The launch of UltraViolet earlier this year was very much the same as we've come to expect from Hollywood. In the case of DVD and Blu-ray, they eventually manage to get it right. Time will tell if UltraViolet ends up successful or another DRM story like PlaysForSure, but studio execs like Ron Sanders of Warner Brothers said "a year ago this was just a concept... we have a bright future" while participating in a panel at the UltraViolet press event at CES today. There are plenty of reasons he might feel that way, but announcements from Panasonic and Samsung to add Flixster app to its HDTVs and Blu-ray players is surely one of them -- Flixster is owned by Warner and evidently one of the most downloaded apps of all time from the iTunes store. In addition to the success of Flixster, the DECE claims to already have 750k UltraViolet households signed up in less than three months. The current state of UltraViolet and much more after the break.

Amazon, Rovi, Flixster and Samsung highlight UltraViolet's CES press event

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The other potentially big announcement was from Amazon's Bill Carr, Executive Vice President of Digital Media, where he revealed that rights for electronic sell through have been secured from one of the big studios -- still waiting to learn who. Considering the true potential of UltraViolet can never be realized without near full support for all the online content retailers, and that Netflix has apparently withdrawn from DECE, this could be a major win for the over 80 companies that are a member of the consortium.


Watching UltraViolet content on a Samsung or Panasonic HDTV or Blu-ray player is pretty compelling, but so far there isn't much content. The Rovi Digital Copy Solution that is headed to Samsung Blu-ray players, and potentially others, allows a consumer to insert discs they already own and pay a "nominal" fee to add the title to their UltraViolet digital locker, a feature they are calling Disc to Digital. The availability of titles with upgrade rights will more than likely vary greatly, though. If you happen to have a Blu-ray PC drive, and would rather not buy a new Blu-ray player, Rovi is releasing a PC app that facilitate the same upgrade.


Even if all of this lives up to the hype, though, the jury's still out on UltraViolet. The multiple sign-ins and lack of content is currently the most looming issues, with the fact that UltraViolets Common File Format (CCF) is still not a reality off in the distance. One panelist wasn't bashful in revealing that "the priority is ownership," it shouldn't come as a surprise that in the end, this is all about getting people to buy movies instead of renting -- like they did in DVD's heydays. And we have to wonder why one would buy a movie if they could stream anything they wanted via a subscription or rent it at a fraction of the cost. Hollywood believes we want to buy and that is the best path to profits. We'll all just have to keep watching and waiting for now.

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Rovi Corporation today announced Rovi Digital Copy Solution, a ground-breaking offering that will enable consumers to access their physical DVD and Blu-ray Disc movie collections via the Cloud.

Rovi Digital Copy Solution integrates into consumer electronics devices and PC applications, allowing them to recognize a movie on physical disc, authenticate its origin, and then trigger access to a copy from the UltraViolet Digital Library. Digital copies can then be enjoyed by consumers from virtually anywhere on a range of enabled connected devices that may include HDTVs, Blu-ray Disc players, set-top boxes, game consoles, smartphones, tablets, and PCs.

According to Forrester Research, by 2016 the personal cloud services market will hit $12 billion and be used by 196 million consumers; yielding a new computing experience that is focused on seamless access to virtual libraries from across personal devices. This trend to access digital movie, music, book, photo, and other collections, coupled with the growing demand for Internet-connected living room devices which is expected to reach 540M worldwide by 2014 (Source:TDG), is opening new revenue opportunities for content owners and distributors.

"Consumers want to watch movies anywhere, while still getting value from the investment they have made in physical media. The Rovi Digital Copy Solution combined with UltraViolet, unlocks new value for consumers and helps them rediscover some of their favorite entertainment that can be enjoyed on many different devices via the cloud," said Corey Ferengul, executive vice president of products, Rovi. "Rovi Digital Copy Solution can provide CE manufacturers, digital storefronts, and movie studios with an opportunity to acquire new customers, generate new revenue, and introduce more consumers to the flexibility and convenience of digitally delivered entertainment."

Rovi Digital Copy Solution incorporates Rovi Media Recognition and Media Authentication Services and can be incorporated as a component of Rovi Entertainment Store, the company's end-to-end, white-label solution for digital storefront creation and management. Rovi Entertainment Store technologies and services can be used to facilitate the cloud storage of digital copies of DVD and Blu-ray Disc movies via the UltraViolet industry standard, and for facilitating cross-merchandising and promotion. To ensure a high-quality viewing experience, DivX Plus Streaming, another component of Rovi Entertainment Store, can be used to deliver digital copies purchased to a broad range of connected devices.

Legal Disc Copy Made Simple: How It Works
Consumer places disc into supported hardware (CE device or PC) where it is automatically identified using Rovi Media Recognition Service;
The Rovi Media Authentication Service performs a variety of heuristics to determine the disc's authenticity;

If authorized by the content owner, consumers can then be presented with the opportunity to purchase access to a digital copy that can be placed in a digital storefront library powered by and made available via UltraViolet.
Once purchased, the title would then be available from the cloud for downloading or streaming via a range of connected devices

Availability
Rovi Digital Copy Solution is available for integration today and will be supporting new products and services expected to launch in the first half of 2012.

During the Consumer Electronics Show 2012, Rovi will be hosting demonstrations of Rovi Digital Copy Solution along with a full complement of new and in-market solutions helping fuel the industry's transition to IP-based entertainment. Meetings are by appointment, January 10-13, 2012, at Caesars Palace.

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Flixster Developing Movie Application for Panasonic VIERA® Connect HDTVs and Blu-ray™ Players Allowing Consumers to Easily Stream Their Movie and TV Shows

Through Flixster App UltraViolet™ Will Come to the Living Room

2012 International CES
LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Flixster today announced its popular movie application will be available this year on Panasonic's line of VIERA Connect ™ devices including HDTVs and Blu-ray players. By simply launching this new Flixster app, consumers will be able to watch and enjoy their UltraViolet movies and TV shows from the comfort of their living room.

"One of the great benefits of UltraViolet is the ability to watch your content whenever and wherever you want. If you're at a friend's house with a VIERA device, you can easily access your collection by simply logging into Flixster."
Flixster is currently the leading movie discovery application on mobile platforms with over 50 million downloads to date, including Android, Blackberry and iPad, and ranks among the most downloaded of iPhone apps of all time. Flixster provides access to UltraViolet, a new industry standard that gives consumers greater flexibility with how and where they watch the movies and TV shows they purchase. UltraViolet also allows consumers to share their entire UltraViolet digital library with other members on their account, and they can even watch the same title simultaneously from different locations.

"Bringing UltraViolet to the living room will make it easy for consumers to enjoy their UltraViolet-enabled movies and TV shows," said Steve Polsky, President of Flixster. "One of the great benefits of UltraViolet is the ability to watch your content whenever and wherever you want. If you're at a friend's house with a VIERA device, you can easily access your collection by simply logging into Flixster."

VIERA Connect is Panasonic's Smart TV platform which enables owners of VIERA Connect-enabled HDTVs, Blu-ray Disc Players and Home Theater Systems access to a wide range of internet-based video-on-demand content and applications covering everything from news and fitness, to social networking and online gaming. VIERA Connect requires no external box or PC and is accessed via a single button on the television remote control.

"Panasonic's VIERA ConnectTM Smart TV platform's singular focus to deliver to our consumers an extremely robust and interactive connected TV experience that can be customized and enjoyed on their large-screen HDTVs. We are delighted to add Flixster to our VIERA Connect Smart TV platform in 2012," said Merwan Mereby, Panasonic's Vice President of Interactive Content & Services. "Partnering with a Hollywood powerhouse like Warner Bros. Entertainment to integrate their highly popular Flixster movie application into our VIERA Connect platform is another great step in our efforts to continuously drive the connected TV experience to a whole new level for consumers."

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Samsung to Bring "Disc to Digital" Feature to Smart Blu-ray Players in 2012

Developed by Flixster and Rovi, Consumers will be able to Import Their Existing Blu-ray Disc and DVD Collections from Participating Studios into the UltraViolet™ Cloud Making them Viewable on a Wide Range of Devices

Flixster will also be Available on Samsung TVs and Blu-ray Players this Year, Allowing Consumers to Stream their UltraViolet Digital Collections from the Cloud

Today, at the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) UltraViolet press event, Samsung announced plans for a "Disc to Digital" feature on Samsung Smart Blu-ray players, developed by Flixster and Rovi. Available later this year, Disc to Digital will allow consumers to add their existing Blu-ray Disc and DVD libraries from participating studios to their UltraViolet digital library-making them viewable on a wide range of devices.

"This is exactly the type of ground-breaking service our white-label, digital entertainment technologies and Rovi solutions were designed to serve"
Disc to Digital can work with any authorized retail service and will initially be available using a new Flixster application on Samsung's Smart Hub. When consumers insert an eligible physical disc into a 2012 Samsung Blu-ray player and select the Disc to Digital icon, they will launch the Flixster application and can easily add the movie to their UltraViolet locker for a nominal amount. If high definition versions are available, they will have the option to upgrade their standard definition movies for an additional fee.

Once digital copies have been created and added to the consumer's UltraViolet collection, the content will be available to enjoy through the Flixster Smart Hub application on Samsung's Smart Hub, as well as a broad range of mobile and portable devices such as iPhones, iPads and Android-based devices as well as PCs and Macs. UltraViolet also allows consumers to share their entire UltraViolet digital library with other members on their account, and they can even watch the same title simultaneously from different locations.

Flixster will also be available this year on Samsung TVs and Blu-ray players. Through the application, consumers will be able to easily access and stream their UltraViolet movie and TV show collections directly on their TVs.

Disc to Digital uses Rovi Digital Copy Solution, which integrates into consumer electronics devices as well as PC applications to allow them to recognize a movie on a physical disc, authenticate its origin, and then trigger access to a copy from a cloud-based digital library.

The new Disc to Digital feature will be demonstrated Jan. 10-13, at Samsung's CES booth, #12004 at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). Rovi Corporation will also demonstrate the service by appointment at its meeting space at Caesars Palace.

"Disc to Digital is a revolutionary way for consumers to 'future proof' their DVD library," said Steve Polsky, president of Flixster. "They will no longer need to worry if a DVD is misplaced or if it's scratched. Through UltraViolet, consumers have an exciting new way to collect, access and enjoy digital entertainment. They can take their movie and TV collection with them and watch it when and where they want."

"This is exactly the type of ground-breaking service our white-label, digital entertainment technologies and Rovi solutions were designed to serve," said Corey Ferengul, executive vice president of products, Rovi. "We are proud to be supporting this new market offering that will enable the creation of 'virtual movie collections' and introduce more consumers to the flexibility and convenience of digitally delivered entertainment."

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UltraViolet Press event participants

Mark Teitell | General Manager Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) & UltraViolet
Amy Jo Smith | Executive Director, DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Panelists:
Bill Carr | Executive Vice President of Digital Media, Amazon
Mitch Singer | President, Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) & UltraViolet |
Chief Technology Officer, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Lisa A. Hook | President & Chief Executive Officer, Neustar
Tae-Jin (TJ) Kang | Senior Vice President, Media Solutions Center, Samsung Electronic
David Bishop | President, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Mike Dunn | President, Fox Home Entertainment Worldwide, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Craig Kornblau | President, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Ron Sanders | President, Warner Home Video

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Amazon, Rovi, Flixster and Samsung highlight UltraViolet's CES press event