updated 03:55 pm EST, Sat March 10, 2012
Warner exec hints at UltraViolet movie conversion
Warner Bros.' home entertainment president Kevin Tsujihara used time at a Morgan Stanley technology conference to outline in more detail how his studio would steer viewers towards converting their videos from DVD and Blu-ray discs to the UltraViolet format and cloud video access. It would start with in-store conversion like that planned by Walmart, he said, but stores would eventually automate this and provide digital copies automatically. The discs themselves would eventually provide the option, which he implied would be like ripping a CD and would upload the movie itself.
Tsujihara didn't have a definitive timeframe or price. However, he implied that there might be a cost for the process, albeit at "reasonable prices." Objections have already existed over any fee from some owners, many of whom have argued that they would be paying twice when transcoding and ripping apps often do it for free, without having to tie them to a specific service and limited rights.
The method could still serve as a jumpstart for UltraViolet, which hasn't had wide update and has faced some early criticism. Initial viewers encountered enough problems playing or otherwise accessing videos that Warner itself began handing out iTunes codes as compensation. An authentication-based system that often requires either native format support or Flash has meant periodic problems and a lack of support on numerous devices. While Android and iOS will play the videos through third-party apps like Flixster, the Apple TV, consoles, and other popular hardware can't see the format.
Some studios have unusually put an expiry date on these digital copies, giving owners of discs little incentive to use UltraViolet when an iTunes or Amazon video will be usable as long as the store exists.
The Warner executive acknowledged the problems, although he didn't touch on the real incentives to steer users to UltraViolet. As it's usually tied to purchases rather than rentals, the new technology tends to be 20 to 30 percent more profitable than rentals from subscription services like Netflix. [via LA Times]