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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hollywood studios announce UltraViolet digital plan

Six of Hollywood's largest studios have unveiled a new digital video service called Ultraviolet, which will allow users to buy movies that they can play on any of their devices and share with up to six other people.

The new platform is backed by Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures and Lionsgate.

Launched at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the move comes as the video industry struggles to deal with declining DVD sales and the threat of pirated movies and TV shows on the internet.

“The most highly skilled users are already downloading content, making copies and watching on any device they want,” Mitch Singer, chief technology officer of Sony Pictures and a key executive behind Ultraviolet, told the Los Angeles Times. “We're trying to build a business model around that behaviour and convince consumers to go back to collecting movies.”

No prices have yet been revealed for content on the platform, which will launch in the middle of the year and will be backed by 46 technology companies including Toshiba, Sony and Samsung.

Under the scheme, users will not buy a disk or digital file. Instead they will gain the right to perpetually access a piece of content stored on UltraViolet's servers, ensuring they can view it on any supported device with internet access.

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