Remember UltraViolet? It was a cloud-based video distribution service championed by JB Hi-Fi, EzyFlix and others. It allowed you to watch digital versions of DVDs and Blu-rays on a range of compatible devices via redeemable download codes. After limping along for five years, JB Hi-Fi has quietly shut down its NOW Video service. Here's what you need to do to if you want to keep watching your movies.
UltraViolet gave users the ability to stream and download purchased content to multiple platforms and devices. When you bought a movie or TV show from a participating retailer, you received a proof-of-purchase code which added the corresponding move/TV show to your UltraViolet Collection. You then had the option to stream it over the internet or download it for offline viewing on your hardware platform of choice.
From April 13, Ultraviolet fans will need to download the Flixter app for Android, iOS and Windows Phone and link it to your UltraViolet account. With the departure of JB Hi-Fi NOW Video, this is the only way to watch and redeem Ultraviolet content in Australia.
The rise of Netflix and other all-you-can-eat streaming services has rendered VOD downloads more or less redundant. Judging by JB Hi-Fi's decision to shut down the service, it would seem most customers weren't bothering to use the codes.
In the US, most major movie studios still support the service, including Sony, Warner Bros, Lionsgate and Paramount. (A notable exception is Disney.) In other words, Ultraviolet fans can still use the service if they really want to - but availability within Australia is definitely drying up.
Physical entertainment is on its last legs — and they're getting gammier by the month. Before we know it, DVDs and Blu-rays will have gone the way of LaserDisc and VHS tape. To the streamers and torrenters of the world this will be viewed as no big loss. they think it's an obsolete format that's overpriced, prone to scratches and less convenient than digital downloads.
But not me. Here's why I'm sticking with discs to the bitter end, and why you should too. (Also, get off my lawn.)