UltraViolet might just be the most important media service released this year- ahead of iCloud, ahead of Google’s cloud based streaming service. All of the major studios, cable companies and telephone companies are behind the technology, including BT and BSkyB. TV manufacturers are also involved, with many looking to build television sets capable of streaming UV content straight to your face. Tesco are the last chaps on the bandwagon, saying that they’re going to launch a UV-compatible video on demand service.
But what is it? It’s a very ambitious wholesale platform, allowing those who have a free UV account to purchase a piece of media once and watch it anywhere. This means that if you get yourself a BluRay or DVD that happens to have the UV logo on it, you can watch it instantly on any UV-capable device. This means if you go to a friend’s place and they don’t have a BluRay player, you can still watch the film as it’s tied to your account. Apparently you can never lose anything, and six users in total can share a single UV account. There is a limit of 12 devices per account, which is pretty reasonable.
This is a wonderful example of the movie industry actually doing something with DRM that might be a little bit good in some way. After the massive amounts of negative press around DRM both with places like the iTunes store and especially Ubisoft’s ridiculous DRM service, this emphasises that digital rights management might not actually always be a four letter word.