There's a new online movie service in the works that wants to make sharing digital movies as easy as sharing physical DVDs. Wavelength is a self-billed "social movie service" that relies on a loophole in the UltraViolet set-up to share your legally purchased flicks with others.
The basic idea is that you, your friends, and family create accounts and post all your UltraViolet movies on Wavelength. Then you can share your movies with your friends on Wavelength, and they share their movies with you. Wavelength permits up to three people to watch a single movie at once. The service doesn't actually host any movies. Instead, it redirects viewers to whatever UltraViolet portal (such as Vudu) that movie is hosted on, according to Recode.
If you've never heard of UltraViolet, it's Hollywood's answer to digital ownership for movies. You add movies to your UltraViolet library by purchasing them online or redeeming a code included with some Blu-ray and DVD purchases.
Once a movie is added to your UV library it's yours to watch across any device.You also have the ability to share your UV videos with friends and family the way you would with a disc.
That sharing ability is where Wavelength found its loophole. The founder of the company, Spencer Wang, a former media & Internet analyst, hasn't been able to get Hollywood onboard with Wavelength's basic idea, Recode reports. Instead, Wang is simply taking advantage of UltraViolet's sharing mechanism and creating a service around that.
Why this matters: UltraViolet is an attempt to make it easier to own digital content and share it with others without giving up on anti-piracy mechanisms. The problem is that sharing DRM-encumbered digital property isn't easy compared to physical items. When you have discs, friends and family can peruse them on your bookshelf, but there really isn't a digital equivalent. That's what Wavelength appears to be, a communal bookshelf where you and your friends can post UV movies and share them with each other.
Burn brightly, burn shortly?
Wavelength sounds like an interesting idea and could be successful with those who have a healthy library of UV movies online. But it also might be short-lived. Recode says Wang is concerned that the UV user terms could be rewritten in way to kill or at least hamper Wavelength's attempts to create a viable business around UltraViolet.
In the meantime, if you want to share your UltraViolet movies with others, now's your chance. Wavelength is currently in a free open beta, but that may change in the future. You can check out Wavelength at Wavelength.io.
Wavelength isn't the first service to build a social community around sharing movies. Another service called Stream Nation debuted in 2012 with a similar aim. Unlike Wavelength, Stream Nation does not care where your films and TV episodes come from.