November 15, 2011
Leave it to Hollywood to invent some new way to fix something by making it worse.
I love buying movies on Blu-ray Disc because they're the best possible video we can get at home. But I also love the portability of iDevices, which creates quite a pickle. One of the best features of digital audio is the ability to rip CDs and use those songs on your iPod. But since Hollywood is scared to death of piracy, in comes the digital rights management used by Blu-ray. CDs have none, DVDs have one level of DRM and Blu-ray builds it in like Fort Knox. Why? Hollywood is scared of piracy.
Here's a secret I'd like to let Hollywood know: If people want to rip movies, they're going to do it. There's not a piece of technology created that hasn't been cracked by someone determined enough. Some people want to crack this to enhance their personal use, such as using a movie you bought on an iPad or notebook computer. Other people, and I hope this is the minority, just want to steal movies.
So a few years ago some movies started including digital copies. The ones I have come across in the past were codes to use with iTunes, and some had the option of using Windows Media Player. This seemed kind of silly considering how this could be fixed by allowing software makers to let you rip movies, but again Hollywood is just too darn scared of piracy.
It wasn't great, but it wasn't exactly broken.
Now there's this new thing called Ultraviolet. I'm guessing the cutesy name comes from wanting to associate with Blu-ray, which gets its name from using a blue laser to read discs. Ultraviolet involves no lasers, but whatever I guess.
I just bought the final Harry Potter movie, and I noticed it came with a UV digital copy instead of the perfectly decent -- yet not awesome -- digital copy method already in use. Now instead of just using an iTunes account -- which millions of us have -- I have to sign up for yet another account -- two of them actually -- to use this service. And now I need a new app, Flixster, which I didn't need before. I just needed iTunes or an iPod/iPhone/iPad.
Thankfully this method allows me to download the file to my device in order to view it without an Internet connection. I didn't expect this. But I need another app and more accounts now?
I have stuck with Amazon's Kindle books precisely because I started buying ebooks there and had no interest in having some books in the Kindle app, others in Apple's iBooks, others in Barnes & Noble's Nook.
You know, there just wasn't anything wrong with the old method aside from just being a workaround for Hollywood's phobia of piracy. But instead of making things easier for us, it's just another place we gotta find something and more accounts where we can unleash our limited memory of different passwords. Thanks, Hollywood.
Michael Buckelew is part of the digital team for SCNI, the parent company of the Gwinnett Daily Post.