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Entries in Ultraviolet (5)

Friday
Mar142014

Veronica Mars and Flixter/Ultraviolet - A Match Made in Hell

Man I just hate being disappointed in new media. Yet every time I put my hope into something, I'm consistently let down.

About a year ago, the Veronica Mars movie made headlines for breaking Kickstarter records and promising to be one of the first movies of a new generation of hollywood. Funded by fans, and going with an innovative launch across theaters, Blu-Ray and digital download, the movie was blazing a new trail. And I backed it, partly because I like what it was trying to do, but also because I loved the series and I wanted to see it continue.

And now I'm wishing I hadn't.

Unless you're totally new to my writing, you must know how much I hate ultraviolet. It takes a system that works great (iTunes) and arbitrarily changes things around just to be different. It's total crap and unfortunately, it's the only way for me to get the "digital copy" I paid for. (that's in quotes because it it won't play on my AppleTV, it's not a "digital version" or a "digital copy" or anything other than garbage.)

I still have a blu-ray coming so I will get an actual copy of the movie eventually (unlike those who backed at the digital-only level, sorry folks), but I make it a point to support the things that I want. I vote with my wallet and my wallet stood up to be counted in the "same day digital delivery" camp. When possible, I go out of my way to NOT give money to the ultraviolet/flixter people, it's the only way to keep it from growing. This means that if a movie I want has a "multi-pack" that only includes a digital "version" for flixter, I instead forego that purchase (including all the other value added) and purchase it via iTunes. Because I care about the quality of these things and "shitty" is not something I support financially. 

And that's why this is frustrating. Without my knowledge, my vote was counted in the "pro-flixter camp" and that's just simply not OK.

It's up to the Veronica Mars movie folks at this point to step up and fulfill what they said they would and I haven't comnpletely abandoned faith that they will eventually. But you'd think these supposed "media masters" would eventually realize that angering your fan base, then eventually doing the right thing will never be as good as just doing what you say the first time.

Friday
Dec282012

Ultraviolet - The Gift That's Already Stopped Giving

Another day, another blockbuster, another Ultraviolet post. We've once again passed a widely observed gift-giving holiday and I've been given a movie that I'd very much like to own, but Ultraviolet is once again making it difficult. But there's a light at the end of the tunnel - it seems our complaints are paying off:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruh Roh!

Yes, it seems SO many people are complaining about Ultraviolet misusing the term "digital copy" after they get home and realize they've been duped that they've been forced by the market to take on the scarlet letters proclaming the absence of an "iTunes file". Not only is this an overall positive for the consumer (we know which movies to avoid) but it's actually actively promoting the competing format! Find my translation below:

"Please don't buy this disc, it doesn't have the format you want, you should really goto iTunes instead. Or really, find a movie studio that isn't trying to be douchey about it since many others that aren't us (Warner Brothers) actually inclue both ultraviolet and real digital copies and let you decide. Wouldn't you prefer a movie from one of them?"

The fight continues.

Thursday
Sep202012

A Single Ray of Ultraviolet Sunlight

In a case of "buyer beware", about a month ago, I pre-ordered "The Cabin In The Woods". Take a look at this cover art and tell me what you see (or rather, what you DON'T see):

What I DON'T see is any mention of Ultraviolet. So you can imagine my white hot burning rage surprise when I opened the box from Amazon earlier this week to be greeted with the following:

However, as the title implies, there is a single ray of light here which I discovered when reading the fine print. It turns out that this particular Blu-Ray ships with a code that is good for EITHER Ultraviolet or a real, actual, non-shitty, legitimate Digital Copy via iTunes. If we must be plagued with Ultraviolet, this seems to me to be the best solution. Package up the options, and let them compete on their merits (of which Ultraviolet has none).

PS, if you haven't seen The Cabin in the Woods, you should. it's terrific.

Saturday
Sep082012

Ultraviolet Strikes Again

These things make me unreasonably angry. All I want is to buy my content and then watch it. It's really not a hard concept. In many ways, I am the ideal movies consumer. I am purchase ready, I'm willing to spend money, and I'm an early technology adopter and an enthusiest who can easily be swayed by sepcial features. So one has to ask - why make it harder for me to want to give you my money?

Over the summer, my wife and I saw Rock of Ages. Is it going to win oscars? Of course not. It was harmless fun. I knew immediately that this would be a purchase once it was available. I downloaded the soundtrack literally in the car on the way home (from iTunes of course). So today, I decided to check my trusty Amazon to see when I could expect the Blu-Ray + DVD + Digital Copy version to be available.

The Horror.

If you haven't figured it out yet, the worst has happened (#firstworldproblems and all that):

 

So my only option come October is to simply buy the digital copy from iTunes and call it a day (assuming they even offer it there). If anyone from Ultra-Violet is listening (HA!) or cares (double HA!), your marketing efforts and product choices are actively pushing me away from buying your discs. You have managed to take someone who literally purchased the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy 3 separate times (DVD, DVD Extended and Blur-Ray Extended), the movie Serenity 3 separate times (DVD, HD DVD and Blu-Ray), the entire series of Farscape twice (Starburst DVD and Blu-Ray) and turned me into somone who won't even buy your discs ONCE so I can avoid supporting your misguided "Look at us, we can do iTunes too!" peice of shit also-ran.

 So… Congrats?

Monday
Feb272012

Ultraviolet makes me want to get Ultra Violent

What on earth led us to this?

So I may be a little late to this party but there's a new game in town for digital "copies" of movies. You know how over the last few years DVDs (and more commonly, Blu-Rays) have been coming with digital copies?


Here's one

Well the way this has worked up until now is that you got a code in the box. You type this code into a box in iTunes (or, I guess, something else on windows?) and you get a digital copy of the movie that you can stream to various household devices as well as take with you on iPads and the like. Despite the overall truth that DRM is evil, if it is taken as read that DRM is a neccessary evil for the time being, this implementation has proved the least onerous currently available.

So of course, someone looked at it and said "no way, that's way too consumer friendly".

Enter Ultraviolet. Someone at Warner Brothers decided they could "improve" on this system and came up with the worst of all possible implementations.


Boo

With iTunes, you need an account with a credit card. For some people, this may be an annoyance but these days aren't Apple IDs issued at birth? So what is Ultraviolet's answer? "iTunes only requires one account so clearly, we should require two".

Yes. Two separate accounts that you then must link. Batting 1000 so far Ultraviolet. What you got for me next?

I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 digital copies of various movies I've purchased. I may not watch them often, but when it came time for a car trip with the kids, being able to drop a few movies on an iPod touch to play in the car was unbelieveably helpful. So what I'm saying here is, I have a growing video library, and that library exists in iTunes. So Ultraviolet looks at that and says, naturally, "oh no, this just won't do".

To watch a movie on your device, you have to use Flixster. Now before now, I had nothing against Flixster. It's a handy little app that I use to find movie times. I may not even be against streaming movies in Flixter except for the fact that I already have Netflix to handle that thank you very much. So downloaded movies - check and streaming movies - check. So why would I want to buy into an entirely different ecosystem at this point in the game?

Oh I know, it must be because the only way to watch these movies on the desktop is via an Adobe Air application.

Checkmate Ultraviolet.

Now I didn't discover a lot of this until after I had already entered the code in iTunes and gotten an error. I then contacted Ultraviolet support to explain the problem and request a replacement code. The response was a much longer email detailing the process above. So I responded:

I use iTunes to organize my movies, I don't want another application to watch a single movie.

While I understand how annoying it is to be one of those people that holds the support folks responsible for their corporate masters, I did get a response:

Hi Jeremy,

Unfortunately, iTunes is not available from us for this title. 

For additional information on how to stream and download your UltraViolet digital copy to your computer or compatible iOS or Android device, please see below.

Ugh. Some googling showed me that for some movies (like Harry Potter) they have been honoring the redeem codes to actually allow the advertised digital copy (as opposed to the mislabeled "untraviolet streaming") but they were digging their heels in. Plus I hadn't had my coffee yet.

Why on earth would you guys choose to break a perfectly acceptable system that works? (I understand you didn't do this personally)

This item was a gift. You are telling me that without buying into your completely separate system, I don't get the full use of this gift and now, since it is open, I cannot even return it.

And you wonder why people still choose to pirate. When you stop punishing the people who pay your bills, maybe things will change. ah well.

Thank you for making sure I stay away from any movie labeled "Ulraviolet" in the future.

Jeremy

I'll be awaiting an iTunes redeem code if your company comes to it's senses.

Was I too much of a dick? Maybe. But it's getting hard these days to be a movie fan. I still buy discs because I tend to value quality over convenience and Blurry (whoops, I mean Blu Ray) looks much better in my home theater. When I buy a movie, I want it to look it's best and I usually buy combo packs because it allows me to then watch the movie anywhere. This new iTunes competitor is user hostile, confusing, piontless and most damningly, just bad.

Come to your senses Ultraviolet people. Stop letting your business get in the way of taking my money.