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Ultraviolet will preserve the market for physical media.

The movie industry’s worst nightmare is not just that sales of high-margin discs will continue to fall – it is that, as digital services grow, new players (notably Apple) will come to dominate sales, just as it has taken the lead in music with iTunes.

Record labels let the computer industry corner the market. First, illegal file-sharing sites such as Napster became music distributors. Then, legal ones took over – iTunes has racked up almost 10 billion sales putting money into the pocket of Apple boss Steve Jobs, not the music industry.

Ultraviolet is a grand plan for Hollywood to get right everything that the music industry has got wrong.

Movies have one big advantage over music – digital film files are so big that they are hard to stream and download quickly. The new-generation 3D films are even bigger. That makes it more likely that consumers will continue to buy discs.
Moreover, physical discs are more user-friendly than downloads – you can take a disc to a friend’s house; pop it in any portable player or even play it in your car. None of these are possible easily with a digital download.

The idea behind Ultraviolet, or UV, is simple – consumers would buy a new type of Blu-ray disc with UV technology built in. The discs work on existing Blu-ray machines, and will cost about the same as normal Blu-ray discs. What is new, however, is that the UV discs are bundled with a licence to view anywhere, anytime, on any device for ever. As well as watching the disc instantly at home, we will be able to watch it by downloading it from the web and saving it so that we can watch it on a laptop, smartphone, tablet or games console. Also, we would be able to stream it live to a computer or TV while away from home, as well as legally make a single copy onto a disc.

All the big studios (except Disney) are members of the consortium behind UV, and Sainsbury’s will be the first big retailer to sell UV discs from next year.
UV is being launched in Britain first, as new figures reveal that we spend more on home entertainment than anyone else on the planet – and we make more digital copies of the movies we buy than anyone else.

When it comes to films, people like physical discs, but they also want to enjoy film in new digital ways. UV is a dead-easy way allowing them to do both. You buy it once but you can enjoy it everywhere – for ever. It’s user-friendly and future-proof!

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