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UltraViolet, revealed at CES, backed by major Hollywood studios

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Are you ready for “UltraViolet?” Because it’s about to become 2011’s buzzword for home-entertainment technology.

At the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a new consortium dubbed the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) – which consists of Warner Bros Entertainment, Netflix, Microsoft, HP and Best Buy – unveiled a new technology they are calling UltraViolet. The technology would make digital content made available on home-video releases playable on certified devices.

ZDNet reports that UltraViolet users “could acquire what are essentially lifetime rights to movies and shows. The rights to certain content could be easily transferred from one service provider to another if the owner chooses to switch or if one the services closes down. Owners wouldn’t fear to lose or break their video fare because all the material would live in the cloud and be accessible via web-connected TVs, handhelds, computers and set-top boxes.”

Shortly after the news was released regarding UltraViolet, six major Hollywood studios – including Warner Bros., Paramount, Sony and Universal – jumped on the bandwagon.

From the press release:

Six of Hollywood’s largest studios including Lionsgate Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. announced their support for the UltraViolet service and format created by the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE).

Complementing the physical DVD and Blu-ray home entertainment markets, studios will begin offering UltraViolet content this year through digital online retailers and digital rights that come with packaged media, giving consumers the ability to watch digital entertainment across multiple platforms such as connected TVs, PCs, game consoles and smartphones.

Through UltraViolet, consumers now have greater choice and freedom to purchase, manage and watch digital movies, TV shows and other entertainment. The UltraViolet experience is powered by a cloud-based UltraViolet Account, which includes a Digital Rights Locker and account management functionality. Consumers can create an UltraViolet account, free of charge, via one of the many participating UltraViolet service providers or through the UltraViolet website. Once created, this account will allow consumers to easily access and manage all of their UltraViolet entertainment, regardless of where it was purchased.

Consumers will also be able to register up to 12 devices so UltraViolet content can be easily downloaded or shared between them. In addition, UltraViolet streaming access will enable consumers to enjoy their collections via set-top boxes and the Internet including computers, Internet-connected home video devices such as Blu-ray players and Internet TVs, and mobile apps for smartphones and tablets. The UltraViolet Account will also enable retailers to provide consumers with a copy to use on DVD players or other physical media such as portable flash memory.

“These six major Hollywood studios were a driving force in creating UltraViolet, and their plans to make films and television shows available through the UltraViolet ecosystem cements a milestone union among the content, technology and retail services industries,” said Mark Teitell, General Manager of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE). “In 2011, UltraViolet will substantially raise the bar on the electronic home entertainment experiences in-market today.”

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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