Amazon has just announced a partnership with UltraViolet, a “digital movie locker” service that allows users to stream movies they’ve purchased on DVD. The “movie locker” concept is catching on as more services are emerging using the idea.
Cloud-based storage has become increasingly prevalent in almost every aspect of the digital experience. Whereas once we stored our music on CDs and lived in caves, today we use iTunes and cloud storage services to house gigabytes of files and so forth. The same is coming true with movies. A growing service, called UltraViolet, has some major Hollywood players on board with its platform and a newly announced partnership with Amazon.com, according to USA Today. UltraViolet was created by Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, a consortium of movie studios and entertainment technology companies that has just gotten off the ground. Purchasers of an UltraViolet DVD enter a code online that puts the film in the users’ “digital locker,” then the movie can be streamed to the computer, iPad or iPhone.
Currently, there are 19 DVDs with UltraViolet technology, all of which are Blu-Ray. What Amazon is going to do for UltraViolet is unknown, but what is known is that movie studios are more keen on UltraViolet than on online movie rentals, such as through Netflix, as it ensures purchase of physical DVD’s. According to PC Magazine, an UltraViolet account can be registered on up to 11 different devices. A “household” account can also be established, enabling six people to access any UV content from anywhere. So far, Sony, 20th Century Fox, Universal and Warner are on board with UltraViolet. Disney, however, is not yet. The service is geared to expand further as more Blu-Ray DVDs come out and more players, but it still leaves a gap where non-Blu-Ray DVDs are concerned.
There are more “digital locker” services available. According to the Los Angeles Times, Rovi Corp., formerly MacroVision, has launched its own digital locker service, called Rovi Digital Copy. Internet connected Blu-Ray players will read a code on DVD or Blu-Ray discs and offer the owner the chance to put it in a digital locker. It probably won’t be free, but the DVD can presumably be watched anywhere on compatible devices, though not all devices will work. However, it works with any DVD, unlike UltraViolet, which only works with UltraViolet-equipped Blu-Ray discs. Then again, services like Flixster and Netflix offer a lot of the same benefits, without having to buy Blu-Ray discs. Granted, films can take awhile to become available, but a single disc can cost more than a month’s subscription.
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