Rovi aims for consumer digital video with $720M Sonic Solutions buy

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Rovi Programming GuideSeemingly out of nowhere, the content guide and copy protection specialist Rovi announced tonight that it intends to acquire digital media company Sonic Solutions, maker of the popular Roxio media creation software, for $720 million.

The deal lands Rovi, formerly known as Macrovision, with a slew of consumer-level products and technologies — something it’s traditionally avoided. Thus far, Rovi has been known for focusing on the business end of media with offerings like programming guides for service providers, anti-piracy protection for content producers and a digital content solution for online stores and portals.

In addition to Sonic Solution’s Roxio software, the company also has RoxioNow, a cloud-based digital media service with over 10,000 movies and TV shows. In its press release, Rovi says that RoxioNow is expected to be in 30 million connected devices by June 2011. RoxioNow also drives Best Buy’s digital video service, as well as those of other major retailers.

Rovi will also gain access to the DivX digital video software and player, which Sonic Solutions acquired earlier this year. The company says that Divx’s software has been downloaded 100 million times this year and 500 million times in total. DivX software is currently available on over 350 million consumer electronics devices.

As GigaOm’s Ryan Lawler points out, the acquisition may finally let Rovi bring its programming guide technology, dubbed TotalGuide, to consumer electronics devices. Rovi already announced that Blockbuster’s on demand video service is using TotalGuide, but it has yet to announce any other customers. BlockBuster’s service, it should be noted, is pretty much run by Sonic Solutions since it relies heavily on RoxioNow.

Rovi changed its name from Macrovision last year — a name that was commonly associated with digital rights management software and copyright protection technology for the past three decades.

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