Friday, 13 July 2012

Frustrations with Digital Copies of Films

I'm a big lover of technology and also am a lover of films.

Despite my love of digital, I've not found moving away from DVDs a particularly easy process - I watch Blu-Ray for some films where High Definition is more of an issue, but don't have Blu-Ray capability in all rooms (yet).

As a result, I've been buying double and triple play packages recently. For watching in the various rooms of my house, this works fine, but I also have mobile devices, which is where complications arise.

All these "legitimate" options use DRM - Digital Rights Management. I hate this - it limits you to using this on persons iTunes account, which doesn't work particularly well when like me you share this media with your partner, but have separate accounts.

So, we bought a few films recently that came with digital copies - these were the A-Team, Crazy Stupid Love, This Means War and Sherlock 2.

2 of these used a system called Ultraviolet and interfaced with Flixster. It wasn't immediately intuitive that you could get these on to the iPad or iPhone. Eventually I worked out that you could use the Flixster Movies app, which you could then download the film to.

This is then locked to those devices, but at least we could get it on there.

Sherlock 2 was fairly simple - iTunes allowed us to enter a code and that downloaded nice and smoothly straight away.

The A-Team experience was a massive fail on Fox Movies part. It came with a digital copy on a disc, but the code that came with it didn't work. It did say that a few issues had been had with some, and that you could request a second code. So I did that, and it said I had no allocations left!

I then had to email Fox, who did a day or two later email a fresh code, which did work.

What frustrates me with all of this the most, is that whilst these are now available on my girlfriends mobile devices, I can't use them myself on my mobile devices (maybe I'm greedy, but we each have our own ones to help us with our digital lives).

Also, for one of the Harry Potter films, I didn't immediately download the copy of the film, which resulted in "losing" the copy, as it expired. This drove me insane - I wanted to get a copy of this digital film, that I'd paid for, and was blocked from doing so!

Whenever we've been given copies of video from more dubious sources, using an App like Buzz Player allows you to use just about any video on all devices. 

I avoid deliberately, illegally downloading. But I can see why people do it. It's easier, it's faster, you jump through far less hoops, you can use it more easily across devices.

I understand that the big film studios want to protect their assets, but they actually make it considerably harder than it needs to be. DRM has been dropped from most music sources, and from the figures I've seen have shown digital revenues increasing. This hasn't been happening that I can see for the film industry - I'm sure there is growth, but most digital video I've been using has been coming along with physical copies.

I think ultimately, the Oatmeal sums it up perfectly, with "I tried to watch Game of Thrones and this is what Happened"! Go read this, it's excellent and funny!

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