Ultraviolet is Not a Solution to Copying and Piracy
Earlier this week, Walmart announced that they have jumped onto the Ultraviolet wagon, allowing customers to first purchase their DVDs or Blu-Rays, then pay an additional $2-5 fee to provide Digital Rights access. For those who are not familiar with Digital Rights Management, it is basically a form of access control, allowing or preventing media from being played. In many cases, DRM is applied on the file, but Ultraviolet is one of the latest DRM creations to surface because its cloud-based, which means it must be able to connect to the Internet to work. iTunes, Amazon, and Netflix already offer protected online access to movies, and they do it a hell of a lot better.
To be clear, Ultraviolet is not a locker for media, so it doesn’t store your content in the cloud, like recent offerings from Amazon and Apple, nor does UV stream content. No, Ultraviolet stores just the access control, which is convenient for the movie studios since they don’t need to store hundreds of petabytes just to build a decent library. If you, the consumer, want to access a movie that is Ultraviolet compatible, then you must use an Ultraviolet approved web site or phone app, like Flixster, to access a copy of the movie, which means you need to sign up to that particular site hosting the movie. Once successfully registered, “the account holder may register up to 12 devices for streaming and/or downloading for transfer onto physical media (e.g. DVDs, SD cards, flash memory drives). Once downloaded, an UltraViolet file can be played on any UltraViolet player registered to the household account.” (Wikipedia) And, Walmart shoppers, you can pay a little more on top for this convoluted process, just to jump a couple of registration steps, that is one of the least consumer friendly processes I have ever experienced. How can backers of Ultraviolet really think this is a solution to their piracy issues? They tend to say UV’s intentions are good, but consumers need to deal with the bumps to get to a great service. How about a great service that eliminates the bumps for the consumer?