UltraViolet, one of the entertainment industry’s first attempts at creating a comprehensive digital locker service, is shutting down on July 31st, as first reported by Variety. Users should link their libraries to the service of at least one retailer which can then be used to access their films and TV shows after the shutdown.
UltraViolet’s days were numbered ever since Disney, the only major Hollywood studio not to join, launched its expanded Movies Anywhere locker service in 2017. Not only did it offer broad studio support, but it could also be connected to major digital retailers like iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play, unlike UltraViolet.
Walmart’s Vudu, the biggest retailer to support UltraViolet (and later Movies Anywhere), issued a statement to ease concerns from those worried about the closure of the cloud-based locker service.
“Customers who use Vudu to watch, rent, or buy movies and TV shows will not be impacted by the discontinuation of the Ultraviolet platform,” said Vudu VP Scott Blanksteen in a statement to Variety. “These customers will continue to be able to enjoy Vudu content as they have been and continue to access any and all movies and TV shows they have saved in their Vudu library, even after the shutdown of the Ultraviolet service.”
Things are a bit trickier for UltraViolet users outside of the US. For one thing, you’re not eligible to create a Movies Anywhere account. And this note in the shutdown section of the Frequently Asked Questions is a little ominous:
In most cases, we anticipate very little impact, particularly in the United States. Most, and perhaps all, existing rights in UltraViolet Libraries currently available through your linked retailers that are still operating should continue to be available from those retailers. While there could be some disruption, we do not anticipate this on a broad scale and are working diligently to minimize and avoid such instances.
UltraViolet claims more than 30 million users who store over 300 million films and TV shows in their lockers. Wendy Aylsworth, president of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) consortium tasked with running UltraViolet, told Variety that users will be informed of the shutdown on Thursday.
Update January 31st, 6:50AM ET: Article updated with information from the official UltraViolet shutdown notice.