock writes a regular column for the Free Software Magazine, has helped to educate and promote astronomy, space exploration, is currently working on his own animated sci-fi video series - and he also wants to create a DRM-free alternative to Blu-ray!

And it's work on his sci-fi video series, Lunatics!, that has inspired Hancock, a long time free software advocate, to produce the standard for his own disc based video format, which he calls "Lib-Ray".

Based on the open source MKV container, and using the equally open-source VP8 codec, Hancock is currently working on standardizing the HTML-5 based menu system. A simple software wizard will then allow videos to be published to SD cards, and compatible media players will be able to play it, with no royalties required in any step of the project.

And the plans for Lib-Ray extends beyond even Blu-ray, with planned support for 60FPS 3D, and 4K video.

Those that want to support Hancock in his efforts can contribute via his Kickstarter, with the money raised used to fund the time-off from work that Hancock needs to take, in order to see his project come to fruition.

But in this day and age of digital distribution, does the world really need another physical media format, even if it is a DRM-free, open source variety? Hancock feels there is a need, at least for his own film releases. "I don't like the idea of selling an inferior copy of my film on DVD to people in a Kickstarter and then having the really high-quality version available only as a free download. That just seems backwards to me. The collector's edition offline version I sell to somebody should be the very best experience I can put in a box," explained Hancock.

And others seem to agree, with the project already attracting 186 backers, and with Terry only $7000 short of his $19000 goal. So while Lib-Ray may not replace Blu-ray, it might just offer independent filmmakers like Terry another option, without having to pay tens of thousands for DRM.


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