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back to article What is UltraViolet™ and why should you care?

UltraViolet is the most important media service you've probably never heard of – a grand plan for Hollywood to get everything right that the music business has got wrong. All the major studios are members of the DECE consortium behind UV, apart from Disney (You can probably guess why). Cable companies and telcos are already …

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FAIL

DVD Media of all kinds...

...is dying. E-formats are taking hold of the market and in 5 years downloads will account for 95% of the market.

If you invest in media now it will just lose more and more money over time.

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Go

Investment?

I don't buy media as an investment, I buy it for entertainment, the only way I will stop buying physical DVD's or Blu Rays is if a system like this becomes the norm!

It sounds only fair to me, I would imagine the companies involved like the fact that they will have a direct line to those watching their product! It is an extension of the Triple-Play packs offered by various companies and an excellent idea. Here's hoping it succeeds and soon.

Lets face it the only way they were going to combat the pirates was with a system like this.

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Big Brother

Media investments.

Media is useful for as long as it is functional. Even after that, it's a useful token of ownership that does not depend on any overly centralized service that may suddenly go offline.

Physical media also eclipses e-media in terms of what's available for purchase. Some stuff just isn't available in any e-format anywhere. It's hard to buy something that doesn't exist.

I can liberate stuff now or later and strip any DRM off of it and have no limitations or be under the watchful eye of some digital Big Brother gatekeeper.

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Holmes

Finally

A bloody good idea, and signs that some industries *DO* seem to be capable of learning and embracing new technologies!!

Now all we need is for the various telly companies to do something similar and to bin the idiotic geographical restrictions they currently have, and throw their lot in with this UV mob so you don't need several different accounts, and they might actually make a decent dent in piracy!

It'd certainly blunt my needs for going to eztv.it! Also, eventually, when Disney are getting pwned by all the people refusing to use iTunes, hence not able to get their films, they'll soon come around.

My only lingering concern will be the number of profiled adverts that'll be inserted into the stream before the film - Pearl & Dean and DCM must be rubbing their hands in glee.

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You know what? That'd make a welcome change.

Being able to tag those PPI adverts as spam- or at least 'not interested' would be good. Same with perfume and those godawful "1 million" adverts. Or Tampon adverts- I've nothing against them, but I'm a single male. I live alone. I have absolutely no interest in such things- why not run the Bombadier advert past me again?

So aside from the privacy issues, targetted advertising is probably a god thing!

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Bod
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Hence why Blu Ray was always doomed

All along during the format wars with HD DVD, I've said Blu Ray was doomed anyway. HD DVD was still doomed, but the cheaper option for studios, distributors and the punter in the short term until downloads take over.

The negative side of all of this is having to yet again buy more equipment to be compatible with UV. Will this include a new TV again or can they cope with just using HDCP as the media protection element to a TV? All those TVs with Internet services built in would need replacing though.

I need to replace my faulty TV but it makes it a problem now as do I have to wait until UV is up and running?

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Mushroom

Confoosed

Film Industry + Technology = Consumer Friendly Product

Does not compute. Does not comp...kzzzzzrrrrt....fssssss....

<----- My brain

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Mushroom

All Komfrused here too

A little voice in the back of my head keeps telling me it's bullshit, but then it looks legit, but then my "too good to be true - it can't be true - you're missing an angle" radar goes off again.

If you've never seen or heard of Three Card Monte before then it looks pretty cool too until you're walking away with an empty wallet saying "WTF just happened?"

We must have missed the part about the required RFID implant where you have to be physically present for the movie to play... or something.

This makes too much sense - it can't be real!

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sounds promising

Now which publisher/label/tech company will be the first to throw a strop and ruin the whole thing?

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Anonymous Coward

I'm betting.....

Sony

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A certainty...

Got to be Sony.

And the comparison with the music industry approach is interesting. I've recently had the misfortune to deal with Sonicstage again to use an old Hi-MD Walkman. What a dreadful POS that was. Designed from day one with DRM and other restrictions on the user at it's core. Usability a badly designed afterthought.

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Anonymous Coward

its gonna be sony

Sony are in a world of hurt, one of the many reasons Sony pushed BD so much was because it was theirs, they sell the licence for every disk made, they had the CDs as well, DVDs was not one of theirs neither was HD-DVDs, the battle of those formats was largely won because of the stake Sony had in its success, it couldnt lose or rather it must not lose

Doing this will help completely cut out Sony who has managed to get pretty much everything it has ever done so badly wrong, im loving the idea :)

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Mushroom

Lazy Sony poking?

But Sony appear to be heavily involved in this - the Chief Technology Officer of Sony Pictures - Mitch Singer - is also President of the DECE.

R116- you may be right about Sonicstage, but that's history; if we're including history, don't forget Sony vs Universal over Betamax.

Dazzza - "one of the many reasons Sony pushed BD so much was because it was theirs" - err, yes. don't you think that's logical?

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Coat

Re: its gonna be sony

Sony may be in a "world of hurt", but if they're into "BD" then they must like that kind of thing.

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as much as you all like bashing on sony....

I'm fairly sure the article mentioned Disney.

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Anonymous Coward

missed point

you missed the point, taken in to context with what i said next it made sense...i think.

They had to push it because CD sales stopped making them money, DVD/HD-DVD wasnt making them any money, they had to replace what was a very big money maker the humble CD

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Bod
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Re: Lazy Sony poking?

"But Sony appear to be heavily involved in this - the Chief Technology Officer of Sony Pictures - Mitch Singer - is also President of the DECE"

Sony were and are one of the founding members of the DVD Forum that were behind HD DVD.

"Dazzza - "one of the many reasons Sony pushed BD so much was because it was theirs" - err, yes. don't you think that's logical?"

Logical, but desirable? The whole lot, including Sony stated at the outset that they wanted to avoid a destructive costly format war again like Betamax vs VHS.

The DVD Forum members worked as a consortium to develop something that everyone would be happy with. Sony decided to back an alternate format, but they were all happy to work with each other and at one point even merge in Blu Ray developments.

But Sony saw dollar signs instead and wanted to push Blu Ray as exclusive format for the PS3 and saw that the PS3 was the way to make Blu Ray all theirs, with royalties for all discs sold going to them.

So they ended up pushing the destruct button. They have probably been responsible for the push towards downloads as everyone got fed up with the whole thing.

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Happy

That actually sounds...

...almost sensible. They may actually have come up with a model I'm prepared to buy into. Fingers crossed.

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Catch?

Too good to be true, you just know that there's going to be a catch.

I'm wondering what it is going to be.

There's probably going to be a two teir system with a free version that lets you do less than you currently can with a DVD (Like locking it down to set devices), and a premium version that has the features that are listed above, but where you have to give up some of you content if you stop subscribing (making this a long rental rather than an ownership deal).

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Re: Catch?

>long rental

Doesn't even sound like that. "You pay only for what you use" makes it sound like you watch five times you pay five times. Not, you pay once and can watch whenever.

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Anonymous Coward

dont think so

The system they are talking about would suggest that its quite possible that you could "rent" a movie just as much as you could buy one, perhaps the model would be something like, you pay x to rent and get the film, or you pay xx to buy the film when its released and get x y and z plus the film as well

actually thinking about it the idea is almost limitless, its a direct clone of Valves "Steam" and they are doing very very well out of it, they could offer DLC, imagin you buy the film, and along comes a 10th aniversery addition with a special 30min cut put back in, why buy the whole film again, when you could buy it as a DLC.

No seriously, the more i think about this the more it makes sence, if they can pull it off it would take the movie industry in to the 21st centry they key is not to be too greedy, if they do then that will fuck it up.

The only downside i see and perhaps this is just me being old is that i like to have something physical, especially special editions, although in saying all of that, whats to stop them allowing us to buy that as well, and all you would be paying for is the physical materials, shipping and a profit margin....

looks like a new dawn to me, lets hope Sony goes in to liquidation before it can ruin this one as well

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: dont think so

I should have pointed out that UltraViolet is originally Sony's idea. They want it to work.

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Go

Actually... that sounds awesome.

First, sell the movie. Then... Commentary? DLC. Extras? DLC. Widescreen? DLC. Blooper reel? DLC. 10th Anniversary special edition? DLC. Movie-without-previews? DLC. Even a "You bought this online; add a DVD/Bluray/SuperFutureDisc" DLC! (Ok, so DLC stands for downloadable content... still, you know what I mean)

And imagine that, only with a suggestion box: "Like Science Fiction? Here's more you might like!" "Eh, it's only a dollar, sure. And that. And that..."

It's like putting the Wal-Mart bargain bucket-'o-movies online; instead of $2 for a cheap DVD, you can get an even more stripped down streamable version for $0.99.

If the movie companies don't/can't see the money they would make with this... there is no hope for them. Seriously.

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Pint

haha

Whoops! Minor oversight!

still, the point is valid, perhaps they did think of it, but given their track record i hope they dont screw it up.

Speak to valve, hell they could perhaps even team up with vavle, after all, they have done all the hardwork

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Facepalm

Just one little problem:

The titles that they actually release in this way will be crap.

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Anonymous Coward

Then they picked the right name alright

Futuristic + Jovovich + vampires So ought to be good film - not in my experience alas.

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Trollface

I preferred the one that was

Late 90's + Idris Elba + vampires.

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FAIL

Wrong

"When you buy a music CD you're not supposed to rip it, you're actually breaking copyright by doing that. - Rob Salter

Not here in the US! It's a fair use backup.

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Anonymous Coward

Tescos

I assume they're talking about here in the UK it being their main base of operations.

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Facepalm

RE: Wrong

You may consider it to be a fair use backup. However, it is still in violation of copyright laws (including in the US) if you are not making that backup to the same medium and format.

Copying an audio CD to a CD-R, as a raw to raw copy could be classed as a backup. Ripping that music to your hard drive/memory card/CD-R as an MP3/WMV etc is a breach of copyright as you are changing the format the content which you are not licensed to do. It is these little bits of copyright law that go un-noticed by many.

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FAIL

Never mind...

NEver mind... soon you can be charged for doing what you do already for free, go UltraViolet !

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Linux

Copy madness.

ANY use of digital media requires multiple copies.

That's just the way it is.

Trying to criminalize incidental copies in such an environment is absurd.

As long as I am not a publisher, Disney should have no ability to interfere with my rights with respect to my own personal property (including copies of something from Disney).

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What can possibly go wrong?

How long until their servers are hacked, and a gazillion people have their private bits exposed to the black hats? :-)

But that aside; what kind of surcharges will our mobile and home ISP's add for this service (not to mention the so-prevalent data caps most are applying now)? In my opinion, it is a scheme to lock in viewers who will see their internet and media costs rising, and rising, and rising... The term "ad infinitum" comes to mind.

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As long as George Lucas gets told to take a hike...

This sounds like a pretty good idea - one licence to rent or buy the content with a number of ways of getting hold of the data. The only fly I could see in the ointment is some dick like Lucas coming along, selling a version of Star Wars, then coming back next year and superceding it with the Double-Secret Probation Edition and removing the earlier version from the servers (cos you know he would). Disney, with their limited-time releases of their animated features, aren't going to play cos anything that sounds like it might give their customers a fair deal brings their execs out in hives (probably).

The two questions I'd ask are: when you "buy" a film what are your rights if the distributor goes into receivership (i.e. is your licence held in escrow and whoever picks up the copyright has to honour your licence)? And do you buy licences separately for SD and HD content, or is it one price for every version?

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Stop

Must be a scam

My local trading standards always tells me that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

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Linux

I don't get it either

I've got a nickel that says everything that you possess, including your pR0n collection, will be reported to the servers, since they need to keep track of what you are receiving. And, all of that will be accessible by law enforcement.

On top of everything, the general public will think that the Internet is a large truck! Well, it's not. It's a series of tubes and this movie scheme will jam up the Internet like no one's business, and a public service that was originally envisioned to spread knowledge and understanding amongst the people on this planet, will now become the new Teamster's Union. With that, it will become regulated and then the quest for the "right Thing" will be dead and gone, in favor of the media industry's perception of what life ought to be like, zombies in front of glowing screens being bombarded with ads. Who needs email? "This will only end in tears."

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Unhappy

Can guarantee

that there will be no way of using this from Linux!

And I hope you will be able to un-register devices from accounts for when, say, a young person leaves to set up their own dwelling.

Even if this is a positive spin on DRM, I don't trust the industry.

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No Blu-ray on Linux Anyway

There's no way to play Blu-Rays on Linux anyway so at least we're no worse off. I know I could fritz about with VLC player and MakeMKV and get most titles sort-of working but the percentage of people who go that route is going to be extremely small.

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Linux

No BD on Linux.

...so who uses physical media any more anyways?

I haven't played physical media directly in years.

It started with CDs and then moved to DVDs and later to BDs.

BDs play great on ANY platform once you get rid of the DRM.

Although you are correct. Most people "simply won't bother" and they will get their PC-ready copy from The Pirate Bay rather than going to the trouble of making their own.

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Anonymous Coward

"with a US launch is expected this year"

And presumably a Netflix style infinite wait in the UK.

Presumably plenty of people will transfer content from UV to The Pirate Bay though.

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One Word...

Anticompetitive! I'd love to see Rupert's face.

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Anonymous Coward

Why?

Sky could just as easily plug this system in to their own system, with HDDs in some models of Sky players its not impossible, the question is would they get a big enough cut out of it to compete with their own box office

Given that they are already signed up my guess is that they will have something in place

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Two tier market

The plain truth is that the majority of people in the U.K. do not have a broadband service fast enough for this. The average U.K. download speed is still only 3.5meg, with many not even getting that. This is nowhere near enough to stream HD content, it cannot even handle the BBC iplayer on standard definition much of the time, so unless ISPs invest a huge amount in upgrading their services, and the network, we will have a large section of society in the U.K. which will be left out of the loop and will keep on going to the pirates.

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Anonymous Coward

so?

So what? There's still a good proportion of people in the UK who do get decent connections so they can potentially enjoy the new potential service. Also it isn't the ISPs fault (for the most part) they get their connections from BT Wholesale.

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Kick in the pants

Perhaps it's exactly the sort of thing that is needed, because the level of complaints from those with substandard broadband will get louder and louder and may encourage a decent upgrade. I wish BT would do FTTC in my village. While our existing ADSL wet string isn't as long as some, it's still a bit too long for comfort.

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DRM

..has been and always will be bad for the consumer - a logical fallacy to create use by adding restrictions.

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There's always the option...

... Of including UV in the DVD's in a similar fashion to Fox's DigitalCopy service which provides you with a movie download included in the DVD. Use the code included in the DVD booklet and you can download the movie onto your digital device. That adds value to the DVD, and that is worth my money.

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It also

gets rid of the problem mentioned above for those who don't have a fast internet connection! They just get a normal, bog-standard DVD that can be read in any DVD player (as well as what would otherwise be DLC thrown in), but can still register it to their UV account and watch the movie at better-internetted friends/relative's homes.

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Anonymous Coward

The fly in the ointment ...

... broadband speeds...

Until Offcom (and government) pulls finger out and allows further inroads into BT's networks by competitors, we'll be waiting for BT to lay all the fibre that's going to be required to allow for the reality of HD streaming content across the country.

Right now, it's only cities and large towns which have that luxury.

I've no idea what the percentages are of people currently unable to stream HD media, but I can bet it's a LOT.

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Anonymous Coward

OFCOM?

who are they? are they supposed to keep BT in check or something ;)

your perfectly correct, BT has a crap network, even in the towns, i live in a large town but apparently 1-2Mbps is quite exceptable here, as its over 500Kbps its considered Broadband.

We need compertition to force BT to compete with other better services, Cable would be good if it wasnt for the fact that almost no investment in to their network has been given for several decades, id love cable, and its right outside my door, but will they put a line in, nope, fresh out of luck again.

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