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CES: Amazon to Offer UltraViolet Rights

Complete Coverage: CES 2012

In an important development for the UltraViolet effort to allow consumers to access content on multiple devices, Bill Carr, executive VP of digital media, at Amazon says that the online retailer will be offering UltraViolet rights from an as yet unnamed Hollywood studio.

The UltraViolet effort to allow consumers to access multiple copies of movies and TV programs they own on multiple devices via a cloud based service is backed by the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) whose members include Hollywood studios, major technology companies, multichannel operators and TV programmers.

During a panel at CES discussing the progress being made by UltraViolet, DECE also announced that it would be working with the Digital Entertainment Group to promote UltraViolet with a major advertising campaign.

At CES Samsung also announced that it would be launching a Blu-ray player that would be capable of handling UltraViolet rights. Ultimately such devices could allow consumers to easily add content to their UltraViolet library or even upgrade older DVDs to HD rights.

The technology is relatively new, with the first launches made only a few months ago. So far around 20 movies have been released with UltraViolet rights but the studios are expecting that at least 100 titles will be released on Blu-ray this year with UltraViolet rights and that this number could grow much larger as the studios make their electronic digital sell through rights available.

DECE's general manager and executive director, Mark Teitell, noted during the session that "2012 would be the year for UltraViolet," with a significant expansion of titles, the launch of an industry standard format to further simplify the movement of content from device to device and the movement of the service into additional international markets.

"We will be moving from a small number of devices to a very large number," Teitell noted.

Ultimately, the effort will allow consumers who have purchased a Blu-ray disk of a movie or TV program to access a digital copy via a cloud based service on as many as 12 other devices.

In announcing that Amazon would begin offering UltraViolet rights, Carr noted that they had always been in favor of the idea of a "digital locker" where consumers could access their content on multiple devices via the cloud.

"We have reached an agreement in the last few days with one of the major studios for rights that will include UltraViolet rights and we are excited about the additional possibilities this will enable," Carr said.

Carr declined to name the studio.