A few days ago I finally got my Blu-ray copy of George Miller’s latest installment in the Mad Max sago, Fury Road. It came with a Blu-ray disc, regular DVD, and a little placard with a code stamped on it. This code would allow me to get a digital copy of the movie via Ultraviolet. I’ve gotten a few digital copies over the past few years from various studios and they’re all stored in my iTunes library on my hard drive. It’s pretty cool if you’re in the mood to just see a couple scenes from a favorite flick without going to the bother of watching the DVD. So I tried to download it.
First off, the page wouldn’t load. It turned out that the Ultraviolet website reacts violently with the Adblock software on my Chrome browser. I sent a bitchy note to Ultraviolet and then moved to the Edge browser, which has no blockers of any kind. The web page worked. After entering the code I was given two options, sign up for Flixster or Vudu. These are two minor league movie streaming services, competitors to Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, Apple, etc. My Panasonic TV sends options like Flixster and Vudu to the second tier because that’s where substandard content providers belong.
I sent another email to Ultraviolet asking them why couldn’t I download the movie through iTunes. Most major (and some minor) studios do this. I received a reply stating that wasn’t an available option. In other words, Warner Brothers doesn’t want to play nice and wants their content restricted to their own media player. Which is a steaming, reeking crock of bullshit.
The Internet menu of my “Smart” TV is clogged with these options. There must be at least four screens of them now and my guess is that few households ever explore them. They stick to what is easy, familiar, and established: Netflix, Amazon, or Apple TV/iTunes. Who can be bothered to download another interface, establish another account, remember yet another password, or give up their credit card information one more time? Companies like Warner Brothers who think that they can bypass their competitors or eliminate piracy with another service like Vudu are delusional. I could easily download a HD copy of Fury Road in less time than it actually took to set up a Flixster account and then download a SD copy (because their HD download was “incompatible” with my system – another load of bullshit).
We don’t buy many DVDs anymore. I only get them if it’s something we’re likely to watch again. I figured that Fury Road would one of those movies. Streaming is much easier for us and most people I know. If a studio like Warner Brothers wants to get my DVD dollars it’s not winning my favor with convoluted contrivances like Ultraviolet. In fact next time I see Ultraviolet on a DVD cover it might be reason not to buy. I bet no one at WB thought of that. Perhaps they should.