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UV Digital Copy Hate


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Initial post: Nov 22, 2011 1:32:18 PM PST
Nyghtseye says:
What's with all the hate regarding UV digital downloads? It seems I'm seeing a lot of negative chatter about it on the web, and I'm trying to better understand the issue.

It seems people seem to take issue with-

- It does not work on Itunes. Does this even matter? Yes I have to download flixster but that is an easy process and I sometimes just have to be a little mindful of what movies I have that require flixster. A very minor inconvenience.

- It's only streamable. This is false. I've downloaded Crazy Stupid Love and the latest Harry Potter to both my pc and my IPAD.

They both work fine and I'm not understanding the complaints, which seem to center around the perception that WB or some other stupid studio is trying to rigidly control/limit how we use their content.

I see this as an attempt by the studios to make a format that is usable on all platforms- Windows, iOS and Android(I'm currently under the impression that the WMP/itunes digital copies we're all used to did not work on android)

What am I missing?

Posted on Nov 22, 2011 1:45:23 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 22, 2011 1:51:33 PM PST
I haven't used one of these myself (as I don't have a portable video device capable of playing such files and they are therefore useless to me) but I noticed that one was included with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

After doing a little bit of research it seems as though there are a few issues that people are having:

1) They have to login to another app/website apart from iTunes... and you also have to download Flixster (I'll put this one in the "boo hoo" category)
2) They use a license key and must be downloaded/streamed instead of being contained on a disc.. (also a "boo hoo"... although the on-disc variety seems convenient, but -to me- a waste of a disc)
3) There is a form of DRM (digital rights management) included within the files that makes them unplayable or hard to play on certain devices (I don't know how big a deal this is, so I'll file it within a new "okay, that could be a problem" category)
4) There's currently no set-top box that will play/stream UV files (back to the "boo hoo"... if you bought the Blu-ray or combo pack you have at least one copy of the movie... suck it up)
5) People are just dumb and think that they have to stream the files every time and haven't figured out how to download them (I think this is the main problem and you obviously already figured that out if this option is the main case against UV)

Otherwise, if there are any other complaints regarding this format, I would guess that someone who's actually used the technology would be a much better expert than I. I, personally, rip copies of my own DVDs for personal use (in the case that I want to convert a movie/TV show to the compatible video format for my outdated mp3 player) so I wouldn't even bother with such a thing anyway.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 23, 2011 2:31:33 AM PST
MikeT says:
Another Amazon thread with posts explaining UV issues and dislike
http://tinyurl.com/758g2tt

Posted on Nov 25, 2011 1:23:43 PM PST
J. Hamill says:
Yes, Ultraviolet stinks. I will not buy any WB movie as long as it contains a UV copy. WB should have learned their lesson from the spanking they received over HD-DVD. We do not need another format war, especially when iTunes already dominates the device market. The idea of making a format that works across all platforms is noble, but they brought it to market before it was fully baked with Cupertino and Hollywood. I hate new formats that are not supported by every studio WHEN IT LAUNCHES. In the end, consumers get screwed. Anyone want to buy some used HD-DVDs?

Posted on Nov 25, 2011 4:52:07 PM PST
Cavaradossi says:
J. Hamill

What's the problem? Does your HD DVD player no longer work? If it does still work, why not continue to enjoy those HD DVDs you bought? They will still look great, as good as their BD counterparts. If you really want to replace the HD DVDs will BDs, fine, but unless you're rolling in dough my guess is that it will cost a pretty penny to do so. Buy your BD replacements over time while still enjoying your HD DVDs. They didn't stop working just because Hollywood and the hardware manufacturers decided to go with Blu-ray. They are not some contagion in your collection that will contaminate all your DVDs and BDs. There is no good reason for anyone to rush to dump their HD DVDs just because they now want to go Blu.

Posted on Nov 26, 2011 8:38:55 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 28, 2011 9:39:19 PM PST
A M says:
@J. Hamill

Your logic is slightly flawed, because the format war between BD and HD-DVD requires you to purchased new or additional hardware to get movies from each studio. UV, PocketBlu, and iTunes copies all work on my macintosh computer. If anything it is the iTunes copies that would require me to go out and buy new hardware as both my phone and tablet are Android. And Android has a larger share of cell phones. So it makes sense to have a format that is compatible for them.

And if you want the movie - just buy it for the disc. Not buying it because it has a UV copy is like not buying a movie because it has behind the scenes extras and a commentary track that you don't want. The only reason to hate is if something doesn't work right. I bought a copy of "Machete" and it came with a pocketblu digital copy and that doesn't play on my phone at all.

Posted on Nov 27, 2011 6:27:37 PM PST
"Yes, Ultraviolet stinks. I will not buy any WB movie as long as it contains a UV copy"

Well that is CUTTING your nose off to SPITE your face. Dumb!

Posted on Nov 27, 2011 10:47:34 PM PST
FromABuick6 says:
I don't understand all the fuss. It's very simple. If it doesn't work, just use a free file conversion software and convert it to a format that works for your device.

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 9:35:11 AM PST
B. Ellis says:
Even though I have devices that can play them, I've never downloaded a digital copy of a movie. Digital copy is just not a selling point for me. When I want to watch a movie, I enjoy it on my home theater system.

However, now that my oldest child is getting closer to school-age, I can see the appeal of digital copy enabling me to download movies to portable devices for travel purposes. I just haven't had the need to do so yet because we don't travel a lot right now.

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 9:54:47 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 29, 2011 9:55:12 AM PST
GarionOrb says:
People are mostly raging because it doesn't work on iTunes. That's actually a pretty big flaw considering the popularity of iPads/iPhones, and I'm wondering why Ultraviolet hasn't addressed this. I'm pretty sure that if this gets fixed, you'll see much less grief on the internet about it.

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 10:21:06 AM PST
A M says:
@GarionOrb

There is a Flixster app for iPhones and iPads that support both streaming and downloading UltraViolet movies. So it not working with iTunes is irrelevant since it works with the portable devices.

Posted on Nov 29, 2011 12:38:52 PM PST
douglasG says:
From the discussions I have read most people are referring to the UV digital copy that comes with a blu-ray and or dvd purchase. I have several of these and I see it as just another option. It works great on a small screen such as on portable devises. I have read some people mentioning doing their own rips of better quality. I too can do better rips but find it pointless on such a small screen size and for a bigger screen such as a TV isn't that what you bought the blu-ray and or dvd for? Only if your device is older and not compatible I could understand doing your own rip for those devices.

At J. Hamill's comment. No one is forcing anyone to use the digital copy. It is nothing more than an option if you happen to want to use it. If you don't than it will not hinder the enjoyment of the blu-ray that it came with.

It is nice to have an option in addition to itunes. Those having a problem with having to download another program are just being lazy. You had to download itunes at the beginning and now you download flixster. Easy process and it works with android.

Like I said no one is forcing anyone to use the digital copy, it is just an added option that came with your blu-ray purchase.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2011 8:09:32 AM PST
Michael J. says:
I don't know about all of the movies but I know on some even if you download to your device that they require a wifi connection to play. I assume it's a bug that will be fixed but it's a pretty big one why would you bother to download a movie file to your iphone, ipad, etc. only to have to still have access to wifi to watch it. Pretty horrible mistake by UV!

Posted on Dec 16, 2011 5:53:00 PM PST
A M says:
Hey everyone, someone gave me a DVD recently that had a UV digital copy. So I "got" it. I already had the flixster app on my tablet and cell phone. I went to the website, created an account and typed in the code. The movie streams. It worked in the web browser on my computer, and on my tablet and phone. You have the option of downloading it. I tried it on my tablet, and disconnected from the internet - the file still played.

However, downloading it on my computer requires the dedicated flixster collection app - and the app couldn't find my collection even though I was logged in. The quality is only SD - but looks really good on a 4-10 inch screen and pretty darn good on a 15" screen. So people can hate it all you want. But it is a digital copy that works on android phones, tablets, mac computers, and presumably PC computers, iPhones, and iPads. It can stream or be downloaded for offline viewing. And so far only one kink (downloading on my computer). I have an old iPhone 3G (which is now used as an iPod touch) and will try watching it on the flixster app there.

You can hate it all you want - but my initial experiences are okay. Also, after I redeemed my movie - they gave me a free movie!

Posted on Dec 16, 2011 6:47:15 PM PST
C. E. Hall says:
This is my complaint. People that have been buying blu ray movies for awhile usually get a choice on the code from pc version/itunes. Now they want us to use a third party vender. Once the movie is downloaded to my pc you can not move it to any ios device. You can stream it, which takes data if you aren't on a wifi signal. Its not user friendly for people been used to ios devices and the sync process. This is my recommendation; buy a blu ray mp4 converter. Save the money on buying combo packs and convert the blu ray movie to an mp4 file thats accepted by your device.

Posted on Dec 16, 2011 8:39:08 PM PST
B. Hamill says:
I have a big issue with UV. I got Harry Potter 7.2 on bluray. Like all my HP blurays before, it said it came with a digital copy. All previous digital downloads were exactly that: downloads, where I was given an option of iTunes or windows. This time, it's not until I get my copy that it says it's this new "great" UV nonsense. Ok... Let me see what this is about. I created the flixter and UV accounts. This is my first issue: now two different websites want my info. Whatever, I have an email address for that. I then choose that I want a download. Here's where I have a big problem: I now have to download TWO different applications to enjoy my digital copy: adobe air, and flixter collections app.

I've been enjoying digital downloads ever since I had my iPad... Why should I now have to create two different accounts and download two different applications? It has nothing to do with being "lazy". I've heard terrible things about the collections app (nice name). I've heard from multiple sources that it gathers info on all your activity on your computer (including Netflix and Facebook) and uses it to spam you and make "recommendations" (and who knows what else they do with it). I've also heard that your access to the streamed version of *your* movie is only good for 3 years. You have to pay to watch it after that. I have no idea if that affects your downloaded version.

So... Digital downloads worked fine the way they were: you downloaded an iTunes or windows version, and you watched however you wanted... Nothing extra than what you already had. Now, because of UV, you need two extra online accounts and two extra downloaded apps, and the studio/UV has control over the streamed file (and your info).

I did NOT download the two apps. I don't want to willingly install stuff on my pc/iPad that I don't need. I am still trying to find a good way to create my own digital copies of my DVD/blurays, but haven't had any luck. Boycotting a studio doesn't make sense, tho I do plan to complain a lot (not that that will matter). I just hope it either goes away or I find a reasonable way to DIY (suggestions welcome!)

Whew... Sorry... Long winded!
(not related to "J" above)

Posted on Dec 18, 2011 8:15:08 AM PST
A M says:
"I've heard from multiple sources that it gathers info on all your activity on your computer (including Netflix and Facebook) and uses it to spam you and make "recommendations" (and who knows what else they do with it)."

I got news for you - every place does that. including iTunes, Amazon. Go into your iTunes account it has a record of everything you have ever purchased ever since you signed up. Mine goes all the way back to 2003. Amazon makes tons of recommendations based on not only what I have bought - but also what I have just looked at! Every time you do a google search - they record the information and recommend the pop up ads on websites. Every time you use the internet - the source providers are gathering info of what you are looking at. If you really want to know what they do with it - I suggest you read the fine print before you click "I agree" when signing up for any website.

In terms of Flixster - you have the option of linking your Netflix and Facebook account. I already had an account because I use Flixster to check movie schedules when I want to see something in the theater. Some people link their Netflix account to also be able to have access to their queue in one place for things like reading reviews. People also connect to facebook to recommend movies to people and post what they are doing.

Also, Adobe Air is a useful background app. I have it installed on my computer and there is no application icon in the applications folder. It is a system service that allows individual applications to use Adobe Flash (as opposed to just web browsers). I already had this installed because I use The New York Times "Times Reader" application.

Check out an app or service or website rather than just saying "no" as a knee jerk reaction. I know UV is tied to flixster and WB, so I know it is reputable. And any info they may gather is going to be a duplicate of what flixster already gathers. And knowing that I looked up showtimes for "Harold & Kumar 3" isn't earth shattering - like if they knew that I took anti-psychotics and bought tons of dominatrix gear online.

Posted on Dec 18, 2011 7:24:18 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 18, 2011 7:26:00 PM PST
R. Zysk says:
Flixster is offering disgruntled customers the ability to download the movie for free from Apple's iTunes instead. You can obtain the iTunes codes by submitting a complaint at support.ultraviolet.flixster.com (requires your Flixster redemption code). You can read an article on this at http://gigaom.com/video/flixster-itunes-ultraviolet.

Posted on Dec 18, 2011 8:43:16 PM PST
B. Hamill says:
I would expect iTunes to keep track of my purchases, just like Macy's does (if I use a CC). As for Amazon, same thing with the purchases. the browse history/recommendations, it's my activity on Amazon, being used by Amazon (no matter how lame their recommendations may be). Both of these websites are keeping track of my activity on their own sites. Flixter allegedly keeps track of my movements/activity on OTHER sites and uses it for their own purposes, and as far as I know, they sell it to other companies. You say that UV is tied to WB/Flixter, so it's reputable. I dont necessarily doubt UV, I doubt Flixter. I dont know that they're reputable.

But besides that, why should I need two new online accounts, and two new application downloads, in order to do what I've been doing since before I got my iPad (v1, bought the summer it came out), and what was promised me on the original purchase ("includes free digital download!").

In my opinion, it's a racket come up with by the studios, in order to profit just that little bit more off the digital copy, whether thru making you pay to use the file beyond 3 years, or by selling/using your info to generate other sales. With the popularity of tablets, and I'm guessing some good numbers behind their sales of DVD/BR's that included digital copies, they realized that there was a market to be tapped. I'm not thrilled with that. offer the digital copy or dont, but I dont like the extra red tape.

Posted on Dec 19, 2011 12:25:33 AM PST
A M says:
"In my opinion, it's a racket come up with by the studios, in order to profit just that little bit more off the digital copy, whether thru making you pay to use the file beyond 3 years, or by selling/using your info to generate other sales."

No the whole point is to slowly ween people onto the idea of digital copies as a whole. Studios make a much larger profit off of a sale of a digital copy than they do off of a BD or DVD. There is no physical product to manufacture and distribute. So the profit margin is much higher (even though the price may be lower).

But digital copies are a totally different way of thinking. Stuff like that takes time to reach full adoption. So they are "giving away" digital copies with disc purchases to get people acclimated. But the other problem was/is that iTunes copies only play on iPhones and iPads. And right now android phones outsell iPhones. And Windows phones are gaining in popularity. Right now Pocketblu and Ultraviolet are the only ways to get a digital copy onto the the most popular cell phone platform.

In terms of the 3 year thing - I doubt that will kick in. I don't know if you have noticed, but the iTunes digital copies that come with BDs and DVDs also have an expiration date for you to download them by. But I recently lost one when a hard drive crashed and I stuck the disc back in my computer and re-entered the code even though it was after the expiration date and it re-downloaded the movie for me. Maybe this was because I had already downloaded it once before the expiration. Or maybe it was because they aren't enforcing it. I don't know. I predict the same for UV.

"Flixter allegedly keeps track of my movements/activity on OTHER sites and uses it for their own purposes"

But only if you allow it. You choose whether or not to link your facebook or netflix accounts.

"and as far as I know, they sell it to other companies"

Rather than just assume - why don't you take the time to read their privacy policy?

You may not like the extra red tape, but in order to offer a digital copy that works on all devices (android, iOS, windows Mango, Blackberry) - it will require going outside the iTunes box - which will mean signing up for some other service or site. Steve Jobs was a revolutionary because he thought outside the box to innovate new things. He specifically tried to not just improve upon what already existed. Warner Bros./Flixster/UltraViolet is doing the same thing and you are faulting them because it is requires you to sign up for a different service and does not integrate into what you already know (iTunes).

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2011 12:58:24 AM PST
You might like Adobe Air, but every one of these services will run on your computer from startup, and it's not always obvious to the layperson on how to disable it. They WILL slow your computer down. Unnecessary programs add to the clutter; if you never use Flixter, downloading it only for UV is like asking people to pay for your marketing and data collection. Same thing with the Coupon Printer thing that Disney uses.

I don't use digital copies myself, but I would never recommend other people to download a bunch of random programs, and asking people to read the privacy policies of a bunch of programs you force them to download is a ridiculous idea.

I suggest people to buy something like AnyDVD HD and rip the appropriate stream (using other free software). That's piracy, but that's what happens when these corporations take liberties on your purchases.

Posted on Dec 31, 2011 12:09:44 PM PST
Jakeb says:
Guess what? People are selling their unused codes on ebay which equals cheap movies for me!!!

Posted on Dec 31, 2011 12:34:19 PM PST
Lori says:
Will it work on my iPod classic, like it did before?

Posted on Dec 31, 2011 1:20:03 PM PST
Jakeb says:
I do not believe it is compatible with the classic version, but it does say it is compatible with other versions. Plus you can complain to them till they give you an itunes code instead.

Posted on Dec 31, 2011 4:07:53 PM PST
The problem isn't Ultraviolet itself actually (well, it is a little but I'll get to that).

The problem is how studios are implementing it. It is meant to be linked to 'retailers' that determine what features, players, applications, etc., you can get the content on. Well, the studios have set themselves up as the retailers meaning they determine how/when/how long you get to use the content.

That said, Universal actually did it right with their UV implementation so far... They had you register on their site for their stupid information gathering and activated your copy in UV as well; however, as part of their 'retailer' strategy they allowed you to download not only an iTunes version from UV, but also Amazon, Vudo and another one I forget. This way everyone wins and you can use whatever application/player you like. I have NO PROBLEM with the way Universal implemented UV because I can still choose my application of choice (iTunes in my case) and download from that source.

Warner, on the other hand, acquired a company a long time ago called Flixster that they have been unable to monetize so, in an effort to make it profitable, has FORCED consumers to adopt their Flixster application on not only their mobile devices, but also on their computers as well if they want to view the content they PAID FOR. Along with this there are some VERY DISTURBING aspects to Flixster in it's terms of use: You no longer own your digital copy after three years (UV actually only requires 'retailers' to let you own it for one year... so you may be charged to stream or download after one year). You MUST give Flixster access to your entire computer. This is not a choice. The application gathers data on ALL of your media whether it is in Flixster or not (it's all right there in the terms of use folks). By installing Flixster you also give it the right to _remove YOUR media_ from your computer... Not only media you registered with Flixster but ANY media that is deemed to not have proper rights for use. Finally, it is not so much a 'choice' whether you give Flixster access to Netflix or Facebook but more of a 'when'. You see, you don't get a choice. If you have Flixster open on your computer when you open Netflix or Facebook you _automatically_ grant Flixster the right to access your accounts on those services (read the terms folks).

The bottomline is this: Ultraviolet is fine and good IF studios/whoever is ethical about it and respects the consumers choices; however, most do not. I've described the problem with Warner above; however, now Sony has started in with UV and the result is... YOU NEED YET ANOTHER APPLICATION IF YOU WANT TO VIEW YOUR CONTENT FROM SONY!!! Sony is REQUIRING an install of the Silverlight Client in order to use your digital copy! This, folks, is outrageous. How many applications and privacy violating policies must we allow on our machines to view the content we PAID FOR?? It will NEVER end at this rate. UV needs a standard policy that requires all popular formats be available (just as Universal has done). They say a multi-application downloadable file is coming; however, 'retailers' will be able to choose whether they use it or not (clearly, Warner and Sony have chosen not).

THAT is the problem with UV.

If someone is too naive to see what is going on here, then they deserve to lose their rights and content. I; however, do not appreciate this new system at all. I feel it is taking my rights to my digital content (including my PRIVATE digital content) away from me. In the end, all it is going to do is force people to break the law to get a digital copy they want that works in their application of choice (just look at all the folks talking about burning their own digital MP4's in this thread alone already!). Most people will simply torrent a digital file to save time. Brilliant move by the studios... Make everyone a pirate! Idiots.
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Initial post:  Nov 22, 2011
Latest post:  Feb 8, 2014

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