Ultraviolet, the cloud movie format championed by nigh-on all of the major studios, is "very close" to making its consumer bow. It will undoubtedly be of massive benefit to film fans as it will offer cloud-stored versions of a movie they have bought on Blu-ray for streaming to multiple devices whenever they want. And, even better, the license to do so will be included in the price of the initial disc.
That means that major releases in the near future will include a Blu-ray (3D or 2D) disc, most likely a DVD copy, and instead of a time-limited digital copy to download and play on a portable device (the present system), a digital version of the film that is stored in the cloud enduringly, ready to be downloaded or streamed on up to 12 registered Ultraviolet devices - from TVs and Blu-ray players to smartphones and tablets.
There are also plans to introduce a pay model for those not wanting to buy a physical copy, just the rights to the Ultraviolet version. It is the movie industry's unified cloud solution and has the backing of just about every major studio and consumer electronics firm, including 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros, Universal, and Samsung.
Everyone, that is, except for Apple and Disney.
So, as things stand, you won't be able to view UV content natively on an iOS device, or, indeed, be able to watch Disney classics or Pixar movies using the service. However, according to Ultraviolet major player 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, it's only a matter of time before those two tech and film giants will have to get involved.
Speaking to Pocket-lint in an exclusive briefing, Danny Kaye, executive vice president of Global Research & Technology Strategy at Fox, explained that both Disney and Apple will eventually sign up to the Ultraviolet consortium:
"All but one [of the major studios] have signed on... And that doesn't mean that they won't," he said, hinting that Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will ultimately offer UV versions of its catalogue.
How about Apple though, so far the Cupertino company has resisted the allure of Ultraviolet in favour, presumably, of its own cloud video plans? "That also doesn't mean they won't," said Kaye. "From my perspective, when you're well established you sometimes take a 'wait and see'."
But he doesn't expect the tech giant to wait long. Its rivals may get a massive and telling head start if Apple's the only one not supporting the new cloud format:
"If you just take smartphones as an example, Android now enjoys quite a market advantage," Kaye told us. "And the same thing's going to happen in tablets. We also have all the other hardware that's a part of this ecosystem - the majority of hardware and software companies will create very strong competition, just like it has with Blu-ray. And we'll see what happens as we go forward.
"[Ultraviolet is supported by] all but one of the studios, just about every major consumer electronics manufacturer, several major retailers already, and over 70 other technology companies," said Kaye. "It's one of the largest consortia ever, especially across industries. And when that happens, you succeed."
What do you think? Is it better to have one unified cloud storage solution for movies? Should Apple sign up? Let us know in the comments below...