UltraViolet: Everything is Not Awesome

Joe Steel wrote about digital content following an interview with a Kevin Tsujihara, CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment:

Incredibly, he highlights that they’re still trying to push hard on UltraViolet. Consumers have roundly rejected this as any kind of solution. Disney, Google, and Apple won’t participate — but sure, let’s prop this sucker up, Weekend at Bernie’s style! It is a farce of a system that has wronged many that dare to use it.

Joe and Dan also spoke about how bad UltraViolet is on this week’s Defocused so I thought I would take the oppurtunity to get an UltraViolet copy of The Lego Movie that came with the blu ray I bought. The UltraViolet slip in the blu ray suggests to “instantly stream or download” it takes “3 easy steps”.

  1. Go to http://flixter.com/getuv
  2. Enter the code
  3. Follow the instructions

Step one and two went smoothly. The page at stage two noted that the UltraViolet download is for the “cinema version” only although it wasn’t clear if the blu ray version was different. I was informed I would have to create two accounts, Flixter and UltraViolet. These are for “storing your film and TV collection in the cloud“ and to “stream and download your UltraViolet Digital Collection to your favourite compatible screens“ respectively.

Signing up for a Flixter account requires a name, email addrees and date of birth; this data can be used for the UltraViolet account as well, which is convenient. Alternatively, you can login with Facebook which asks for access to your profile, friends list and email address, or Google Plus which requests access to a list of all the people in your circles. To finalise the account(s) creation, the terms and conditions that you must agree to state (emphasis mine):

I accept UltraViolet’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy; agree to allow Flixster to link to my UltraViolet account and allow me to manage it through Flixster; and request that Flixster and Warner Bros. send me offers and make product recommendations and use my UltraViolet account information for such purposes.

On submission an error told me “The UV username is not valid.“. I subsequently received an email asking me to confirm my Flixter account. Ignoring the error, I confirmed the account and was prompted to link my UltraViolet account, which I’m pretty sure didn’t exist. It didn’t.”Your connection to UltraViolet needs to be reset. Please click here to resolve this issue.“ Flixter told me. The same UltraViolet linking page was presented with no way to sign up for a new account so I Googled for the sign up page and filled in the form. Success. Back to Flixter to link my brand new UltraViolet account, which worked this time and then redirected back to Flixter where I can finally view my collection. Of no movies. Nothing there. The code I originally entered hadn’t worked so I selected “redeem” from the main menu.

Redemption of a code on Flixter requires searching for the movie in their database rather than just entering the code directly. Then back to the UltraViolet site to enter the code again. After a few minutes of “updating my collection” I finally had the Lego Movie available to watch in my collection.

This whole process took me about 40 minutes for “3 easy steps”. Everything is not awesome, Mr. Tsujihara. Not even close.