Twentieth Century Fox: Blu-ray is our main focus

Danny Kaye sees a future in Blu-ray
Danny Kaye sees a future in Blu-ray

With the announcement that Twentieth Century Fox is to add Android to its list of devices compatible with its digital copy service, there seems to be something of a question mark surrounding Blu-ray.

Just how long can physical media survive in a market where Apple no longer offers optical drives on many of its computers and tablets are becoming a big part of consumers' media consumption?

TechRadar sat down with Vincent Marcais, senior vice-president for marketing, and Danny Kaye, executive vice president of global research & technology strategy, from Twentieth Century Fox recently to discuss just that, and they explained that Blu-ray is only really at the start of what is set to be a long shelf-life.

The reason for this is that Fox is looking at Blu-ray as the main part of what is a wider media package – it is the disc you buy, but with it you get the ability to get digital copies and more. But it is the disc that is essential to the quality of the product.

Future proofing

"Blu-ray at the moment is the best way for consumers to directly own content because they get the best quality and it's future-proofing at the same time," explained Marcais.

"We are looking at all different types of things: electronic, digital and physical stuff. But our focus at the moment is really Blu-ray."

Blu-ray sales are up year on year and with Blu-ray player prices dropping way below the £100 mark, it is a format that's becoming part of the mainstay.

However, the proliferation of digital downloads will eventually mean that Blu-ray's market share will shrink.

As Danny Kaye explained to TechRadar, though, Fox is hoping that the eco-system it is helping create with the digital locker service UltraViolet will enrich Blu-ray buying and not hinder it.

"The concept of UltraViolet is giving something extra," explained Kaye.

"If I want to watch it on a large screen TV in the best quality, I get a Blu-Ray disc. But if I also get a DVD then I can move that around the players that I might have in other places including a car or my computer.

"And then with UltraViolet, I will be able to download a stream to any number of portable devices, then that's a lot of flexibility.

"So I buy one title and I can do any number of things with it. That should shift from a 'rental-streaming' model, to a 'purchase-own' store."

UltraViolet - ultra backing

UltraViolet is being backed by some 70 companies and it acts as a digital locker for your content. While the idea is sound, the concept at the moment does mean that titles you have bought before the UltraViolet launch will not be part of this locker.

Kaye, however, did hint to us that Fox was looking at ways to get previously bought content on to the service.

"We're talking about all of these kinds of things and sure it's going to happen… there may be easier ways to do it than in the past where you could end up digitising each part of your library."

Marcais agreed with this, and explained to TechRadar: "Finding the good solutions for people to digitise their existing library will prepare them to be more willing to buy them in the new environment."

UltraViolet is set for a UK launch sometime later in the year.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.