Paramount Begins Selling UltraViolet Movies Directly

Just over a week ago I spoke with the head of DECE and UltraViolet about the service, its origins, and where it’s going. The conclusion seemed to be that there was great potential in the service as a value-add, if it’s handled correctly, but that much depends on the content producers. Paramount is the first studio to start offering UV movies on their own, via a dedicated site – Paramount Movies.

As the service is still in its infancy and the selection is fairly limited, this strikes me as more of a testing-the-waters thing, checking the system for leaks and so on. That has to be the case, really, because there’s no marketing behind the effort and the prices aren’t even close to what they should be. Want to buy an HD digital copy of Braveheart? $20, please. Note that the actual Blu-ray, which would presumably grant you the rights to a UV copy eventually, or just legitimize a nice pirated copy for portability, can be had for $10.

All told there are around 60 titles available from Paramount. Better than the 19 total on UltraViolet that came out in the last year, but still rather limited. It’s mostly very recent releases and flagship movies from the last 20 years.

That the system isn’t fully in place is painfully obvious, of course. It’s not customer-friendly, exactly. You have to have a UV account to begin with, then you have to create a Paramount account and link it to your UV account. This is because UV is a rights management system, not a movie buying system. Can’t wait to have 10 separate stores, one for each studio or network, because they won’t ever agree to putting their movies next to each other for x or y price!

You are also limited to streaming playback on iOS devices, and there’s no Android client. I would wait a few months for everyone to get their stores and offerings together before jumping on this particular bandwagon. At the moment there really isn’t any reason to use the service unless you want some very UV-specific capabilities like sharing with family and multiple simultaneous streams.