So, the movie studios have gotten together and have delivered this new UltraViolet cloud streaming service in codes that are being packed with your movies. These codes, in many cases, have replaced the studio’s offer of a digital download code for the iTunes store. Over the course of the last year or so, I have tried UltraViolet, and have come to the conclusion that it is nothing more than an epic fail (at least for me).
Why is it an epic fail for me? First, compatibility with the iPad or Apple TV isn’t something to count on. While Paramount and Warner have playback applications and CinemaNow offers UltraViolet playback, it has been a mixed bag on my iPad.
As for CinemaNow, I tried to get it working on my Roku XDS to stream my UltraViolet copies, and no matter how hard I tried, I could not get the playback to work without stuttering. (This is despite the fact that every other service I have attempted to use on my Roku XDS works fine!) I called CinemaNow’s tech support after examining the experience of other CinemaNow customers having this same problem in an effort to try and shed some light on the situation, and after talking to the level one support tech for 20 minutes to explain the issue. He agreed the ticket needed escalated; then, after waiting another 1 ½ hours for help from the second support level, I finally gave up. Looks like I am not going to be playing back UltraViolet on my TV.
So much for what is supposed to be the universality of the format. Yes, UltraViolet is a universal format, but the way that each studio offers it and supports it is different. Yes, your locker of owned movies is united together. Of course, each studio has their own way of implementing it, and this is never truer than when it comes to redemption and management of your movies.
Redemption has always seemed to be tricky for me. If you follow the directions exactly and are successful in linking your UltraViolet account to the studio’s UltraViolet redemption center, all should be downhill from there. Nope. My experience has been that sometimes your redemption code will work and then other times it will not work. Worse, you enter the code and it thinks “Trouble with the Curve” is “Batman,” and no matter what you do, the system will not believe otherwise.
Then there is support, if you can find it or call it that. My experience has been if you can explain the issue to them in an Email or feedback form, they might be of some assistance, but for the most part they have been of little help. At this point, I am not even attempting any longer to redeem the UltraViolet codes, it just isn’t worth it.
I have heard many complaints about the iTunes movie downloads, but you know what…it works. I am not an Apple Fanboy, in fact far from it, but dealing with one provider and one playback client instead of multiple movie studios, multiple streaming playback offerings, and multiple different ways of UltraViolet redemption has soured me to the point of no return on using UltraViolet. It would take a lot to get me to retry to use UltraViolet. Until the studios can find a way to unify it and just make it work, I will keep buying Blu-ray copies and using iTunes. It works and that is all there is to that.