I’m still undecided on this whole UltraViolet system that the “big boys” keep praising and touting as the next best thing. It all seems a little too Big Brother for me; sort of like the idea of Federal gun registration or something.
The way this whole system is supposed to work is: You sign up for an UltraViolet account online. You can register up to 6 people per household and up to 12 devices. Then when you buy a new movie or other media product that has the UltraViolet logo, you register that product with your account by entering a code or UPC of some sort. With the movie or TV show now registered in your digital locker, you can stream it to any of your registered UltraViolet devices anytime and anywhere.
Supposedly you will be able to download a copy to burn or store for future offline playback as well. So what could possibly be wrong with this wonderful system!?
(CONSPIRACY THEORY ALERT!) We all pick and watch movies based on our personal interests. With all of your media registered in a central database, it wouldn’t be hard for someone with lesser intentions to use that data in developing a profile of each individual. Then it would only be a matter of time before this profile is used against you. For example, you watch too many movies about war and government conspiracy theories; so you must be a terrorist! The next thing you know, Uncle Sam is knocking on your door to take and/or search all of your computers and personal belongings.
On less of an extremist tangent, major players such as Microsoft, HP, Sony, Panasonic, and Samsung are all on board for this. And of course, why wouldn’t they be? This gives them all of your preferences on a silver platter for them to use in a targeted marketing campaign geared precisely to your personality. That’s great, but I don’t even like the idea of my cookies being used to tailor web ads to me and my location!
Now, I know there are major flaws in my concerns. Such as the fact that Netflix (and most certainly others) are already doing this, yet we seem to be totally fine with it. Perhaps Netflix just has a bit more of our trust since it was the first to make a major shift toward giving us (the consumers) what we actually want for our media. With big names like Microsoft, Sony, and other major Hollywood studios on board, I can’t help but feel uneasy. Especially after Sony’s huge root kit scandal a few years ago! It is refreshing to see the industry at least TRYING to make a conscious effort toward providing the consumer with what we have been begging for since…..the dawn of media, though.
Conspiracy theories aside, there are still questions as to what quality these offline copies and streams will be. Will we see 1080p with 5.1, or even 7.1, channel TrueHD? If so, how will they manage to effectively get that pushed down to the customer via today’s rather elevated bandwidth prices?
How do you feel about the idea of all your media being stored in this centralized “Digital Locker”? Do you think you will be signing on for any of these services?
P.S. I think pigs will fly before we see official Linux support for any of these either. So there goes the hope for using them on your Linux HTPC’s. Perhaps that is why Microsoft signed on.