Another report from CES, this one covering the emergence of more companies looking to help movie audiences access their purchases on multiple devices. Ultraviolet is the service that most studios support, which is sort of like a “TV everywhere” for movie content, so you will have authentification software to watch films on a variety of platforms. Jon Healey from the Los Angeles Times takes the temperature at the CES trade show floor:
At this year’s show, studio executives opened the door to retailers converting their customers’ DVD collections into movie files stored online. Such conversion services are a likely part of Ultraviolet, the online video distribution initiative by a consortium of studios, tech companies, retailers and service providers. The first UV products and services are expected to hit the market later this year.
The catch is that the files stored online would be confined to Ultraviolet’s walled garden, playable only on devices compatible with UV’s standards. So it’s not clear at this point what compatibility problems might emerge. But with companies expected to develop UV-compliant applications and players for a wide variety of computers, mobile devices and set-top boxes, the disc-to-cloud conversion is likely to appeal to at least some movie collectors.
It’s those consumers — the ones willing to spend the extra dollars to buy a movie instead of just renting it — who are critical to the success of UV. The consortium’s platform is designed to promote movie sales by eliminating many of the off-putting restrictions that the studios impose on downloadable movies without abandoning the limits on copying and sharing that Hollywood demands.
UV-certified downloads can be shared between UV-certified devices and streamed to Internet-connected PCs, TVs and mobile devices running software that meets UV’s specifications. And UV-branded Blu-ray discs and DVDs will come with “a copy in the cloud” that can be streamed, downloaded or burned to a disc, said Thomas Gewecke, president of digital distribution for Warner Bros.