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Anti-piracy system UltraViolet gets adopted?

UltraViolet.jpgIt was back in July of last year that I wrote up a feature about the UltraViolet system, a universal digital rights management system that would allow you to create an account, store the licence keys for your recently bought films, and then allow you to watch that film on other media and systems where it's available, instead of having to pay again to watch it.

So buy a film on Blu-ray and you'll be able to watch it for free on your Smartphone, tablet, PS3, PC, and so on. There's no need to buy multiple copies. What's more is that you'll be able to share it with your friends and family, for free.

The big news today is that the studios who were signed up last year are committed to distribution of the technology later this year, not that surprising since they were signed up last year, but the press release tells us some more of what it will mean to you.

Back in July of last year I wrote about the system in much more detail, and I'd recommend catching up with that article so you can understand what's coming, back then there was an extensive list of companies and studios that were signed up to the deal.

The companies involved were already listed as:

”Adobe, Alcatel-Lucent, Ascent Media, Best Buy, Blueprint, BT, CableLabs, Catch Media, CinemaNow, Cineplex Entertainment, Cisco, Comcast, Cox Communications, CSG Systems, Deluxe, DivX, Dolby, DTS, ExtendMedia, Fox Entertainment, Hewlett-Packard, Huawei Technologies, IBM, Intel, Irdeto, LG Electronics, Liberty Global, Lionsgate, LOVEFiLM, Marvell Semiconductor, Microsoft, MOD Systems, Motorola, Nagravision, NBC Universal, NDS Group, Netflix, Neustar, Nokia, Panasonic, Paramount Pictures, Philips, RIAA, Red Bee Media, Rovi, Saffron Digital, Samsung, Secure Path, Sonic Solutions, Sony, Switch Communications, Tesco, Thomson, Toshiba, Verimatrix, VeriSign, Warner Brothers, Widevine Technologies, Zoran”

As for the studios themselves the list was:

Fox, Lionsgate, NBC, Paramount, Sony and Warner.

There were some big names missing from there and the concern was that Disney were off developing their own version of this purely for Disney properties. However bear in mind how big Sony are and how large their reach is as they have their Internet enabled televisions, Blu-ray players and the PlayStation 3.

Now the news that comes through Engadget is that there's a definite move towards a release of the technology.

From the press release we hear a bit more detail about how it's actually going to be implemented and affect the average film viewer:

UltraViolet will allow consumers to purchase digital content and watch it wherever, whenever. Consumers who purchase UltraViolet entertainment will have an easy and consistent way to watch film and television content across multiple branded platforms, such as computers, connected TVs, game consoles, smartphones and tablets. The UltraViolet name and logo will help identify content, devices and services from a spectrum of familiar entities – including studios, retailers, consumer electronics manufacturers, cable companies, ISPs and other service providers – that will work together...

...Through the UltraViolet Account system, each household will be able to create an account for up to six members who can access the household's UltraViolet movies, TV and other entertainment via participating retailers, streaming providers and devices. Consumers will also be able to register up to 12 devices so UltraViolet content can be easily downloaded to those devices, or shared among them. In addition to these UltraViolet devices, UltraViolet streaming access will enable consumers to access their collections via set-top boxes and most places they can access the web, via computers, web-connected home video devices such as Blu-ray players and Internet TVs, and mobile apps for smartphones and tablets. Also, the UltraViolet Account will enable retailers to provide consumers with a copy to use on DVD players or other physical media, such as portable flash memory.

So an account will be per “household” and you'll have six people and twelve devices, that's pretty good, and I can see the average “household” stretching a little from the confines of the walls of your house.

Last year the big push was for beta testing, this year it looks like we're getting the roll-out, so expect updates to your devices that can be updated and the delivery of what could be the single biggest system to combat piracy that the film industry has seen.

To read more about UltraViolet, visit the previous Filmstalker feature and the official UltraViolet site.

What do you think though, is this a technology you would adapt? Do you see yourself using this system to watch and share your films?



I watch movies from disc, in a player (PS3), on my TV in the lounge so that I get the full benefit of HD pictures and sound.

I don't stream movies, or download and watch movies with only stereo sound, or watch them on a tiny monitor, or a small handheld device.

So as long as this system doesn't stop me doing that, I'm not interested in it.

From the way I see it, piracy has always been a threat to movie/film industries. Viewers dont really care with the copy they have as long as they are entertain.


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