Skip to content

OPLIN 4Cast #239: UltraViolet—a new hope?

Posted in 4cast

The entertainment industry has long been concerned about Internet piracy of music and video, and it looks as if the empire has now found a new way to strike back, particularly at movie piracy. In 2008, about 70 Hollywood studios, consumer electronics retailers, and device manufacturers formed a consortium called the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), which is now about to launch a content licensing system called UltraViolet. UltraViolet depends heavily on “cloud” storage of digital content, but it also stores the consumer’s right to access the content. It’s an interesting system which may, or may not, have a significant effect on the way we handle digital entertainment.

  • UltraViolet is ready. Now Hollywood needs to make it work. (GigaOM/Ryan Lawler)  “UltraViolet was built to enable consumers to buy a movie once and have access to it anytime and anywhere. That means consumers will have their choice of watching a movie on a Blu-ray disc, streaming it to a connected TV or even downloading a file and saving it to watch later on a mobile device. Thanks to the DECE’s standardization of a common file format and the creation of a new ‘digital rights locker,’ consumers will also be able to buy a movie from one digital service or retail location and then watch it across any number of digital storefronts.”
  • Fox: Apple will adopt Ultraviolet cloud movie format (Pocket-lint/Rik Henderson)  “That means that major releases in the near future will include a Blu-ray (3D or 2D) disc, most likely a DVD copy, and instead of a time-limited digital copy to download and play on a portable device (the present system), a digital version of the film that is stored in the cloud enduringly, ready to be downloaded or streamed on up to 12 registered Ultraviolet devices—from TVs and Blu-ray players to smartphones and tablets.”
  • Hollywood clicks with UltraViolet digital locker (Variety/Marc Graser)  “One household will be able to create an account for six family members to access their movies and TV shows, and later music, books and other digital content, from retailers, cablers and streaming services. Up to 12 devices can be registered to cover most of the hardware on the market. Three streams are possible at a single time. And content can be downloaded and transferred onto physical media, like recordable DVDs, SD cards and flash memory drives.”
  • UltraViolet moves one step closer to a fall launch (ReadWriteWeb/Dan Rowinski)  “UltraViolet is an aggressive move initiated by the studios. As the primary content providers, the studios hold all the keys to legal viewing of their content. The purpose of UltraViolet is to allow all content providers to use one cloud and one set of Web standards for digital rights management (DRM).”

Cautionary fact:
UltraViolet is launching late enough that it will have to reverse a trend toward renting rather than buying movies online. Online movie purchases declined 8% in the fourth quarter of 2010, while online movie rentals increased 23% during the same time period.