What is Ultraviolet? February 2012
What is Ultraviolet?
Ultraviolet is the latest attempt to tie together films and TV content purchased online and in-store to one place, utilising the cloud. This content can then be accessed from any compatible device, and shared with family members and friends under one account.
Ultraviolet is a new system for organising movies and TV content purchased either digitally or physically. Media supported by this service is hosted on the cloud, and provides its owners with a central library than can be accessed from most devices that can access the internet.
How do I access Ultraviolet?
Anyone who wants to use Ultraviolet must first register on its website. The site itself doesn't offer any film content, but pulls together the viewers media purchased from retailers.
Up to six people can share an Ultraviolet account, and the service can be registered on 12 compatible devices.
How do I watch Ultraviolet?
Once films have been added to the user's Ultraviolet library, there are three ways to watch them:
- Stream the movie over the internet
- Download the movie and play it locally
- Download the movie and burn to a disc
The third option depends on the rights of the individual movie itself, so this may not be possible with all content.
Films can in theory be watched on any device that connects to the internet, be it PC, TV, tablet or smartphone. While there aren't currently any Ultraviolet apps for iOS or Android devices, they can't be far off.
Read our guide to buying and renting films online
Where can I buy Ultraviolet titles?
Ultraviolet supported content is available either through films and TV shows that are purchased online digitally, or as a bonus on retail discs. The first disc available in the UK to support the new format is horror title Final Destination 5, which offers an Ultraviolet copy of the film alongside the Blu-ray. This is in the form of a unique code that must be redeemed online, and is then added to the user's Ultraviolet library.
For digital purchases, users are given the option to add an Ultraviolet copy to their library at the point of purchase. Again, this is automatically added to their library.
Films and TV shows that have been purchased previously cannot currently be retrospectively added to the Ultraviolet library.
Who are the Ultraviolet partners?
Whether or not Ultraviolet takes off depends heavily on its support and implementation. Currently the service is supported by the majority of film studios, including Sony Pictures, Warner Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures.
Having just launched, Ultraviolet is also supported by Tesco, which offers a similar system through a partnership with Blinkbox, which offers digital copies of films with those purchased in store. The four main TV manufacturers, LG, Samsung, Sony and Panasonic are also behind the system, and we would expect to see Ultraviolet apps built into Smart TV's in the near future.
Read our guide to buying a Smart TV
Limitations of Ultraviolet
Currently, Ultraviolet is not supported by Apple, meaning that any films or TV shows purchased through Apples service won't show up in your Ultraviolet library. It is also not backwards compatible, so those who have already built a large digital library won't be able to add these titles.
With the system only launching in the UK in December 2011, there is currently very little content that is Ultraviolet compatible, despite the big name backers. Only time will tell if the format will take off.
Alternatives to Ultraviolet
Currently, nobody is offering a library service similar to Ultraviolet, that pulls in films and TV shows from many retailers into one central library. However, there are alternatives, such as Blinkbox, a service operated by Tesco. DVD and Blu Ray titles purchased its store come with a digital copy, redeemable on Blinkbox.
There are also many streaming services available, which may not offer the option to own the content, but for a relatively low fee, users can access and stream thousands of films. Two of the main streaming sites are Netflix and Lovefilm.
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