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Hollywood stumbles on next big step in home video

UltraViolet hasn't gone as well as planned, backers say at the Consumer Electronics Show. Technology produced by a consortium of studios, electronics makers and retailers is criticized as buggy and confusing.

January 11, 2012|By Ben Fritz and Dawn C. Chmielewski, Los Angeles Times

"Studios are going to be making hundreds of titles available, at a minimum, throughout 2012," said Mark Teitell, general manager of the UltraViolet industry consortium known as the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem. "By the time we're having a conversation like this [next year], we'll have grown exponentially."

Amazon.com also announced that it would be the first independent retailer to sell UltraViolet movies directly online, without a disc. Executive Vice President of Digital Content Bill Carr said the Web retail giant just signed a partnership with one studio, which it declined to identify.

Previously, the only digital service that works with UltraViolet was Flixster, a movie rating website that Warner Bros. acquired last year as part of its plans to stimulate digital movie sales. Flixster makes an UltraViolet-compatible application for Apple and Android phones, tablets and PCs.

Best Buy and Wal-Mart, which also sell movies online, have yet to take the leap into UltraViolet. Representatives for both companies declined to comment.

Later this year, the companies behind UltraViolet plan to develop a marketing campaign to explain the format's benefit and exactly how it works. Despite missteps out of the gate, backers say history proves that UltraViolet can overcome a troubled start.

"During the launch of the DVD there was a wave of negative comments, and people said it was a failed format," Sony Pictures Home Entertainment President David Bishop recalled. "In the end, DVD did extremely well."

dawn.chmielewski@latimes.com

ben.fritz@latimes.com

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