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UltraViolet plans more EU launches, hits back at critics

Ultraviolet 1Ultraviolet is gearing up for more European deployments, with the body behind the service also hitting back at claims that it is complicated and not customer-friendly. 

Speaking to DTVE, Mark Teitell, the general manager of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) – the consortium behind UltraViolet – said that even though Ultraviolet launched in the UK in late 2011 it was “still early days” and that the next stage of growth would follow when a big retailer adopts the technology.

In terms of future expansion, he said that plans were already in place to turn on the Ultraviolet system in France and Germany by the end of September, which will be followed by deployments in Austria, Switzerland and Belgium.

“We haven’t announced any dates, but it’s our intent to address countries that are around these two [France and Germany] that speak French and German,” said Teitell, adding that it aimed to do this “as soon as we can.”

Teitell, who was in England this week to speak at the PEVE conference in London, also defended Ultraviolet’s deployments to date, after Sky Movies boss Ian Lewis said at the same conference that the service was “not quite there yet.”

“User experience has improved on a number of different dimensions – a lot in the United States, as there has been more retailer launches there,” said Teitell.

“Some of that progress isn’t fully visible yet in the UK. There could be company executives in the UK that understandably are just commenting on what they can see in this market as opposed to knowing how UltraViolet has progressed more in some other markets, like the US right now.”

Commenting the UK market specifically, Teitell said: “One of the key milestones that I think that moved the US forward a lot, and has seen Canada get off to a good start, is the launch of Ultraviolet by a large mainstream retailer. We’re still waiting for the pieces to fall into place in the UK for that to happen and so although there is some content for sale in the UK, I think everybody in the industry really thinks of UltraViolet still in kind of an early stage here. But the potential is very large in the size of the market and how developed it is for home entertainment.”

UltraViolet is designed to give users a flexible way to access purchased content from across different devices, revolving around a ‘cloud locker’ system, and is backed by a powerful consortium of Hollywood studios, content providers, retailers and technology firms.

Teitell claims that there are now 12 million accounts for people that have bought UltraViolet conent – 500,000 of them in the UK. Though DECE has no formal projections for future numbers, based on its growth to date, it is likely it will be getting “into the 20 million-plus user range not all that long from now.”