What is the UltraViolet digital movie system

first_imgThe most common excuse I hear when someone justifies pirating a film is ease of access. They say, “If Hollywood would make it as easy to watch a movie using a system they want me to use versus heading over to [pirating method of their choosing], I’d use it”. Ignoring the legal implications behind the statement for a moment, the logic is sound. In a perfect world, you could buy your movie in the format you chose and have it be available on all of your devices. For some, this is a non-issue. If you have an iPhone, and Apple TV, and use iTunes, your digital content is already just about everywhere you could want it. If, however, you haven’t made this lifestyle choice, the options available to you become somewhat jumbled. A collaboration of 75 technology companies from every corner of the industry have come together with the hope to fill this void. The group calls themselves the UltraViolet Alliance, and their product is the similarly named UltraViolet.What is UltraViolet?Starting this month, you will start to see Blu-ray discs with the UltraViolet logo on them, starting with the Green Lantern and Horrible Bosses. If you buy the Blu-ray and watch it at home, your viewing experience will not be any different. If, however, you head to your computer and enter in the UltraViolet code found within the case, you will have your first UltraViolet movie.The purpose of UltraViolet is to give you access to your movie in a digital format on as many devices as possible. You can download it and watch it anywhere, or you can stream it to any device that has the Movies by Flixster app (Android and iOS included). Right now, streaming is the only option available, but their websites claim access to the feature will begin on the 20th of December.Setting up UltraVioletAccording to the documentation provided in my copy of Green Lantern, all you have to do to get started is head to Flixster and enter in your code. This is mostly true, though if you don’t have an account first you will need to make one. Unfortunately, this part of the process was less than smooth.Once you are able to create your account and feed your code to the machine. As soon as you submit the code, you have access to whatever movie you just unlocked. According to their service, any device on Android and the iPhone (4 and 4S) versions of the Movies by Flixster app. When you have access to your movie, you be able to stream it across all of your devices instantly. The website shows that streaming to your TV is “Coming Soon”, but a source at Flixster tells me this is for Google TV. The Movies by Flixster app will be available on Google TV when the Android 3.1 update comes to those devices. Streaming to your computer or to your phone or tablet is currently only Standard Definition.There are two movies available now, and eleven more on the way before the end of the year. Currently it seems like there are no plans to allow users to simply purchase the digital copies of the movie — you will need to purchase the Blu-ray version of the movie to have access to UltraViolet. I have to wonder though, will most discs ever leave their cases if users can stream right to a TV?Final ThoughtsIs this a cure all to video piracy? Of course not. People are going to steal content regardless of advances like this one, though UltraViolet does seem to be a positive direction for the future of digital content from Hollywood. If UltraViolet catches on, there’s potential for this to be the medium that is used to slowly phase out optical storage.The Movies by Flixster app is one of the more popular apps on both iOS and Android, and the subtle addition of this service to that app will make the transition seem organic to many users, even if all they do is use the service on mobile devices.All in all, my experience with UltraViolet so far has been a positive one. It’s a great value add to anyone already buying Blu-ray movies.last_img

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