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Last week several of us at Dolby attended the Academy on UltraViolet in Los Angeles to get an update on this new and exciting home entertainment initiative. The event was hosted by the Media Entertainment & Services Alliance (MESA) in cooperation with the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) and the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), which are basically three important industry organizations focused on advancing the world of home entertainment. Not familiar with UltraViolet yet? Well, the initiative is in its early phases of rolling out, but essentially UltraViolet will allow you to purchase a movie or TV show on Blu-ray disc or through a streaming service, and then have access to that piece of content on multiple devices. UltraViolet will allow you to store your content in the cloud as part of your own digital locker and will allow you to share that content with other members of your household.
UltraViolet launched last fall and right now you’ll find special redemption codes on Blu-ray discs and DVD combo packs that will allow you to stream or download that piece of contetn on different devices using different services. Right now most of the major studios including Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers and Paramount, are making their new titles available through UltraViolet (including the recent release of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) and many are also starting to roll out catalog titles. Flixster and Vudu are among the first service providers to allow you to access your UltraViolet titles on devices.
At the Academy on UltraViolet, we received some important updates from the DECE and representatives from the major Hollywood studios. As of April, more than 2 million households have signed up for UltraViolet and this number is expected to grow consistently thanks in large part due to Walmart’s Disc to Digital program. If you didn’t know, you can now take all of your DVD and Blu-ray discs into your local Walmart and gain access to those titles through Vudu for $2-5. In addition to Flixster and Vudu, there are a number of new services going live with UltraViolet which means it’ll become even easier for you to access your content however you prefer.
One of the main priorities the DECE said they’re working on for the continued roll out of UltraViolet is the sign up process. They admit that right now the process is cumbersome with users having to sign up for multiple accounts, and requiring several steps to link accounts and get everything set up. I’ve done this myself and while I admit that it does take some time to get set up, once you do, it’s pretty easy to take advantage of all the benefits.
Whether you’re one of the early 2 million users trying out the UltraViolet service or perhaps you’re holding out a little longer, one thing is for sure, this initiative is as important to Hollywood studios as the launches of VHS, DVD and Blu-ray. They’re committed to its success and you better believe Dolby is too! We believe UltraViolet is the next platform for enabling a premium entertainment experience and we look forward to being part of the ecosystem to deliver multi-channel audio, as the initiative continues to roll out.
- Derek Brookmeyer is an Americas Marketing Manager at Dolby. In addition he is a Midwesterner turned SF lover, college sports watcher, pug owner, soul seeker, adventurer, backpacker, marathoner, TV and online addict!