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Apple will now recognize DVD digital copies as movies purchased through iTunes, which is good news for consumers — especially those who own an Apple TV set-top box.
The company recently announced an updated version of its Apple TV device that features a major software upgrade. Aside from the refreshed user interface, the new Apple TV software allows iTunes users to stream music, movies, and TV shows through the device via iCloud. However, the company neglected to mention that DVD digital copies will also be available through the iCloud service in its announcement.
Film distributors started including a “digital copy” of a movie with the purchase of a physical DVD a few years ago. It was partially an attempt to justify charging more for the DVD, but initially it wasn’t very useful for most people. The experience of watching the digital copy was a bit annoying because it required entering an authorization code to prove you actually bought the movie (if you didn’t have the code, the movie wouldn’t play).
The industry is now shifting its focus from those digital copies to a new UltraViolet platform, which allows the owner of the DVD to watch a streaming version of their movie on various authorized devices. It’s very similar to what Apple is trying to accomplish with iCloud, except most people probably haven’t heard of UltraViolet.
Now that iTunes recognizes DVD digital copies, more people are likely to start using the iTunes movie store rather than buying a DVD from a brick-and-mortar retail store or a digital copy through an official UltraViolet retailer. And that means the film companies will have to give Apple a cut of the profits instead of taking it all for themselves.
Is this the beginning of the end for the UltraViolet platform? It’s really too soon to tell, but the movie companies would do well to amend their own efforts in favor of an official partnership with Apple. For example, giving people who buy a physical DVD an iTunes digital redemption code.