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More UltraViolet on Smaller Releases, Please

31 Jan, 2012 By: Billy Gil


My first experience with UltraViolet came with the release of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Drive — my personal pick for movie of the year, Oscars be darned.

The Blu-ray Disc came with an easy-to-follow card offering simple steps to enjoy your UltraViolet copy of the film. Within a determined five minutes, I was able to enjoy a copy of the film on my computer.

But I’ll echo the sentiments of plenty of other consumers out there: It’s far from a flawless process. Having to sign up for two separate websites to get the copy is cumbersome. I have to download a separate app (Flixster) and sign up for that, too, to play the thing on my iPhone. And the process of sharing the movie is a bit awkward, too — I have to create the person’s login information myself, or they have to use my sign-in information.

I’d love to see UltraViolet streamlined so that you only sign into one site, you can easily add devices (that spot on the site just says “coming soon” for now) and you can add family or friends to your account, simply by emailing them and allowing them to set it up themselves within your account. There should be some sort of social element, as well, built into UltraViolet — look at the success of Spotify or Netflix to see how alluring a social media element can be to a service such as this.

I think the service could be a great alternative to selling independent films wholesale to a service like Netflix. If the price were cheaper just to buy an UltraViolet copy of a film, I’d definitely pay for something like that. I’d love to pay $5 to be able to stream Melancholia and let my closest friends do the same. I could see movie clubs cropping up around that sort of thing — again, I think it all comes back to social. Studios could charge a lower price for smaller films so that independent film fans who can’t stream newer films on Netflix — and who’ve abandoned buying films on DVD or Blu-ray — could be brought back into the fold.

There’s a lot more that can be done with UltraViolet. In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying my digital copy of Monty Python and the Holy Grail when that movie comes out on Blu-ray with an UltraViolet copy March 6.

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About the Author: Billy Gil

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