UltraViolet universal movie format still a no-show
But the online film locker has 5m members
UltraViolet, Hollywood’s attempt to tie physical media to movie downloads through an online locker, now has more than 5m accounts under its belt, but it’s still not ready for prime time: it’s key feature, a universal file format, is still not ready to be rolled out.
UV was launched a year ago. By February 2012, it had clocked up some 800,000 accounts, most of them in the US. Eight months on, UV remains a predominantly US affair, but the number of accounts has rocketed by more than 500 per cent, the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), the company overseeing the technology, claimed this week.
Some 7200 UV-enabled Blu-ray Discs and downloads are available in the shops and online in the UK and the US - the BBC announced earlier this month that it will be contributing more to the total - with five virtual outlets now supplying UV-compatible content.
Brits can make use of Warner’s Flixster service, but in the US Walmart's Vudu, Sony, Paramount and Universal also sell UV content and allow you to claim digital copies of UV-branded BDs. Barnes & Noble will be rolling out the UV-compatible Nook Video service over here and over there by the end of the year.
The DECE wants other, big name, suppliers to get on board, but it’s easy to say you “hope” Apple, Amazon and Netflix join in, rather more difficult to persuade them to do so, favouring as they do their own, tightly controlled technology and business ecosystems.
However, at an event held in California this week, DECE executives said online stores will be opening and UV discs rolled out in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, France and Germany in 2013.
By then, UV’s Common File Format (CFF) might be ready. This technology will allow content bought from one UV retailer to be accessed through another’s site and software. It is the download equivalent of a disc - a file that will play in suitable software no matter where you bought it from.
Unfortunately, the DECE people admitted, it’s not yet ready. The format is not yet complete, though it is being tested by UV supporting businesses. But no one seemed willing to say when consumer availability will kick off other than a broad “soon”.
At the moment, download content is tied to suppliers’ own playback apps, or streamed. But if the DECE has defined the infrastructure correctly, rolling out CFF versions of films will be just a matter of replacing one lot of files with another. UV accounts store access rights, not the content itself, so only films already downloaded will need to be replaced if you want full interoperability. ®
Yay, I can get a locked-down, limited and shit version of a film if I go the official route. I have to create an account, I have to give login details, I have yet another password to remember, and yet more advertisers trying to cram their shit down my throat.
Or I can stick the DVD or BD in, engage rip software, come back later to a perfect copy (with no nag screens) that I can use however I like. Legally, too.
Wow, UV is really compelling.
UltraViolet, classic bait and switch
Ultraviolet: The BS -
"...through UltraViolet, punters will buy a universal, lifetime right to watch a movie in any format they want; it may be streamed to any device from the cloud, or downloaded to any device..."
Ultraviolet: The reality -
...Alas, my hopes were dashed when I finally looked at UltraViolet's fine print. Instead of "owning" an Internet-capable copy of my movie or TV series, all I really get is a license which includes, "streaming from the selling UltraViolet Retailer, at no extra charge above the original content purchase price, for at least one year after purchase. This no-extra-charge streaming will be offered to specific apps/devices, and via streaming means, to be determined by the selling UltraViolet Retailer. Streaming of a given title from the selling UltraViolet Retailer more than a year after its purchase, or at any time via Streaming Services other than the selling UltraViolet Retailer, may incur fees and if so any such fees would be presented to the consumer in advance of streaming titles, with the consumer having the option to accept the fees or not use that Streaming Service..."
...and it goes on with more of the same.
I'm a 'member' of their god-awful service and I've never yet managed to actually get it to recognise I've bought one of the products that require it (note: not support it, require it). It's like saying the number of people who have it must mean chlamydia is actually really popular.
The last BR I bought that had it had both the iTunes code and UV code (which of itself suggests they know their system doesn't work).
To get the movie via iTunes :-
Type the code into iTunes
To get the movie via UV
Go to a web page
log into the web page
type in the code
Decide which format you want the movie in (i.e. what resolution). You only get one choice.
Download the file.
Actually, as I say,the last two of those are actually theoretical, since I've never actually got further than 'type in the code'.
If the film industry really thinks this is something the consumer will be happy to accept, it's no wonder the pirates are eating their lunch.
It's DRM Jim , but not as you know it Captain! So after a year they will offer you another licence to stream it, at the original cost of the Disc and UV copy no doubt.
Re: UltraViolet, classic bait and switch
Yep, but as soon as I posted on that article it got yanked from the front page, I have my suspicions ;-)