The digital content locker developed to help movie purchasers view and store digital versions of movies purchased on disc and other formats, will shutdown on July 31, 2019.

“UltraViolet and participating retailers and content providers are working together to provide you with information on how best to enjoy your movies and TV shows going forward,” the service posted on its web site. “If you have an UltraViolet Library, you will be receiving direct updates from us as additional information becomes available. You are also likely to receive information directly from the retailer(s) you use to access your movies and TV shows.”

UltraViolet continued that some users may need to “take proactive steps to continue access to your libraries. You may also refer back to this page as the information will be updated as we move through the process. We recognize there could be some disruptions in connection with this process, but please know that we are all working together to develop solutions and information to minimize such instances.”

UltraViolet launched in 2011 by the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), a consortium of Hollywood studios, digital content distributors, and media technology companies, as a way for consumers to buy digital movies and TV shows at participating retailers and have them work on a variety of devices and apps.

The concept began in 2006 as a means of encouraging the purchase of movies on disc and other mechanisms, other than streaming, as a means of paying one price to play a title on a variety of different formats and devices.

Disc purchasers got access to a digital copy of the title accessible in a “content locker” on the cloud. The system was also supposed to be a deterrent to the illicit file sharing that ravaged the music industry.

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Digital versions of the movies were available for consumers to access through multiple streaming devices from participating online streaming movie services, like Vudu, Flixster and others, as well as from some of the studios’ own web portals.

However, other major online movie retailers like iTunes, Amazon, Google and others stayed away from UltraViolet, fearing loss of control of the point of sale to the studios.

Although the service attracted support from most of the major studios, it failed to get a few giants, like Disney, which held out for a different digital rights management system (DRM) called Key Chest.

A number of UltraViolet-supporting studios jumped to the similar Movies Anywhere platform that was endorsed by Disney, when that platform launched last year. Many studios are also offering access to digital movie copies directly through their own online sales platforms.

“In the years since UltraViolet’s launch, we’ve seen the emergence of services that provide expanded options for content collection and management independent of UltraViolet. This and other market factors have led to the decision to discontinue UltraViolet,” DECE said in a statement announcing the shutdown.

UltraViolet users who want to continue having access to their movies through a digital movie locker are advised to sign on with the Movies Anywhere platform ASAP, if they haven’t already. Movies Anywhere is now supported by most of the major studios as well as a number of movie services including: Google, iTunes, Microsoft and Vudu.

According the UltraViolet site: “Login here and choose Retailer Services to verify the retailers linked to your UltraViolet Library. If your Library is not currently linked to a retailer or if you would like to link to additional participating retailers, select one or more retailers to link to your UltraViolet Library.”



By Greg Tarr


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