The Sadness That Is UltraViolet

Please bear with me as I vent. If I say anything incorrect, please let me know.

I bought a Blu-Ray with an UltraViolet digital copy. In theory this is a good thing. I should be able to watch my video from a computer, tablet, phone, smart TV, etc. The problem is that the process for redeeming and consuming the media is too complex and painful.

First, I was required to log in to Flixster's website. I've done the before and it's not a big deal. The site remembered me and immediately presented me with a box to enter my redemption code. So far so good.

Next, I was asked for my UltraViolet credentials. Right. That's not the same as your Flixster credentials in case you were wondering. Unfortunately, nothing that I or LastPass remembered seemed to work.

I told the site that I had forgotten my password, please email me a reminder. No email.

In desperation, I clicked an unobtrusive link on the page and revealed a hidden checkbox that asked if I wanted to allow my Flixster account to be linked to my UltraViolet account. I checked it and was taken to a page that asked me to confirm the transaction. Success!

Or not.

Clicking the "continue" button did nothing but cause the page to become unresponsive. Eventually I was presented with this...


I figured I was start from scratch by just going directly to the main Flixster site. Of course, that didn't work either.

Now imagine that page constantly flashing as it reloads. Over and over.

At his point I abandoned Chrome and switched to using Safari. This seemed to work just fine and I was presented with the following:


Or not...

I refuse to install Flash Player and typically use Chrome to view Flash content.

Except I can't use Chrome on the Flixster site.

Wait a minute... I know that Vudu has a copy of one of the UltraViolet movies I redeemed already. I login there and...

Shoot! My new purchase isn't there! (No results under "My TV". I checked there also.)

I figured that since I was in a site and could actually find some media, I'd see how it looked through the browser.


At this point I've spent about 30 minutes, had to use two different browsers, three different accounts and have no idea who it is that maintains control over the digital goods that I paid for. I assume it's my UltraViolet account, but don't understand why the registration instructions packaged with the disc send me to the Flixster site instead.

Logging in to the UltraViolet site shows me the two titles I currently have redeemed, with links to watch at the "provider" (Flixster) for both and Vudu for neither. So I'm confused because I'm not sure how one of my titles shows up at Vudu.

Not that it matters since the HDCP restrictions keep me from watching anything in HD anyway.

UltraViolet promises to give you a legal way to watch what you bought wherever you want. If this is the way they hope to reduce piracy then they had better try again. Your average consumer is not going to be interested going through all of this and your more technical consumers will just go back to BitTorrent.

Update - January 27, 2013 02:45am:

I've been going through my discs to fill in a list I'm compiling of the various UltraViolet options. I came across another problem.

I honestly don't know what it takes to make a title available, but surely there is little overhead involved. What about copies of the movie that sit on a shelf and then sold. Are those people out of luck?

More sadness.