The closure of UltraViolet: a fresh twist for UK users

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Wiggle room is being built into the official advice for UltraViolet users ahead of its closure – and the lack of UK retailers may be an incoming problem.


As you may know, the online digital movie library service UltraViolet is set to close at the end of July. This is the service whereby you can keep a digital copy of a film to stream or download alongside a physical version. The service has some 30 million users worldwide, of which a good number are in the UK.

There’s some unwelcome vagueness that’s cropped up in the language from the service explaining what customers should do next. “In most cases”, the official FAQ on the UltraViolet closure reads, “your movies and TV shows will be available via the retailers linked to your UltraViolet Library at the time of UltraViolet shutdown”.

As for how this will affect users’ libraries of films of and TV shows, “in most cases, we anticipate very little impact”.

In most cases. Hmmm.

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The problem for users in the UK, though, is that there’s a very limited collection of retailers who actually support UltraViolet. As such, the majority of UltraViolet users in Britain, I’d suggest, are linking their account to the retailer Flixster. Previous UK UltraViolet retailers TalkTalk and Rakuten both dropped support for the service some time ago.

The problem? Flixster shut down its main service in the US this time last year. And it’s unclear whether its future in the UK is any brighter. Whilst in the US, UltraViolet users can use services such as MoviesAnywhere or Hulu, they’re simply not available in Britain at the moment. Nor is a direct link to the Google Play store. It still feels like a bit of a mess.

What all of this is absolutely not doing is generating any confidence of note in digital movies over physical media. There’s still five months and a little change to go before UltraViolet shuts its doors for good, and in that time, UK users may just need another retailer option other than a service whose own future is in some doubt.

We’ll keep you posted.

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