Tag Archives: Ultraviolet

Wal-mart and Movies in the Cloud

This past week Wal-Mart announced exclusive disk to digital service using Vudu. The way it works is the consumer would bring down his or her DVDs or Blu-ray discs to their local Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart would then create a digital copy of that disc on Vudu.  Vudu is a content delivery network which is available through over 300 devices including PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. This is the first attempt to introduce the UltraViolet system to the public on a large-scale. The Ultraviolet system works like a locker in the cloud . It was created in 2008 by most major Hollywood studios and their partners . Consumers store the digital rights to the DVDs they own in this locker. They then can watch the movie on any device that carries Vudu. The UltraViolet system can handle a multiple number of DRM technologies, which Hollywood continues to support. However so far consumers have not looked favorably upon the UltraViolet system so this is the first really big test to see if this system can work or not.

I see several problems with this system the first is that you physically have to bring your DVDs or Blu-ray disc down to local Wal-Mart and stand in line, how many people are going to do this. The second is it does not work with all movies in fact any movie distributed by Disney cannot be added. Disney is not a part of the UltraViolet consortium. Third you can’t watch the movie on a iPad or iPhone,(except in the Safari browser) remember Steve Jobs was on the Disney board and iTunes is a competitor to Vudu.  Fourth you are putting it in a locker that someone else controls, Which means at any time they can change the combination or take away the key or close the whole system down and you have no say in it. Also you don’t get any of the extras and no subtitles on English films. Fifth most movies especially older ones are already available through other means such as Netflix or Amazon or iTunes often at a cheaper rate. Sixth if you want to watch the movie on your computer it will be in standard definition, not full HD. Finally most sophisticated users already have ways to rip their DVD’s without having to carry them down to the local Wal-Mart and stand in line. I will be surprise if this is successful, sophisticated tech users will not use it and normal will not understand or trust it. I wonder if Wal-Mart will offer this automatically when you purchase a new DVD or BLu Ray, that may help add to its popularity.  Will you use this system, will your parents, or is dead before it gets off the ground?

UltraViolet Light My Way

Ultraviolet is a brand new service just announced by some Hollywood and technology heavyweights.  The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), a collection of 58 studios and tech companies, is betting it’s future on Ultraviolet.

This will be a video standard – more like a codec and not a web site.  Actually, more cloud storage than anything else.  Essentially you will purchase a movie and store it on Ultraviolet (the cloud) and it will be available wherever you are and on whatever device you are using.  This is very ambitious and very promising.

And not just movies, but TV shows will be available at kick-off.  There is hope that later updates will add music and maybe even e-books.

Per their website (referring to the logo pictured at left):

“This logo will start appearing on movies for sale (designed for digital downloads and DVDs/Blu-ray Discs), in retailers’ stores and online offerings, and on devices or the apps that run on them. It will signify that everything with the UltraViolet logo is designed to give consumers a consistent, easy and “just works” experience – no matter who makes it or where it’s purchased.”

So, who are the big players involved?  Netflix, Philips, Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, HP, LG, Intel, Nokia, Comcast, CinemaNow, Adobe, NBC Universal, Lionsgate, Paramount and WB to name just a few.

As you can see, most of the big players are here.  The biggest absence  is Disney.  This may be because of their ties to Apple, who has an interest in their own online video service.  If UltraViolet takes off, though, then I would guess that Disney will feel obligated to follow.

That leaves the biggest question as WHEN?  Well, the press release issued on July 20 gives no indication of that.  My guess is not next week or even next month, but maybe (probably) by the end of the year.