The big studios have a new weapon in the battle against TV and movie piracy. It’s called UltraViolet and is a new distribution platform that allows lifetime access to digital files via a web-based account and playback on all compatible devices.
The group hopes that the big selling point will be the ability to access purchased content on any UltraViolet device including streaming and download for off-line playback to wireless devices via an online storage portal at home or on the go.
UltraViolet relies on users registering for a free account, but then limits to a maximum of six users access to the content as well as tying the Ultraviolet devices to the content. This suggests that the studios are still trying to come to terms with digital delivery models and copyright control by tying users in knots in perpetuity.
However, offering an ownership-with-privileges model is probably a big concession by the studios that have struggled to come to terms with consumer demand for easily accessible and transferrable content. Ignoring web-based delivery models and relying on DRM has hurt the industry and held back innovation.
New UltraViolet-branded content will be available on DVDs, including Blu-ray, and digital downloads of movies and TV shows. The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) alliance, a group of film and TV studios including Warner Bros and Fox as well as major manufacturers like Microsoft and Sony, is behind UltraViolet.
Users aren’t expected to see UltraViolet-branded content until midway through 2011 but it may take longer for matching devices to be available as this year’s product cycle is likely to be set out already. An announcement with details of when UltraViolet will be available outside the US is expected in the next few months.