Ultraviolet Shutting Down in July, The Criterion Channel Launches in April


There have been a couple of important developments this week that are of relevance to cord cutters who like to watch their movies digitally. We’ll start with the good news: Criterion officially announced that they will be launching The Criterion Channel streaming service in both the U.S. and Canada on April 8th. Originally unveiled in the wake of the cancellation of Filmstruck, they are still offering a discount for early adopters who sign up early. So-called “Charter Subscribers” will also get a free 30-day trial and access to a weekly exclusive title starting with Elaine May’s recently re-released 1976 film Mikey And Nicky. The other, potentially more frustrating news, is the forthcoming closure of digital video locker service Ultraviolet. Here is more info from an email that went out to users earlier this week:

“We are writing to inform you that the UltraViolet service is planning to shut down on July 31, 2019. You are receiving this message because you signed up for an UltraViolet Library or for a service that created an UltraViolet Library for you.

What does this mean for you?

Between January 31 and July 31, 2019

  • You can continue to access your UltraViolet movies and TV shows through the retailer(s) linked to your UltraViolet Library.
  • You can also continue to purchase new movies and TV shows and redeem digital codes by following the redemption instructions. Depending on the retailer, these new purchases and redemptions may or may not be added to your UltraViolet Library.
  • Linking your UltraViolet Library to additional retailers can maximize your access to your Library and help avoid potential disruption.

After the shutdown date

  • Your UltraViolet Library will automatically close and, in the majority of cases, your movies and TV shows will remain accessible at previously-linked retailers.
  • You can continue to make online purchases and redeem codes, but these may only be available through that retailer, and will not be added to your UltraViolet Library.”

Ultraviolet has been widely criticized if not downright despised by consumers over the years because of how confusing it is (made even more complicated if you purchase movies from multiple regions). In theory, however, it was a good idea and a way for consumers to avoid having their digital collections tied down to a single retailer. Movies Anywhere is a newer, superior service that also has Apple, Google and Amazon on board along with most major studios. If you were a UV user, the important thing is to make sure your account is associated with at least one retailer so you can still retain access to those movies. What do you think, are digital movies worth all the hassle or is physical media still the way to go?

  • devolutionary

    Yeah, I received an email notice last night and thought to myself, “when’s the last time I claimed an UltraViolet Code?”. Might login just to jog my memory.

  • Lori Cerny

    I received my email, too, but thought… when did I ever sign up for this?

    Aren’t you worried for Criterion? It’s so exclusive.