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Betting on UltraViolet

26 Mar, 2012 By: Stephanie Prange


Our latest issue includes our special white paper on UltraViolet, which lets consumers store the rights to movies and other content in a digital locker in the cloud, and access that content whenever they choose on whichever device they choose.

It’s a reboot, if you will, of the ownership model that made Blu-ray Disc and DVD such successes, and it promises to move the consumers’ content library into the digital world. It’s no secret that electronic sellthrough has been slow to get off the ground, and UltraViolet is designed to kick-start digital ownership.

One of its advantages is that it includes so many backers. There are many studios, consumer electronics companies, retailers and technology players betting on UltraViolet. Walmart’s recent announcement that it would allow consumers to access digital copies of their discs via UltraViolet and its Vudu service for the nominal fee of $2 or $5 (for a high-def upgrade) made the introduction of our white paper particularly timely. This stamp of approval from the biggest home entertainment retailer — and biggest retailer, period — could prove a shot in the arm for the digital service.

The home entertainment business is no stranger to new formats and initiatives to bring content to the consumer — or to the heated competition such changes can engender, from the battle between VHS and Betamax in the early days of the home video business to the high-definition format war between Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD.

In hindsight, industry observers can usually point to a decisive event that precipitated each move to a new content delivery format. The inclusion of a Blu-ray player in Sony’s PlayStation 3, for instance, rocketed that format ahead of the competing HD DVD and may have been the  catalyst that helped Blu-ray win the high-definition disc battle. Walmart’s backing of UltraViolet may prove to be such a turning point, which is precisely the reason Home Media Magazine decided to produce this comprehensive overview of the initiative post haste.

Granted, UltraViolet is still a work in progress. But it has many betting on it, and as history has shown, in the world of home entertainment, there’s a lot of strength in numbers.


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