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JB Now Video: The Low-Down

By Oonagh Reidy | Tuesday | 07/05/2013

As JB Hi Fi reveals a Now Video service is coming, we caught up with Marketing Manager Scott Browning to get the low down.

NOW Video cloud based service is "nearing completion," JB Hi-Fi CEO Terry Smart revealed Friday at a Macquarie investor conference, preempting the global launch of the UltraViolet movie service, the new system it will operate on. 

JB Video Now Internet streaming, download service will use the Ultraviolet software from the cloud, which is "essentially a digital rights management system," says Browning. 

The Ultra Violet system gives a code in the cover of every physical DVD, Blu Ray purchased, allowing users to instantly stream, download movies to PC, iOS and Android smartphones or tablets (up to 6 devices) via mobile app or software. 

However, it will not be available for TVs given they they are closed access systems, unlike mobile devices. 

"UV is a great digital solution...you already have the physical DVD or Blu Ray" and it lets users stream movies, TV shows on a slew of devices, and also download for offline viewing. 

The JB Hi-Fi Now Video app also has Airplay and other technologies like Intel Wide Eye, he said. 

The move into video streaming service is part of the retailer's treble play with music, ebooks (launched last month) and now video. 

"Its a logical extension and is feasible and we can do it," says Browning. 

Its handy for households as all the accounts are linked - up to 6 family members can view the same Ultraviolet collection. 

The Hobbit, Gangster Squad and Django Unchained are among the titles listed on Now Video website, that will be ready for Ultraviolet viewing soon. 

Video Now won't be a subscription model at the moment though, says Browning and will be a video-on demand-service, and would not be drawn on pricing, saying subscription models are not playing out at the moment. 

The retailer is not committed to a timeframe for the release of Now Video in Australia, and says it's "still in development" and depends on a range of factors.  

But the "sooner the better" says Browning, noting "there is lot happening in [that] technology at the moment."

JB will be the only local provider of Ultraviolet, and Flixster will be the US provider along with Sony. It is affiliated with big names such as BBC, Intel, Warner Brothers, as well as tech giants Panasonic, LG and Samsung.   

"It's very impressive" and offers the consumer flexibility in the long run, as it can store and access all digital content seamlessly, although it's "not perfect." 

Consumers want a provider it trusts and to know content will be there in the long run. 

"The physical product is still a valuable experience" and Blu Ray is still better than digital, he says, noting it will be some time before next gen viewing technology like Ultra High Definition (known as 4K), or even OLED become mainstream, given prices are still "stratospheric." 

But prices will fall, "its only a matter of time." 

The physical DVD and content market is not showing the same growth it showed some time ago "but we're still up compared to some players in the industry," says Browning. 

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