updated 07:40 pm EST, Tue January 24, 2012
Digital versions offer limited viewing options
Paramount has become the first movie distributor to sell movies using the UltraViolet digital distribution system directly to customers. Up until now, UltraViolet digital downloads were available only as part of a DVD/Blu-Ray disc package deal or from a retailer such as Amazon.
UltraViolet was launched in October. The download standard is designed to allow buyers of a film on DVD or Blu-Ray to also download digital copies or watch streaming feeds of the same film after providing proof of ownership of the physical media. This verification usually took the form of a code included in the physical package. Movie distributors offering this bonus include Paramount, Warner, Sony and Universal.
Paramount has now taken the step of selling digital copies of its movies independently of including it with a DVD/Blu-Ray package. Initial viewing options are limited. The digital copy can be streamed to an iOS device and viewed live, but cannot be saved for offline viewing. It can be streamed or saved to a PC for future viewing. Set-top boxes and game consoles are not supported. For these, the company suggests that users view it on a TV through their computer. Also not supported in any way are Android, Blackberry, or Windows Phone.
The digital copies are not cheap relative to hard copies. A standard definition version costs $13, while an HD version is priced at $20. At these price points, it might make sense to buy a Blu-Ray/DVD/UltraViolet package instead. [via The Verge]