Warner Bros. Entertainment is planning to be the first distributor in Australia to release its Blu-ray and DVD movies and TV shows with a free bonus: the UltraViolet movie streaming and download service.
Importantly, the cloud-based video streaming service will be included at no extra cost to consumers when purchasing a DVD or Blu-ray disc.
Every copy of The Hobbit, set to hit store shelves on May 1st, will include a coupon for buyers to add the movie to UltraViolet -- an online, persistent collection that can be streamed, or downloaded permanently, on computers, smartphones, and tablets.
The Hobbit will be the first movie released locally to include an UltraViolet coupon, but WB says the plan is for every major movie release after The Hobbit to be UltraViolet-ready, as well as most of its TV series.
Warner's PR manager Jonathan Hollett explained that, initial availability hurdles aside, the distributor wants UltraViolet to be in all its discs : "All our new release products will have it as a matter of course."
UltraViolet is not a Warner Bros.-only initiative -- almost all of Australia's major film and TV distributors will be including UltraViolet codes in their titles' Blu-ray and DVD disc releases in coming months. Notable exceptions to the UltraViolet cause are Disney and Apple -- the latter already has the current digital streaming market cornered with its iTunes Store, and the former has agreements in place with Foxtel.
The cloud-based UltraViolet service has been available in the US since October 2011, and many Blu-ray discs and DVDs sold in the country have an UltraViolet redemption code included on a slip of paper in the case's inside cover.
UltraViolet is the closest thing the worldwide film and TV industry has to a standard online streaming and download hub -- it is used in some way by 74 companies, including the 'big six' major film studios and mini-major Lionsgate, as well as technology giants like Samsung, LG, Sony, IBM, and Intel.
Examples of Blu-ray movies with included UltraViolet coupons -- look at the banner on the top of the cases. In Australia, this will be purple, and will be accompanied by a descriptive sticker on the lower right corner.
UltraViolet is a single, unified service for consumers' digital copies of their purchased DVD and Blu-ray movies. Since it is not restricted to any one distributor, all a buyer's UltraViolet movies and TV series will be added to the one collection, and will be accessible on any UltraViolet-compatible device regardless of its manufacturer.
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