Filed Under:

Hollywood Stages A DVD Comeback, With Some Snags

Play associated audio

As the holiday gift-giving season approaches, a new brand of DVDs is aiming to revolutionize the market. It's called UltraViolet, and it brings a set of features to the DVD that Hollywood hopes will revolutionize a dwindling business — but it won't catch on unless it makes some big changes.

If you're like a lot of people, it's probably been a while since you last bought a DVD. These days, watching a blockbuster like Iron Man 2 often means streaming it from services like Netflix, Amazon or iTunes.

Hollywood used to make a ton of money off of selling DVDs, but people aren't buying them as much as they used to. For studios, the new online rental services mean much smaller profit margins.

Now, UltraViolet is Hollywood's attempt to make purchasing popular again.

The new system relies on the cloud — a virtual storage system that keeps movies from filling up your hard drive. Users can purchase movies, add them to their digital libraries, and then watch them on multiple devices.

As many as a dozen big movies should be available through UltraViolet by the end of the year, but the new system has a huge problem. Now that consumers have discovered how easy digital rentals are, the whole idea of owning a movie doesn't make sense anymore. Unless you're a 6-year-old who can't get enough of a Disney movie like Toy Story, it's unlikely consumers will opt for permanent purchases.

And therein lies another problem: Disney is the only major studio that has yet to get involved in UltraViolet, a service that's also competing with Apple and Amazon, who each have their own cloud services.

What UltraViolet does have working in its favor is that movie purchases can play on phones and tablets made by Apple, as well as Android devices. But it won't play yet on TVs. While UltraViolet does offer disc copy options, a movie watcher would have to carry the DVD around in order to watch it on someone else's TV.

Backers say they do plan on making UltraViolet TV-friendly, and that there are plenty more innovations to come. After all, the studios have a lot at stake — they're the ones making these movies. Now they just have to figure out a better way to watch them.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'We're Mostly Republicans': New Hampshire Voters Explained By 'Our Town'

After NPR's Bob Mondello used The Music Man to help explain the Iowa caucuses, he wished there was a musical of Our Town so he could do the same for New Hampshire. It turns out there is one.
NPR

Gulf Of Mexico Open For Fish-Farming Business

For the first time, companies can apply to set up fish farms in U.S. federal waters. The government says the move will help reduce American dependence on foreign seafood and improve security.
NPR

Jeb Bush Finds His Stride In New Hampshire, But Is It Too Late?

The former Florida governor finally seems at ease on the campaign trail. Is he peaking at the right time or have months of missteps made it just too much for him to overcome?
WAMU 88.5

Blocked: Twitter's Role In Combating Violent Extremism

Over the course of seven months, Twitter has suspended over 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.