Warner Bros. has soft launched the UltraViolet cloud based "digital copy" system with its 'Horrible Bosses' and 'Green Lantern' Blu-ray releases, something that was promised back in August.
UltraViolet, the Sony backed format, allows consumers to get a cloud stored copy of the movie they just purchased, on DVD or Blu-ray, one that can be downloaded or streamed from all of their portable devices, including their iPhones or iPads, and Android devices. Eventually, smart TVs, game consoles, Blu-ray players and other Internet connected devices will probably support UltraViolet too, allowing you to watch a movie without even inserting the disc, that you just purchased, in.
But apart from the UltraViolet logo that sits on top of the usual "Digital Copy" sticker, it is one potential game changing launch that seems to have gone largely unnoticed.
With UltraViolet being supported by almost all of the Hollywood studios, and some of the largest IT and technology companies, it certainly is strange how little fanfare accompanied the launch. But given the current state of the platform, perhaps it's not surprising at all.
For starters, UltraViolet doesn't yet specify just how movie lovers will actually get access to the cloud stored version of the movie they just purchased, as it has been left up to each studio to determine just how that is done. Warner Bros. has decided to use its recently acquired Flixter service to distribute the movies, meaning people will not only have to enter in the 12-digit redemption code (something familiar to those that have actually bothered with their digital copies before), you also have to download and install the Flixter app to get the cloud based fun started. And where there isn't Flixter, such as on smart TVs or game consoles, UltraViolet does not shine at all.
Sony is also launching UltraViolet soon, using 'The Smurfs' as the launch title in early December, but its UltraViolet redemption process is even more convoluted, requiring users to register and download the digital copy from one of its own websites.
But the positives are there too. For one, it seems studios, well Warner Bros. at least, won't be charging customers extra for UltraViolet, with the 3-disc Blu-ray/DVD/UltraViolet/Digital Copy combo for 'Green Lantern' costing the usual $24.99. And all And when enough devices start supporting UltraViolet, and you have to think that a lot of them will given the format's 60 strong consumer electronic partners that include the likes of Panasonic, Sony (of course), Samsung, as well as IT partners Dell, HP, Motorola, then UltraViolet will really take off.