As part of the recent Jurassic
Park 3D Blu-ray edition, Universal included a redemption
code for the new UltraViolet (UV) licensing system. Before
receiving this disc I had only the fuzziest of notions as to
what UV entailed, and like many people in possession of a BD
player, external hard drive and an (over)active Netflix account
I wasn’t sure another viewing platform was really warranted. At
any rate, for those interested in the new system here is how to
go about activating your UV account and making the first steps
towards compiling a brand spankin’ digital collection.
First off you visit the
distributor’s UV site, which in my case was
www.ultravioletuniversal.com. Then you enter the redemption
code that comes with the disc, the name of the store where you
made your purchase, and your UltraViolet retailer of choice.
For this latter three options are available in Australia –
EzyFlix.tv, JB Hi-Fi Now Video, and Flixster – and one will be
recommended for you depending on where you purchased the movie
(in my own case I chose Flixster as it’s already installed on my
TV as part of my wireless Blu-ray package).
After making your choice you’ll be
redirected to your chosen UV retailer’s individual website.
You’ll need to enter the redemption code again, then register an
account with Flixster, EzyFlix or JB which will also comprise
confirm your email address, and you’re away.
Sort of. I must say I found the
streaming extremely ineffectual, and even with a decent
broadband connection the movie was continually stopping to
buffer. The Flixster android app is excellent and makes the
option of watching on a smartphone extremely appealing, yet in
my own case the movie either buffered continuously without
playing or repeatedly resulted in an error message. I tried
using both my home Wi-Fi and my service provider’s connection,
but was unable to find much joy here. The film did stream
through my internet-connected television, but the quality was by
no means 1080p and in any case it wasn’t in 3D.
UV sounds great in theory. The
redemption process is pretty straightforward, and the option of
streaming to a tablet or smartphone is particularly appealing to
those of us with long commutes (or short attention spans). The
option of viewing movies on any internet-connected television
without the need to tow around a disc or an HDD will likewise be
welcome for many. Once stored, files can be streamed on any
suitable device with an active internet connection, downloaded
for ‘permanent’ viewing or shared with up to five other members
of your household for them to enjoy on their own chosen
devices. In addition to Universal the majority of the world’s
leading entertainment companies such as Paramount, Sony, Warner
Bros and Roadshow all participate in the UV program, as do
technology companies like Panasonic and Motorola, with Disney
and Apple being the only really noteworthy holdouts at this
stage. All good news.
My own initial foray wasn’t
particularly successful, however, and I have to say I’m pretty
happy with the viewing methods at my disposal at this point. I
also mentioned the option of downloading permanently in inverted
commas because the insert in my Universal BD states ‘Downloading
and streaming of UltraViolet content is subject to retailer’s
terms and conditions, which may be limited to 3 downloads and
free unlimited streaming only for the first 12 months after
redemption.’ Some will find UV a welcome addition to their
home entertainment experience, but I have to say I wasn’t sold.