Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Anytime Anywhere Access to Movies

UltraViolet to the rescue?

Access to music anywhere, on any device, is pretty nearly a solved problem. Various approaches exist: ripping CDs and syncing the MP3 files among computers and smartphones, storing audio files in a cloud service for real time streaming, and use of  services like Spotify and Pandora (see the RapidGroove Blog Music Gets Social) that approach this problem in other ways.

Easy access to movies is not as neat and simple, at least for those of us who want to keep it legal. Some of the same approaches as are used for music can be used, but the heavier DRM commonly used and the sheer size of the movie media files present some challenges. Apple, Google and Amazon all have cloud streaming services that can play a role, and mobile devices with massive storage may, over time, change the nature of the problem. But for now, anytime anywhere access to movies is still a little… clunky.

UltraViolet is an idea and business model that’s designed to allow consumers to buy access to movies and to get both physical media such as DVDs plus cloud-based streaming access for that same content from their "locker". Your single movie purchase could entitle you to instantly play it on all your devices.

There are several dozen member-organizations in the UltraViolet Alliance.

Notably missing from that list is Amazon, who could easily provide a service like this for movies, books and music since they are both in the business of selling physical media and providing cloud storage and streaming access. Maybe they will, independent of UltraViolet.

Do you get anytime, anywhere access to movies? What's your approach? Leave a comment here and share it with us.


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  1. Why can't we have a service that lets us keep a digital copy of our movies, without phoning home? I really want to buy mp4 files, not optical discs. If Amazon started selling DRM-free movie downloads, it would be a hit.

    Streaming is just another name for not letting you save a file. Every time you watch a streaming movie, you are downloading every bit over again. How inefficient is that? The only thing clunky about digital movies are locked-down, closed-source players and DRM.

  2. I'd +1 your comment if I could. I agree completely.