I Really Hate UltraViolet: Is It Just Me?

Flixster/UltraViolet combo

Screen capture of Flixster during Pacific Rim install

I’m beginning to lose patience with the whole digital movies thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the idea of having a digital copy of a movie and being able to watch it on all our devices is great. In fact, I’m fully on board with that. We have Apple TVs throughout the house and an iTunes library large enough that the computer hosting it has a 6 TB external hard drive exclusively for that purpose. And I actually buy those movies. But the studios seem determined to mess up a good thing through competing standards for digital downloads. In particular, the insistence on pushing UltraViolet exclusively seems thickheaded.

When I pick up a movie that’s okay, or one that’s good but doesn’t really showcase special effects, I tend to simply buy it on iTunes. It’s pretty good quality (especially the HD titles), iTunes pricing is comparable to buying a disc off the shelf (plus iTunes cards are constantly on sale which can be leveraged for discounted pricing), having the movie ready on demand instead of driving to a store is useful and Apple has been on a tear lately with early release versions of movies — Monsters University, for example, was available a full month before its retail release date.

When there’s a movie that simply must be in the highest commercially available quality, I buy it on Blu-ray. Actually, I frequently buy the Blu-ray + digital copy option. I don’t mind paying the extra to have the Blu-ray version for my library and a lower quality (but still pretty good) digital version for iTunes to load up the iPads or if one of the kids wants to watch the movie on their computer or an AppleTV-equipped TV. The digital copy is convenient and it helps to save wear and tear on the disc when it comes to casual viewing.

I’ve had some issues in the past. Mostly lost digital download codes. I bought a movie a few years ago that came with an UltraViolet digital download, but an e-mail to customer service yielded an iTunes code instead.

However, I just bought Pacific Rim. It was available as an early release on iTunes weeks ago, but as badly as I wanted to buy it, I held off until it was available on store shelves. Definitely something you want to see in all its high definition glory. This weekend, I picked up the Blu-ray package with digital download. That digital download was UltraViolet, the cloud-based, DRM-laden digital movie standard being pushed by film studios. And while UltraViolet movies can be downloaded and played on Macs and iOS devices (after a Flickster app is installed), the format is incompatible with iTunes and AppleTV.

And now it looks as though UltraViolet is pushing back and no longer exchanging iTunes download codes. I contacted customer support at Flixster (the client for downloading and playing UltraViolet movies), UltraViolet and Warner Brothers (the studio that released Pacific Rim). Besides pointing out the obvious — that the code was an UltraViolet one — the various customer support teams basically went in circles, pointing out the myriad devices that do support UltraViolet and pointing the finger at Apple for not supporting the standard. An example snippet:

“— iTunes does not currently support streaming or downloading of UltraViolet movies and TV shows. If you have any further questions or concerns about an iTunes copy of your movies, please contact the support team at Flixster Customer Care for UltraViolet.”

A quick scan of support forums shows the UltraViolet folks have started cracking down and stopped offering up iTunes codes as a replacement for AppleTV owners.

So if I want Pacific Rim in digital form, I either have to buy it a second time on iTunes, watch the movie on a Flixster/UltraViolet compatible device or illegally rip a copy from the disc I purchased.

Yes, I was fairly warned on the packaging that this was an UltraViolet digital download, not an iTunes version.

That’s not really the point, though. My point is the ridiculous hoops consumers are being made to jump through. If you are a movie studio, why wouldn’t you make that digital download available in a choice of formats? You don’t have to supply multiple codes, just one to a website where the customer picks the format/source of choice and gets one download code. It’s one extra step but, hey, we’re already jumping through a few hoops here and having it end with something we want is worth it. It’s certainly easier than having to register both UltraViolet and Flickster accounts, install the Flickster app on any device I want to watch the movie on and fume about the devices I can’t watch it on.

In reality, I suppose it isn’t UltraViolet itself that I hate (if you like jumping through those hoops, more power to you), it’s the insistence on UltraViolet being the only option.

Honestly, I don’t care how they sort this out in the end, but the standards battle has got to stop. They do this kind of stuff, then wonder why so many people simply bypass buying their products altogether to grab a copy off BitTorrent instead.

It’s almost as bad as competing e-book file formats. As someone who owns Kindle, Kobo, Nook and Sony e-readers (along with the iPad and iBooks combo), don’t even get me started on that one…

Note: I am fully aware that the specifics of this scenario leave me wide open to the “duh, don’t use iTunes or AppleTV” solution. Thanks, but it works well for our purposes (present example excluded), we’re heavily invested in it now and, circling back to point one, it works.

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Brad Moon

About Brad Moon

Brad has been a GeekDad core contributor since 2007 and writes about technology for a wide range of outlets. He's also a WFH dad, resident Canuck, outdoor enthusiast, camper extraordinaire and frequent reviewer of gadgets, devices and gizmos.

Brad Moon

About Brad Moon

Brad has been a GeekDad core contributor since 2007 and writes about technology for a wide range of outlets. He's also a WFH dad, resident Canuck, outdoor enthusiast, camper extraordinaire and frequent reviewer of gadgets, devices and gizmos.

145 thoughts on “I Really Hate UltraViolet: Is It Just Me?

  1. It’s not just you… I despise the service. I also buy Blu-ray with Digital Download when possible, and have had nothing but trouble. For Iron Man 3, I repeatedly entered code only to be told the digital download wasn’t available currently and to check back soon. Still haven’t been able to watch it. (Oh, and it required me to go through Marvel’s digital download page, not Ultraviolet’s… irritating.)

    Had similar issues with Thor, I believe, and a few movies over the last year with titles that escape me… I just gave up.

    Maybe they’ll get it all together in a few more years… right now it still feels like beta.

    • Marvel Movies are not UltraViolet, they are iTunes or Vudu/Amazon. This is not a complaint against UV, but Disney. And you don’t have to use flixster at all with UV, There are 5 major UV services, Vudu, Target Ticket, CinemaNow, Flixster, and M-GO. They all offer redemption’s directly on their site except M-GO. All of those services support hundreds of devices. The only device you can’t watch your UV movies on is AppleTV. If you have an AppleTV, and don’t want to pay $60 + for a roku, get a $35 ChromeCast. It’s completely Apple’s fault for not adopting the industry standard for digital copy redemption. They want you to be locked into their system, and only be able to buy movies from them. One day, when more people use UV than iTunes, I think they will switch.

      • I honestly don’t think Apple will ever switch. If they open up their system to UV, then what is keeping people buying the movies through Apple? No, Apple won’t allow you to buy your movies elsewhere, it’s just not their way. Just like you can’t buy apps anywhere but through their store.

        Music is the only exception at the moment in that you can add your non-DRM music to iTunes.

        Ok, maybe I’m wrong… maybe eventually the movies will get to the point that they are like the music. I think Amazon would have to go UV for that to be the case.

        • Why should Apple switch when they were the one that made owning a digital copy legit? And what about Amazon (though you can never download a copy)? As someone who owns all three formats, I would love to have one solution for all formats, but if that means everyone converge to UV then I’d prefer to have status quo. Why? Because I rate UV the lowest. I have more problems playing UV and they are not going to do anything to improve it…they’ll have the monopoly in digital copy market since they own the very movies they stream.

          Imagine if all the movie theaters are owned by the same consortium as UV. All the theaters won’t be competing to get your business and the ticket prices won’t be competitive, not to mention that they won’t be constantly improving the theaters. This is what’s going to happen if Apple and Amazon are “forced” to join UV.

          • I forgot to mention that iTunes digital copy is IMHO the only true digital copy. Try to watch the “downloaded” copy from UV/Flixster when you don’t have Internet access (like when you’re flying). The ONLY movie you can actually watch are the iTunes movies.

            The only reason UV allow you to download is for a “workaround” to their crummy streaming technology. I have never had problems streaming movies from Amazon.

      • But do I do when I have vudu and have put in all these codes it it acted like I owned the movie yet won’t let me play it do to my device? All I have is android stuff and I really don’t feel like i should have to buy more or differentto get something they made sound so easy. Is there something I can download to be able to watch these?

      • Cinemanow no longer offer UV streaming unless you buy the movie from them just thought you should know which is why UV sucks, just one more way to pick pocket us to death after buying movies

    • I agree with you 100%. Ultraviolet sucks. It seems to me that the people who advertise it on the movies that we buy, are only looking to piss us off. I guess it is their sick way of getting a kick on the customers. Those consumers who spend a respectful amount of time trying to figure out the movie download process, and fail in all of the attempts. It may be a rewarding experience for Ultraviolet to waste the time of a society who now days perceives time as a luxury or commodity not easily available.

    • I own over 120 UV titles…not once have I ever had a single issue with a redemption code not working, bad customer service, poor movie quality, etc. In my opinion, UV is outstanding! As far as this article goes…owning Apple products is your main issue. Apple wants to make it as hard as possible for their customers to attain content from anybody besides Apple. You would never find this if you owned Samsung devices.

      • I agree. I have 700 movies and no problems. Only two movies i have dont work in the vudu app i use, but i did the disc to digital on flixster on those disc cause they werent available in vudu. So for me it has been great. Also for people to know, if you use the apps to view movies if you put a code in say “flixster” and then you go to the “vudu” app but dont see the movies you downloaded in “flixster” on “vudu” you need to go to your movies on “vudu” website and vice versa.. When you go to the website it links your movies. I do love itunes and i do have over 100 movies on it (only 24 movies that i dont own in vudu) i love how beautiful and well done apples video app is but the disc to digital was what ended up deciding the winner for me.

      • UV is such an obtuse format and stupid format. Fine. You don’t like apple (despite its ease of use, i get it) But why do there have to be so many Ultraviolet outlets. There is VUDU. There is FLixster. There is the UV site. And Target Ticket. Sony Ultraviolet. And I unfortunately have titles in each. And guess what, all my collections don’t match up. VUDU seems the most consistent. But I still have to bop around to see my stuff. Want watch Amazing Spider-Man better go to SonY UV. The Special Features for Winter Soldier then TargetTICKET.
        See this is why people like iTunes. ONE DAMN PLACE. SO could UV at least make sure all these disparate places are aggregated to one site. Or better yet just go back to iTunes. ugh

    • It sounds like in the end the theme that comes up is choice:
      1. Some people like the simplicity of Apple’s ecosystem and prefer it to Ultraviolet.
      2. Some people don’t find Ultraviolet all that hard and prefer NOT to be locked into Apple’s ecosystem.

      While I’m sure there could be a third audience, I think those are your major two audiences there. I would be nice if the studios could provide a third party: “ChooseYourDigitalCopy.com” that based on the movie, code, and region of the person redeeming it, would then trade that generic code for a specific code that could be used for UltraViolet, iTunes, or whatever third party they want redemption.

  2. Definitely not just you. The last movies I’d purchased with a digital download, even if it was Ultraviolet, I was all able to get an iTunes key. Not so Pacific Rim. I was REALLY frustrated with the fact that, when I did the download to my PC, the playback was choppy at best using the Flixter app. And the format was such that I couldn’t use any third party tools, like VLC, to watch it.

    Yes, after installing Flixter on my iPad and doing the download there it plays okay, and I’ll probably watch it more in Blu-Ray on my TV than on my PC, but I wanted a viable copy in that format and the whole Flixter and Ultraviolet mess doesn’t really allow that.

    I wish, as you said, you got to go to the site and get a choice of which code you wanted. Services do that for games, for example the Humble Bundle allows you to get a Steam key if you want one. Why not offer this for movies? Offer iTunes, Google Play, etc.

  3. I feel the same way about Ultraviolet, and we don’t even have the excuse of Apple TV. I just want all my movies in one place on the device. So we decided not to spend the money on movies that come with the digital download. Movies we truly love, we buy on disc and iTunes. And movies we know we’ll want to watch a few times get purchased solely on iTunes.

    • It is simple. 1) purchase blu-ray movie that comes with UV code. 2) goto vudu.com enter the code and bam you have your movie. It’s been that simple for me 120 plus times with zero issues. Please don’t take my reply to your comment as a jab…it’s not meant to be.

  4. As a happy user of the UltraViolet platform and a regular reader of Geekdad, I felt I should speak up for UltraViolet. I am not fond of products that lock me into a single ecosystem, my family does not own any Apple products, and I do not buy or rent individual digital movies. I use Samsung and HTC Android mobile phones, Nook and Surface RT tablets, LG Blu-Ray player, and Windows 8.1 PCs all to play any of my digital content. I can use any of the Flixter, Vudu (Wal-Mart), CinemaNow (Best Buy) apps to watch on my devices. I also love that I can use the disc-to-digital (Vudu and CinemaNow) option to convert many of my existing DVD purchases to digital copies that I can use with UltraViolet; for as little as $1 per disc. If we want to watch a movie, my wife or I either pick up a Blu-Ray on our next trip to Wal-Mart, Target or Best Buy, or if we can wait a couple of days I order it from Amazon and save a few bucks. That means that I always have the disc so we can watch it ecosystem free. When we want to watch a movie tonight? Well we have hundreds of discs, Netflix, Amazon Video, and cable. Can’t find the entertainment you want? Go to the book shelf, Hundreds of options there too. Still bored? Play a game…dozens of board games, card games, PC games. Done all that and still whining? I have some house work I need done. :-) (And if you are wondering, yes, I am the guy that still buys CDs too)

    • I agree with you completely on UV. I feel the same about iTunes as Brad Moon feels about Ultraviolet. I have a bunch of digital copies that only had iTunes versions and they are all stuck in iTunes. I don’t have single Apple TV or anyway to watch them on my TVs. I do on the other hand have wifi connected bluray players on all my TVs and they all have either a VUDU or Flixster app. I wish I could move all my iTunes digital copies to UV. UV is a much more open standard than iTunes in terms of supported hardware devices that connect to a TV.

    • I think you are entirely missing his point. You may not like Apple or its products and I get that you don’t want to be locked into their system, but there is something to be said for it. Bottom line is Apple makes it simple. I think other services would be well served to understand that. I just tried to get my digital copy of Pac Rim and yes its confusing. Nothing apple does requires more than 1 login and at most 2 clicks. Then you’re done.

      Just so we’re clear I’m a Graphic Designer, with 15 year experience on a computer. I understand the complexities of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign etc etc… What does this have to do with anything? I know my way around a computer and this Ultraviolet, Vudu, Flixster, etc etc… system is crap.

      Its nothing but hoops and logins and a far more complex set up than is should be. Just finding your movie is completely stupid. I have to login then go to redeem then I have to look for my movie in a list of movies then add the code? Apple = redeem -> Enter code -> Thanks here’s your movie. Done. Its maybe 2 minutes.

      I’m still trying to get my Pac Rim copy because its telling me I already redeemed it. really then where is it? Oh and Flixster live chat. No one’s home, no response, what so ever.

      • I really don’t know.. But is it really that simple if you’re not already an iTunes user (i.e. you don’t have a login)? You see, you’re already in their eco-system… Much like I’m already in Vudu’s. There’s not extra work for me to redeem a UV code on Vudu… Why? Because I already have a Vudu account like you already have an itunes account. And guess what? When I redeem that code on Vudu, I can also watch it on Flixster, and M-Go, and Target Ticket, and Blockbuster… shall I go on? If I redeem it on iTunes… I can watch it… on… well… iTunes. And without an iPhone, Ipad, or AppleTV, I’m stuck watching it on my laptop. Whereas with UV, I can watch on my Roku, my Kindle Fire, or my Android phone.

        Yeah.. Apple makes it SOOOOO easy… as long as you’re willing to be a loyal consumer of their devices and products.

        Several of us here seem to have no problems redeeming and using UV… and all of us are not Apple loyalists… Seems that’s the common denominator between those who like UV and those who don’t.

        • Totally with you here, Kenny. Once a UV account and a redeeming partner account is setup, it’s very easy. Ultraviolet is ubiquitous. iTunes digital copies are not, you can only watch them through iTunes on a computer or on an Apple device. They lock you into their system.

          iTunes digital copies cannot be streamed through a blu-ray player, a PS3, or a Roku, which is a huge deal breaker for me.

          I always opt for Ultraviolet copies because I can watch them through my Blu-ray player, android device, Playstation 3, and any other device that supports VUDU or CinemaNow.

          Whether I’m at my own house, or a friend’s, there’s about a 90% chance that I can watch my Ultraviolet movies. I would guess that drops to only about a 15-25% chance that I can watch my iTunes digital copies (on a TV) at another residence. With iTunes digital copies, the person must have an Apple device, otherwise, forget about it.

      • Confusing? I log into Vudu, type in the redemption code and get my movie. How hard is that? The picture quality is better than iTunes and it works on ALL of my devices (PS3, Roku, iPad, Android tablet and even some of my Blu-Ray players). Anyone in my family can go into any room with a TV and watch one of our 319 UV movies with zero problems. I can do the same from anywhere on any of our tablets and laptops. That is VASTLY better than something that only works on Apple unless all you have is Apple. There is also a growing network of sites that sell UV codes very, very cheaply. I’ve been about to purchase over 50 new release movies over the last year at an average of $5 each. Try doing that with iTunes (though I admit it probably won’t last).

        • Here is the issue I have with the service, and I don’t care about hoops. I do not mind having to create a new account, though it is a bit of a pain. My issue is similar to everyones, being forced into a new ecosystem. If this system works for some that’s fine, I personally use iTunes, and I’m sure creating an account there is a pain for other people much like this service is for me. Here is where I draw issue: this service is specifically targeted against iTunes users. While iTunes may be a pain for someone who doesn’t use it, it has one crucial feature that UV/Flixster has ignored. If I download a movie on iTunes and do not want to watch it there, I can simply drag and drop it from iTunes to my desk top and, voila, it’s a transportable MP4 file. Flixster however knows this will lead people to add it to their iTunes libraries which it is trying to prevent, thus it has specific encoding so the file only can be played through their system. That is a terrible mechanic, and needs to be fixed.

          • Wrong. The .MP4 from iTunes is DRM’d and can only be played through iTunes or other Apple devices/software. It’s copy protected, just like UV is. If you’re copying it to your Desktop, then when you play it, it’s still playing it via Apple software (i.e. iTunes or QuickTime).

            And Flixster is not even part of this equation, except that they are a UV partner.

            If Apple wants to make it easier for iTunes users — they should add native UV support. They choose not to.

        • I’m with the OP. The first time I tried to redeem a title, I followed the instructions on the redemption sheet (my first mistake) and went to the movie’s redemption page. I had to create a CinemaNow login I think, then I redeemed the code, then had to associate it to a Flixster account which I had to create. I now have CinemaNow, Flixter and Vudu accounts – none of the collections are in sync even though they are all Ultraviolet. Much of the artwork is different. Much of the genre classification is different. Then recently, I logged into uvvu.com and found that half my library is missing. There’s a friendly message that alerts me “This is your first visit since we redesigned the site. We know some of your titles are missing and we’re working on it, but trust us your stuff is all here.” (I’m paraphrasing obviously). It’s been over a week, still the same deal.

          The hand-offs between Ultraviolet and the retails are not clean and do not work well. Those of you with a single vudu.com, congratulations – it probably is fine for you. But for those of us who didn’t realize what we were getting into when wading into the digital copy “ecosystem”, it’s a confusing morass of multiple vendors/retailers, occasional redemption code snafus and an unreliable UV data platform. At one point I had 4 different versions of The Big Lebowski after redeeming it on Flixster. 3 had different artwork in uvvu.com, but Flixster had one copy that looked right. When I contacted support, I got an acknowledgement of the issue (after 3 days) and no promise or intent to fix it.

          Service is bad. Implementation is bad. It shouldn’t be this hard to simply redeem and access digital copies of movies I’ve already purchased.

          And should we even start on the morass of quasi-HD formats (not really) that comprise the digital copies you now have access to? Or that several titles are only SD even though you purchased a Blu-Ray? This system IS crap.

          • This has been my experience too. Each movie I try to redeem takes me to a different website and recommends different services to play it back with. I am totally confused about what has been redeemed where, and whether making a Flixster account will affect my SonyPictures account, and so on.
            I redeemed two movie codes last night, it claimed success but neither of them showed up in my UV movie collection. It’s a complete mess.
            The movies that previously worked then failed to indicate that they could be played through the browser UI. At that point I gave up.
            I have no special TV ‘Box’, just a web browser. How hard can it be? Unfortunately for me, impossibly complicated and infuriating!
            And it seems that the more movie studios that jump on the UV bandwagon, the worse it gets.

    • do you work for UV? books? how is any of that relevant here? its like you are insinuating that there is more to life and we should just use or watch something else and have a little patience.

      what a load of BS! here is the FACT. I cannot take my thousands of dvd’s and blu ray discs I purchased, and convert them to UV. they don’t take every title, they won’t convert based on studio.

      thanks for telling us we can stream though. and the local library? wish I had thought of that when I wanted to watch a specific obscure series from the late 90’s that I had on disc and wanted to just watch from one specific place. one database, no headaches. UV is a headache, a really big headache.

    • Very, very well stated my friend! You have the entertainment freedom mentioned in your comment because you don’t own anything with an Apple logo…and neither do I. My family will continue to have effortless entertainment options because we refuse to give Apple our money!

  5. Jay, I think you’ve missed the point completely. Trust me… I have books, games, tools, projects, etc… our household does not revolve around television. What we’re complaining about is a service that just doesn’t seem to work — add that to the fact that we PAID extra for the Digital Download service. I’ve just had TOO MANY negative experiences with Ultraviolet, and I consider myself a fairly technical guy. Most of the issues have been tech issues on Ultraviolet’s side, not mine… and for that I will say once again… I despise Ultraviolet right now.

    • James, I am sorry you felt I missed the point. I do not feel that I did. I began my comment stating that I liked UltraViolet. I explained where and why I use UltraViolet. I lastly explained my needs for a digital video solution. I followed the UltraViolet comments with an attempt at humor relating a past discussion that I had with my kids. It was not intended as an attack on the folks here, but as an anecdote that we can all relate to. (Note to self, make humor more clear in future posts…) I was also not trying to say that everyone should only consume video the way that I do. As the old saying goes, “To each his own”.

      My experience with UltraViolet has been “long” (nearly 2 years), successful, and rather painless. I have not had the issues that many of you state that you have, so I truly like the service that UltraViolet provides me; a way to watch my physical media digitally, without the feeling the need to “break the law” and rip my discs. (Though I regularly write my representatives about the evil that is the DMCA, but that is another story).

      UltraViolet meets my and my family’s digital video needs, but may not be the right solution for everyone. My primary reason to comment was because of all the previous negative comments. I wanted to make sure that the digital video solution that I use and like was given credit for what it does and how it meets a portion of the markets needs.

      • I have been a long time Ultraviolet user, I currently have around 200 movies up on my account. I do not use any Apple products so no iPhone or iPads. But I do possess multiple android tablets, including some Kindle Fires & a Web enabled TV that accesses both Vudu & mGO. Access to my ultraviolet content is available on all of my devices through one provider or another. And depending on the device, I may only be able to stream or Download the content, but in all cases, I have had zero issues with playback, barring spotty a wi-fi signal or another.

        I firmly back Jay’s comments! There are other ecosystems that do not revolve around Apple. So if you are finding that you are having an issue, you might want to turn your “hate” away from Ultraviolet and its providers and maybe look at Apple, who is maybe having an issue with not playing nice with the content or apps.

    • The service does work. I’m with Jay. If anything there is more flexibility. Apple’s arrogance caught up with them once, as did Sony’s with beta VCRs. UV works perfectly and allows five people to have access to a single account.

  6. I have had an Ultraviolet code that never worked. But what annoys me most is that I can’t play any Ultraviolet movies on my Roku box because I have a first-generation Roku player. I’m perfectly happy with the player, except that it doesn’t play the Ultraviolet movies, and I’m not ready to put out the money to buy a new box just for the few digital movies I have. At one point I was an early-adopter, now I’m just hanging on to outdated technology.

    • Valerie, I don’t quite get why that would be. I have a Roku box and all I need is Vudu to play Ultraviolet movies. Did you try this or Flixster?

  7. I have never used Ultraviolet, but the service itself seems fine to me. It does a decent job of offering people a digital version of a movie. It, like any other service, has pros and cons to it. The issue here is not Ultraviolet, it’s the appleTV. Apple wants you to spend all your money on them, and they do a great job of making all their products work together simply and easily. This is good for a lot of people, and everything is fine so long as you always buy all your music, movies, etc, from apple. An appleTV is a small, not terribly expensive device that is good at putting content from services onto your tv. It’s good at that, but they limit the services they support so that people have issues like this and say “You know what, it’s just easier to buy it on itunes.” This makes them money. I don’t see why it should be Ultraviolet’s job to go out of their way to support a system that purposefully keeps them out. It sounds like they’ve been MORE than accommodating in giving out itunes codes. I’m surprised they did that, as it costs them money, but I guess they wanted to make their customers happy.

    Now take the Roku. It does everything that the appleTV does (except for Airplay) for the same price. Not only does it do all of this, but it offers many more services as well, including ultraviolet. Basically it’s up to the consumer to decide what is more important: Do you want to have everything from the same company and know it will all work together beautifully but that you will be restricted in various ways, or do you want access to the most services possible?

    • Tom, I have an AppleTV and I don’t care whether Ultraviolet offers me a way to link the movie to my iTunes account or not. My problem is that Ultraviolet simply doesn’t work most of the time even with just accessing my digital movies… that, or I have to jump through a dozen hoops to get registered with a new service, link it to Ultraviolet, etc… just pure hassle.

      • I have used about a dozen UV codes from Blu Rays with no problem. There’s been no hoops. I just enter the code, it’s added to my locker and then shows up on the services that support UV.

      • It used to be that way. You used to have an account on Sony’s site, on Paramount’s site, on Flixster, on Vudu, on Ultraviolet, etc… now you need an Ultraviolet account to serve as your locker, and a Vudu account… that’s it. Vudu handles EVERY redemption that is UV, and even many that are not (Disney). In fact, for new users that sign up for a Vudu account, they can automatically create an Ultraviolet account at the same time with no hassle. And the studio sites stopped making you need an account to register. In fact, you don’t even need to go to their sites anymore. I NEVER go to their sites to register my UV.

        I never used Flixster, M-Go, Target Ticket or CinemaNow to register or playback my movies because they are ALL glitchy. Vudu had worked it all out and is fantastic. And it even offers a GREAT Disc 2 Digital at home service that ultimately only costs $1 per movie to upgrade.

  8. Yet another example of how the illegal (though not immoral or unethical) path of buying and ripping movies provides a better experience. No DRM. Any format and quality settings you want. Works with every device you own and always will. I understand the ripping process can still have headaches, but at least you end up with a superior product for your headaches instead of an intentionally inferior product.

    I’d happily sell my UltraViolet codes to people that want to use that broken system, but you’ll notice they all explicitly state that it is illegal to sell them. Convenient.

  9. If that’s the case then your options are limited. I make backups of all my movies myself and put them on a server. Couple that with a free media streaming tool like plex and I get all the functionality of something like Ultraviolet but without having to deal with anyone else. I don’t have to worry about them accidentally (or not) flipping the bit for my collection to “off” and losing everything. It’s a little more work, but I like the control it gives me. I can know that my media will be at a certain quality, access it from anywhere with an internet connection (useful if doing foreign travel a lot), and structure is all how I like. The downside is it’s more work on my part, and you have to have an always on computer to serve the stuff up. If you’d like I can point you to the tools I use.

  10. One of my BIGGEST gripes (along with those mentioned) is that the iTunes versions have chapter bookmarks, and allow you to scrub forward or backward. With the Flixter app, NOPE. You can’t just jump to a spot in the movie at all, you have to watch it. And heaven forbid if you are in the middle of a movie and have to turn it off, or the app crashes, you loose your place.

    I bought a “new in the box” version of the Directors cut of the Watchmen (with an ITUNES CODE). I triued to redeem it, but their site for itunes redemption for the movie was broken. After countless emails they sent me two flixter codes, one for the directors cut and one for the ultimate edition cut. I thanked them for this, but also asked that they gave me one for iTunes, as that is what I bought. 2 months later I finally got an iTunes cut.

    It was a hassle to say the least.

  11. I’ll speak as another defender of UV. I have never bought any movies through Apple. I never wanted to be tied to Apple’s eco-system. I don’t own an iPad, iPhone, or AppleTV so being stuck with a movie that could only play on my Windows-based PC never seemed like a good idea to me. I rarely bought digital movies… but if I did, I tended to get them through Amazon, because at least with Amazon’s ecosystem I could watch my movies/tv shows through my Roku or Kindle Fire.

    But when Roku added support for Vudu (which supports UV), I was very excited. I still don’t buy many digital movies, but I “digitized” dozens of my DVDs to UV digital copies and now have well over 100 movies in my UV locker. I can access my UV movies through my Roku (via Vudu, Target Ticket, and soon M-Go). I can also access them via my Kindle Fire and my Android-based phone through Flixster.

    I REALLY like ultraviolet. It’s very convenient for me and my family to have 100+ movies in my library accessible to me on the go — either by streaming them when we have internet access or downloading them when we don’t. It’s almost perfect. The only thing I don’t like that Disney is not yet on board and that the product is DRM’d (but so are both Apple and Amazon’s digital products). I really wish the studios would follow what the music business did and just get rid of DRM. But until then, I think UV is the best product for digital movies… and I really surprised it has so many detractors/haters.

    If anything, I think you guys should be mad at iTunes for not supporting UV and/or for AppleTV not support UV services.

  12. I’m a happy user of UltraViolet, though not entirely. This is focused mostly on MY gripes.

    I’m with VUDU, an okay provider in terms of being able to stream Ultraviolet movies. I get most of my UV movies through using VUDU’s Disc-To-Digital service which gives you a UV license. My biggest pain with UltraViolet, aside from the occasional streaming problem, is that those studios that have embraced it, haven’t all done so fully yet.

    For example Back to the Future I/II/III even though they come from a studio that provides Ultraviolet and on this title specifically, isn’t supported through Disc-To-Digital. I’d have to buy the movie digitally and then it would be added to my UV locker (and Universal is crazy if they think I am going to do that.)

    Fox supports Disc-To-Digital but I run into the odd title they don’t support.

    And then there’s my frustration with MGM/UA. A studio that supposedly supports UV (Skyfall was their first UV release.) But if you want any of the old Pink Panther movies, James Bond films (other than Skyfall), Silence of the Lambs, Clint Eastwood Westerns….. forget it. They’ll get around to it, but the question will be in 2013, 2014, 2017, 2020, 2025? I have a lot of MGM/UA catalog films.

    I have other minor gripes about versions (for example I bought the “Little Shop of Horrors: Directors Cut” but my UV copy is of the original cut.)

    Most of the studios now support UltraViolet, huge plus. Not having to dig through my discs but go through a menu, HUGE HUGE plus. For the movies I have in my UV locker already, I’m very pleased. When I can start enjoying 90% of my collection digitally, including being able to download it for a long plane trip, then I will be exceptionally pleased.

  13. I thought that a few years ago the courts determined that it is legal to rip DVDs that you own. At least, I’ve been working under the assumption that that’s the case. I use DVDFab to rip mine and then use Handbrake to create separate versions for mobile devices. That way I can use Plex and serve up the videos pretty much wherever I want. They have an iOS client, and android client, Roku, and even a Raspberry Pi versions that cover all of my devices.

  14. Thanks for the info Jay. I guess what I’m doing isn’t on the up and up but I can’t say I’m too worried about it. Plus the convenience factor is too great.

  15. As a non-Apple user (and enthusiastic UV user), I’ve been wondering how y’all are reacting to the dropping of iTunes digital copies: by just buying iTunes copies, or by putting up with a split ecosystem.

    Very interesting, thorough take.

    I find it interesting that it is brick-and-mortar retailers that are embracing UV (WalMart Vudu, BestBuy CinemaNow, Target), while digital retailers all still have walled gardens (Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft).

    For studios to continue to sell “pure” digital copies in walled gardens (and they all do), without allowing redemption of a pack-in digital copy in a garden of choice just seems confusing all around.

    If someone wants to lock themselves in to Apple (or Amazon, Google, Xbox, whatever), let them.

    • As someone who consciously and gladly walks in Apple’s walled garden, I was very happy with the scenery. Life was easy and carefree. But someone got jealous and wanted to mar my happy existence. I think it was The Hobbit. When I bought that movie, there was no iTunes redemption available. What had previously been a simple and carefree experience became convoluted and complex experience. (And being in Canada added extra complications. We are the neglected neighbours to the north. You might have heard of us!)
      So to answer your question: My reaction to the dropping of iTunes digital copy and replacing with UV as the only option is “Why did you take away something from me that I had no issues with, to replace it with something I find complicated and time consuming? Why can’t I have a choice to do things the way I am comfortable and familiar with? This is clearly not about making life easy for me as your customer. I feel you must have another agenda which is not concerned about making me, your customer, happy. Maybe I’ll think twice before spending my money with you in future?”

  16. I just received my copy of Pacific Rim from amazon. I never had any issue with digital copies until now. It’s a total let down that I can’t transfer the uv digital copy to my iTunes library. I also have an apple tv. I’m gonna have to rely on Handbrake to create my own copy. People who buy movies, who actually pay for this should get more respect from this distributors. They can call it UV or whatever, but at least give your customers a choice.

        • Alan, I’m not quite so sure of that. I made a post above suggesting maybe the studios set up a redemption site where people could get the code they want based on their region, but I would imagine (and yes, I am guessing, I do not know) the model goes something like this: We are going to wholesale this product for $x but offer an iTunes. $4 of that goes to Apple as a bulk discount on that title.

          I should add, I chose $4 as a somewhat arbitrary number.

          Now using UltraViolet, they can remain competitive on price. How? Well look at this statement (okay, from Wikipedia, so it’s suspect.):
          UltraViolet is deployed by the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem[2] an alliance of 85 companies that includes film studios, retailers, consumer electronics manufacturers, cable TV companies, ISPs, network hosting vendors, and other Internet systems and security vendors, with the notable exceptions of Disney, Google and Apple.

          BTW, notice those last three names. Disney, Google and Apple. Now if they all got on board, then maybe redemption of UV through iTunes could happen. I really doubt it ever would, and I personally won’t go digital if my only choice is Apple. (Or frankly, if I had only one choice…regardless of which company it was.)

          • I personally think that Apple doesn’t want you to be able to redeem a code at iTunes. They want you to buy it. That’s their model for everything else. When they do give you something free, it’s a crappy U2 album…

          • Ouch! Perhaps you would have preferred Katy Perry? :P
            Daryl that’s quite a statement! However, based on conjecture I’m afraid.
            The Facts: iTunes cards go on sale with significant discounts means that you can get almost any digital good for a discount, and that they give away apps and digital goods every Christmas for 12 days in a row. Plus they feature up and coming artists regularly by giving away free tracks to give them exposure, free live concerts from major artists in the iTunes Festival and also feature full access streaming previews to major albums to help you decide to buy.
            I know I sound like an Apple fan boy, but really I’m not.
            I just want to set the record straight by stating fact. Free material and discounts are common with Apple. (For example, I get 20% off Netflix by billing through iTunes on prepaid cards I bought on sale.)

            Even though there are some things about Apple that frustrate me, I will admit that as a software developer of mobile applications, I have gained general respect and admiration for the quality of their iDevices and their excellent post-sales customer service. They really do appreciate you as a customer for investing your dollar in their products.

  17. I have just started using UV via Vudu. I have not encountered many problems thus far. I can understand where the Apple comments may be coming from. Long ago (I’m talking 1989..) I decided to mainly avoid Apple because the systems were designed to do exactly what they were built for, and do it very well. But, for anything else you wanted to do you had convince Steve first, good luck with that.. In my line of work that does not work very well. So, I have grown up mostly struggling with Windows. But, I can understand why Apple appeals to many. It just works.

    The question I have been searching for an answer for is… Say I buy a new title and have it in my inventory. Five years down the road the retailer goes out of business, or changes “their policy” In five years I may have hundreds of titles that start falling outside of their “policy”. Seems like I would more or less be on the short end of the stick in that case. I understand the UV terms says forever on the license. But, that does not mean forever as far as the retailers/content provider – streaming/download rights may go.

    I still have my CDs too. And, they never expire, and I won’t ever need to purchase that music again. Seems there is still a need to buy the Blu-Ray disc if I do not want to ever loose access. I am thinking that the whole UV mechanism may be best suited as being a back up to the BD disc and as a mechanism to access the content via other devices as needed. To me that makes UV still worth while.

  18. I feel the same about iTunes as Brad Moon feels about Ultraviolet. I have a bunch of digital copies that only had iTunes versions and they are all stuck in iTunes. I don’t have single Apple TV or anyway to watch them on my TVs. I do on the other hand have wifi connected bluray players on all my TVs and they all have either a VUDU or Flixster app. I wish I could move all my iTunes digital copies to UV. UV is a much more open standard than iTunes in terms of supported hardware devices that connect to a TV.

  19. Look, your frustration is based on an adoption of an aging single source product. Relying on Apple is the problem with this whole thing. Ultraviolet means options. Flixster and vudu can be accessed anywhere. Smart tv’s, devices, any computer. Your frustration equates to a scenario in which you are owning a bunch of VHS and DVD just came to town. If I buy Apple TV and want source anything other than Apple related content I have to use my phone to display it. I want my phone for calls and texts. I have 22 Disney movies in I Tunes. They never get used anymore because the ease of use of Vudu/Flixster. Plus I have converted about 30 titles in disc to digital in Vudu, which is great to not have to deal with physical copies. I have 3 smart tv’s and none can display Apple content. Oh, I have an I 5 and a MacBook Pro as well. They would both need dongles to do what Vudu does without demanding the use of my device or the hassle that comes with it. Less restrictive, easier to download (uv can be downloaded to any mobile device anywhere without docking), and multiple options. Tell me this. If I tunes is better than why are all of the movie studios moving away from digital copy (including Disney)?

    • [i]Look, your frustration is based on an adoption of an aging single source product. Relying on Apple is the problem with this whole thing. [/i]

      THIS!

  20. Just to sum up, you don’t have to use flixster at all, There are 5 major UV services, Vudu, Target Ticket, CinemaNow, Flixster, and M-GO. They all offer redemption’s directly on their site except M-GO. All of those services support hundreds of devices. The only device you can’t watch your UV movies on is AppleTV. If you have an AppleTV, and don’t want to pay $60 + for a roku, get a $35 ChromeCast. It’s completely Apple’s fault for not adopting the industry standard for digital copy redemption. They want you to be locked into their system, and only be able to buy movies from them. One day, when more people use UV than iTunes, I think they will switch.

  21. I agree with the whole issue of being forced into UV. I had blu rays with digital copies in the past and decided that I’d use the codes via iTunes as opposed to Windows. I recently purchased the Batman begins blu ray triple pack online to get the digital copy to add to my collection only to find it came with UV and a warning on the packaging that it was not iTunes compatible.

    Maybe I should’ve visited a store to look at the product first, but I would’ve simply purchased it in iTunes had I known. I want to store my digital copies in iTunes and I tend to buy most things online so thoroughly analysing packaging is out of the question.

    As I decided to go down the Apple TV route a few weeks ago UV is just not for me.

    There will be fans of UV as well as those who want to use a single ecosystem. There should be some choice at the very least. I have now decided that all future film purchases will be via iTunes. Does this mean that the film companies profits will be less? Possibly. If they provided consumers with a choice then they’d get more revenue as others like me would no doubt still buy the physical disks.

    For the UV codes that I am stuck with I’ll probably give the codes away as I’d sooner put the blu ray on than fire up Flixster and then AirPlay to my Apple TV or buy a Google / Samsung device to stream from my Android phones.

  22. Read this and feel the same. The issues I have with Ultraviolet are that its locked into it. Last year I had to set up a login for UV, a login for Sony Pictures and a login for Flixster. The Flixster app was awful on Ipad by the way. I do have frustrations about itunes oo, but at least it downloads a copy that I can see a physical download for, it’s not locked in some folder that I don’t trust. I’m also not the biggest lover of cloud anyway, I get the perks, but I’d rather have my digital copies downloaded where I feel they can’t be stripped. Yes btw, I know technically we pay for a license that means itunes could pull them away too. But there are easier ways around apple’s stuff.

    I don’t object to downloads, I object to the limited control and the fact I had to sign up 3 times to be able to access the service, then it took forever to download something. I would much rather as Geek dad says, have the option to download in the format I want (which I have seen some companies do). This would be a far better solution that would keep everyone happy. Anyway, I’m off to bittorent the Bluray’s and rip the DVD’s I can’t get downloads of…. :P

    • Again, I don’t think the issue is UV, but Apple. I have an Ultraviolet account with over 100 movies in it. I can watch all those UV movies from my Roku. And not just from one app on my Roku, but several. I can watch them through the Vudu app, the M-Go app, the Target Ticket app, or the Blockbuster app. That’s right, my UV movies can be access on 1 device from 4 different sources.

      If I buy the movie on M-Go? Guess what? I can watch it on Vudu. If I buy it on Vudu, I can watch it from Target Ticket. If I buy a movie on iTunes I can watch it on… well.. .iTunes. If Apple gets out of the movie business… I’m probably screwed cause the DRM will probably no longer authenticate.

      The only portable devices I have are a Kindle Fire and my Android phone. I can watch my UV movies via the Flixster app on both. While it’s not perfect, it works. And Vudu does make an Android app (doesn’t work on my phone) and is supposed to work on an iPad as well.

      Depending on the app, you can download UV movies. On my Windows computer, I can download movies either through the Vudu software or the Flixster software (and possibly others as well). On my Kindle Fire, I can download movies through Flixster.

      The hate for UV seems odd seeing that it seems way more Flexible and less restrictive than the alternatives (including the iTunes store)…

      But then I’m in the Apple eco-verse. I don’t own an iPad, iPhone, Mac, or AppleTV. I have a Kindle Fire, and Android phone, a Roku, and a Windows PC.

  23. I am late into this game. But I signed up for Ultraviolet 3 weeks ago and its been perfect so far. I guess I skipped over the bugs that hampered it earlier. I also have no time for itunes. I took it off my computer because it restricted playback of Mp3’s to only apple devices. I now buy mp3’s direct from amazon and listen wherever I like. I certainly was not going to buy a movie on itunes to find the same situation, not one for restrictions. There was a comment saying when UV starts becoming the norm then apple will change. Can’t see that happening but I can see UV becoming the standard and itunes will suffer. Beta/VHS all over again.

  24. The problem isn’t Ultraviolet, it’s the myriad of digital versions that don’t support each other. If you go the ultraviolet route, as most movie producers would prefer you to do, you cannot link those movies to your Amazon or iTunes accounts.. and vice versa.

    Ultraviolet does offer far more options than iTunes or Amazon, and offers far more compatibility. It is supported on most blu-ray/consoles via Vudu or Cinema Now, as well as roku and other standalone media boxes. It allows for far more activated devices than iTunes or Amazon, it also allows you to make physical copy onto DVD, flash drive or SD card.

    The problem I have with it tho is the only way to access the movies online is through one of those compatible store fronts. Flixster, Vudu, Cinema Now are all basically ppv services that also allow you to access your Ultraviolet content. The problem I have with this is if I want my kids to have access to those movies I have to allow them access to accounts that hold my credit card info. PINs may protect you from your kids ordering the entire Disney catalog from a console, but often the online storefront accessed from a PC or Mac don’t offer the same protections. Giving up your username/password which kids tend to freely share with friends is then a major problem. Obviously I don’t do that, but you see the conundrum.

    • Then have them setup their own VUDU or whatever digital locker account and add their email to your UV account that just gives them rights to view the movies (you can have up to 4 or 5 people added to your UV account).

  25. I’m a little late to this party, but as a an ultraviolet nerd, I feel compelled to weigh in with my $.02.

    Ultraviolet is more than just another ecosystem. Apple, Amazon, Google Play, et. al are ecosystems in which the stuff you buy ends up tied to the hardware/services of the retailer from which you bought it.

    That’s NOT the way things are with Ultraviolet. Ultraviolet is more like a meta-ecosystem, in which many different retailers offer products that are compatible with other apps/services offered by *other retailers*. For example, I’ve redeemed some movies from Universal, some from Flixter, and many from VUDU. However, since ALL of those redemptions and purchases are within the UV meta ecosystem, I’m able to access them using a huge variety of services. One consequence of this is that you get more price competition. For example. Vudu runs lots of sales with hot movies available to be purchased in the near-blu-ray-quality HDX format. Good luck finding reasonable movie prices on itunes.

    But in addition to price competition, you also get increased functionality and interoperability among different services/devices. For example, I have a Nook tablet, and the Barnes & Noble nook store is a digital media ecosystem, a la iTunes/Google Play. However, since my Nook tablet is linked with my ultraviolet account, all of my movies automatically show up in my Nook library. And, for the majority of those movies, I can stream or download FOR FREE onto my Nook tablet full HD versions of my Ultraviolet movies. (did I mention the Nook HD+ has a microSD card slot? Wohoo!).

    Now, for what I assume are legal/licensing reasons, not every single one of my UV movies is downloadable/streamable through the nook store. (I would just add that the licensing and rights management of movie content is just insanely complicated. A zillion different unions are involved in the production of most movies, and negotiating the conditions under which the movie is sold digitally and who gets what $$$ is an incredibly complicated task). Accordingly, some of my movies are only accessible via the vudu app or flixster app. By my point still stands: UV gives you more choices, not less. There’s a hige amount of interoperability within the UV format.

    Furthermore, the fact that UV isn’t compatible with the iTunes store is just as much a consequences of Apple’s decisionmaking as it is the movie studios. Apple is notorious for rejecting industry standards (i.e. micro-usb), and I strongly suspect that Apple has zero interest in joining UV because it wants a maximum cut of the digital sales. I’m hoping that increasing adoption of Ultraviolet sooner or later forces Apple (and Amazon, and Google) to play ball.

  26. I have some iTunes movies, some ultraviolet, and some handbrake copies. I have a roku and an Apple TV.

    I don’t like that they’re forcing us any direction, just like many others on this post.

    My biggest complaint is the complexity of my system. I have to watch some movies in one app, some movies in another, etc.

    I try and keep my entertainment set up as easy as possible for my family’s sake and I’d like an app that contains all ultraviolet, apple, and handbrake movies. I’m assuming this doesn’t exist, but figured I’d ask what others’ solutions were.

    Also, are apple’s movies really tied down? At least with those you can actually touch the file, but I haven’t tried copying them to a USB and playing via roku USB app, something I’ll probably do over the holidays.

  27. Well, Christmas has arrived and Santa seems to like to supply his Blu-rays with a digital download – also in the irritatingly restrictive Ultraviolet. Your frustrations are matched by mine and many others. I hate piracy and would never support it but with the world now going digital it seems ridiculously short sighted of the studios to try and restrict how people can view the movies they paid good money for.

    The irony of this is that it will simply drive people to rip a copy of the movie for their home servers. People don’t want to install yet another app or be forced to create yet another account for a service they will use rarely.

    • How is UV more restrictive than iTunes? iTunes movies are tied to iTunes and Apple devices. With UV movies, my movies are available through several services and can be watched on multiple devices (my Computer, my Roku, my Kindle Fire, etc. )

      With iTunes, I can only watch movies through my PC through iTunes because I don’t own any Apple devices.

  28. Okay, must chip in: They are all to blame for the mess. They all do it to some extent. However, as a mac user I find it highly wrong and stupid that they don’t offer options. I’d say it’s biased against mac.

    Here is why:

    You can download to Itunes software and download it’s movies on both Mac and PC. You don’t have to stream.

    You can play movies ripped or public domain etc without ITunes on a mac because you can get freeware and other software for it.

    You cannot download the other services like Amazon to mac because they don’t offer the app or the ability to download the movie to that operating system. It’s stream or nothing. All of these services offer software for windows. So why is it Apple can offer ITunes to windows but not vice versa? I won’t believe its not possible. Until recently they even had a Safari for Windows, even though there hasn’t been an Internet Explorer for offered on the system since IE 5!

    Perhaps there is a converter: heaven knows there enough ways to import youtube vids to ITunes.

    But at least the ITunes software is available to download to both.

    Admittedly, I prefer discs: I still use DVDs (haven’t been able to afford blu ray yet.) I prefer the physical and if I want it that desperately I could rip a few (not my first choice. Takes too long and I don’t want to overload the hard drive anyway.) But I know its an option.

    So why is it that they don’t bother to offer the option for the mac, these non ITunes companies? I wouldn’t give a hoot if it was playing in ITunes, the DVD player or VLC or something else. I just would want it when no internet was available!

    They are very foolish not to offer all options, these movie companies. They should stay out of the software/app part of the battle, and that’s what this is. They’ve even studied it: make it available and people pay. Don’t make it available and they download via torrent, rip it or otherwise find a way and get it free or bootlegged. So why not just make it easy to pay? Their greed in this (fighting allowing ripping and trying to force one option) is most certainly losing money.

    • Amazon doesn’t support UV, so its irrelevant to the discussion. Vudu’s Vudu to Go app (to download movies) is available for Macs. CinemaNow also offers a Mac app that lets you download movies. Other UV services may also offer apps to download UV movies for Mac. I haven’t researched it,

      So… problem solved. And not anti-Mac.

  29. It is infuriating to have all these different standards. I use a Mac computer, iPhone, iPad, etc. but no AppleTV. I rent movies directly from my blu-Ray player through Vudu or Netflix, but recently began the painful process of converting a 500+ DVD and blu-ray library to digital. My main reason is constant foreign travel. I wanted to be able to access my movies on the road without taking a bunch of discs AND a portable drive.

    My first instinct was UV – redeem codes, use Vudu’s disc-to-digital service at $1 per movie, store in portable HD, seemed simple. Until I learned that 1) Only one in eight movies can be converted to digital using Vudu; 2) When you can convert, the resulting file is available for streaming thru Vudu (yay!) but can’t be downloaded to an external drive; 3) Likewise for UV.

    So UV may be ok for home use, good luck on the road. ITunes isn’t much better since I’d need to buy every DVD I already own all over again at $20 each on average. If I had 10k sitting around….

    My multi-step, God-give-me-patience solution was to buy an external blu-Ray drive, rip it, then convert the file (thank you very little Steve Jobs for refusing to embrace the format), move the file to the external drive, delete from Mac. I have a portable Seagate 1TB drive with built-in wifi so I can stream to multiple devices anywhere in the world. Recently took it on a family trip to Asia and had husband, daughter and myself watching different movies simultaneously on our iPads. Beautiful.

    It could be simpler, it could be faster, and I hope someday it will be. Just got a DVD for Christmas and have to budget an hour and a half today to get it into the Seagate….

    • 1) True, but the list is ever expanding. I’ve had movies that weren’t previously available become available later. For me, the ratio has been a bit better (about 1 in 3). But Disney currently doesn’t support UV.

      2) Not true. You can download UV movies. You just need to have a UV-compatible app on your device. So for example, I can download my UV movies to my Kindle Fire through the Flixster app. I can download them to my PC Laptop through the Vudu app, etc.

      The only alternative to what you’re doing is to rip every movie you own — which will be both time consuming and require lots of space… So there’s no perfect solution, yet, but I’ve found UV the most convenient of the choices.

      • Kenny, you cannot download UV movies to an external hard drive. UV files only play on authorized devices (you can authorize up to 5 devices), which does not work for my purposes of traveling with a movie library on the Seagate. It is true that you can download directly to the device, but if we’re talking about an iPad (my case), you really don’t want to load up several movies due to file size. My situation may be uncommon, but it upsets me that I paid for a movie and technically “own it” but cannot put it to my desired use without a considerable amount of hoop-jumping.

  30. Don’t know if you already found this, but Air Parrot can get you from the ultraviolet player on your Mac to the Apple TV.

    Air Parrot helped me hate Ultraviolet and Sony’s terrible software a little less.

  31. I tried UltraViolet about 2 years ago and by the time I was done with the entire convoluted process, I was fed up. I’m a fairly tech-saavy fella, but this process was just a mess. I’m glad for all of you that love it and get it to work the first time. fan-frickin’-tastic!

    I decided to try again tonight after receiving some pretty choice titles on Blu/DVD/Digital/UV for Christmas. I thought that after 2 years, surely they’ve got their sh** figured out. What I’ve ended up with, though, is really frustrating. Now I have an account at targetticket, flixster, UV & google play. i linked this to that and that to this and downloaded a copy here and put a copy there and noticed three options at one site, but a different 3 at another and then an overlap of a couple of sites here & there (you’ve all been here, haven’t you?) but when I go to the UltraViolet site, of the 3 that I registered, one appears 3 times, and one doesn’t show at all. To watch Wolverine, I have to head over to Google Play; to watch the other two, I need to hit Flixster or targetticket. IMHO, UV needs to just buck up and let you stream from their site — enough with the 3rd party (or is it 4th by this step) service to play my movies. And they’ve really left Apple devices out in the cold. Bummer.

  32. I agree with you 100%! I have no problem getting my movies through Vudu, Flixster, UltraViolet, etc. because I already have the accounts setup! As for the previous post, when I redeem my digital copy, never have I had to go through a list of movies to find my movie first! There is a reason they put the redemption slip in with your movie with a link that will take you directly to the movie that you are trying to download! The only Apple product that I currently have is a 13″ Macbook Pro, which I absolutely love, but I will not be dishing out money for an iPad, iPod, or especially no Apple TV! The iTunes movies that I do have ticks me off because the only way that I can watch them is on my Macbook Pro! I prefer to get my movies through the various apps that work with UV because I can watch them anywhere that I am! I have a Samsung Galaxy S4, a Nook Tablet, a Blu Ray player with Vudu app, and many more that allow me to watch my movies and not be constrained to just my Macbook Pro! I love my Macbook Pro, don’t get me wrong on that, but when it comes to my movies, iTunes is not the solution for me because it is extremely limited for me!

  33. The ball is really in Apples court if it wants to support UV or not. They could support it, they just need to pay the dues and develop the player for their hardware. I am sure UV isn’t the one preventing support on apple products. So all of the hate for UV not being on Apple products is being miss directed.

    It isn’t UltraViolets responsibility to make Apple support it.

    The thing allot of people aren’t aware of is that there is a cost associated with joining the UV group to be able to support it. For allot of small start ups it makes it a non starter. Someone metioned plex a bit ago and they are a great example. Someone asked for them to add support as it would be a great addition to the app and make local storage requirements much easier. They looked into it and the cost was so high it just wasn’t something in the realm of possiblity. I think it was in the relm of a few hundred thousand dollars. For a small company that can be prohibative, for apple it is just a drop in the bucket.

    It seems the only people that really hate UV are those that either 1. Can’t stand that there apple products don’t support it 2. Really still want the best content without limits from DRM and links accounts.

  34. I have read this complete thread and am amazed. I bought a blue ray movie with UV and I downloaded the UV movie through Universal after signing up with both Universal and UV as the instructions told me. Wouldn’t play on my brand new Dell laptop). Then I downloaded another UV movie through Paramount. Same process. Wouldn’t play on my PC. Would someone please tell me how I play the downloaded movies that are sitting in my video folder??? Windows media player doesn’t play them. What player can I download onto my PC to play these frickin’ movies??? Thanks.

    • Like iTunes (which many have pointed out), UV movies are copy protected. So, just like you can’t play an iTunes movie through Windows Media Player, neither can you play a UV movie with Windows Media Player. That’s a problem with DRM and I wish the studios would abandon it — just like the music industry finally did with music.

      With that said, generally speaking you need a downloaded copy of a UV movie through a UV application (and I think the the UV application you used to download it). How did you “download” them? Did you use Flixster? CinemaNow? Vudu? Then you will need to use one of those applications to play the movie on your PC.

      As far as I know, you can’t download an UV movie without using a UV application. And then you use that application to play it.

      I don’t usually download my UV movies. I stream them through services like Vudu, Target Ticket, M-Go, etc. If I download them on my Kindle, I use the Flixster app and then play the movie through the Flixster app. If I download to my laptop, I usually use the Vudu To Go app.

      • This is the issue though. If nothing else, UV needs a media player that is not an app. This is an issue that iTunes has slightly, you can’t play iTunes movies through third party software like VLC, and that bugs me, but at least they have quick time, a media player totally independent of iTunes, and if you don’t want to use iTunes you can put iTunes movies on your desk top and watch them there without ever opening iTunes. Additionally, Quicktime plays almost any other video, whether downloaded, ripped, filmed on a camera, etc. Quicktime is available for mac and PC, and is fairly smooth.

        iTunes also gives you the ability to add any unencrypted movie, downloaded, filmed etc., to your iTunes library, regardless if it were purchased on iTunes or not, something I have not been able to do with apps that store UV movies.

        If I am wanted to switch services by a company, I need to be presented with a service that will allow me to at least store all my movies in one place, and not force me to break them up between desk top and an app’s library.

        I have no doubt that this is an Apple issue as well as a UV issue, but Apple is simply more accommodating with other video file formats. I can’t watch any UV on a player like Quicktime or VLC, it must be through an app (as far as I know). If I’m wrong about this please tell me, because I would love to be able to watch these movies outside of such an app. Additionally, if there is an app that allows me to create a library of UV movies and unencoded movies (obviously iTunes movies wouldn’t be able to be incorporated) please tell me. I simply am being provided with a more inclusive experience from iTunes right now, and I see UV as a company that has stepped in and has been exclusive in an effort to gain market share without allowing their customers to choose their own preferred way of watching movies.

        In a perfect world these movies would download in an unencrypted file format and could be put wherever the user wanted, and right now this is far closer to what has been provided by Apple than by UV. Additionally, I would argue that I have not found a statement from Apple saying they would be unwilling to incorporate UV to Apple TV or iTunes, but rather have found several statements from UV stating that they have no desire to be affiliated with iTunes.

        Ultimately, if UV wants my business, they should allow me to put my entire movie library in one place, whether it be app, folder, or external hard drive. This service is not available, and so I see UV not as an empowering application, but rather a barrier. Perhaps this is simply because I am majorly an Apple user, but regardless of Mac or Microsoft or IOS or Android, iTunes still allows me to put all my downloaded movies (from iTunes or elsewhere) under one roof. If UV wants my business, they need to be more inclusive.

  35. Soooo many comments, so I didn’t read them, so I apologize if this has been stated ad nauseam…

    I love ultraviolet and I’m equally irritable when a movie is iTunes only. I think UV is a fantastic system, and I’m frustrated that Apple and Ultraviolet aren’t compatible with one another. UV is such a system that content providers and studios can easily jump on board and make their devices/movies compatible with the system. If Apple were to decide that the movies you buy through them were to be added to your UV catalog, then all the movies you’ve already purchased would be added (with the exception of the movies that are not in UV) and similarly if Disney were to finally say, “Hey let’s put our movies in UV!” then all of the Disney movies you’ve purchased on, say Vudu, would be added to your UV collection available to be watched on any UV device.

    It’s seriously a fantastic system. Oh, and your inclusion of mentioning that the UV titles are “DRM-laden” is unnecessary as your precious iTunes movies are also DRM-laden.

    Ultimately be angry at Apple and Disney for not jumping into the UV standard. It’s a great way to store and playback digital movies.

    Though, as your conclusion states, I also feel the studios that are currently UV exclusive really should offer iTunes and UV as an option like Universal does. Disney, who previously was iTunes exclusive, has finally as of June 2013 started offering their movies as Vudu (not UV), iTunes, Google Play or Amazon, which basically covers all of the major playback players. I’m happy with this for now, but would still prefer their movies enter my UV library. (I don’t use Amazon, but feel it would be fantastic if they jumped into UV as well since they often have great deals on digital purchases.)

    • And honestly, if Apple didn’t want to support UV with their movies, but allowed Vudu on the AppleTV most people would stop complaining. Yeah, they’d have to go to a different app to play the movie, but they wouldn’t have to change devices.

      Or if Apple allowed their movies to be played back on the Roku, the same would apply.

  36. I kinda scanned through this and wanted to chime in. First thing to note is that I don’t think there is a crackdown on UV vs iTunes digital downloads when you buy the Blu-Ray movie….it just depends on the studio. Like you, I was a bit upset that when I bought Pacific Rim, I didn’t have the digital HD movie that I could watch on my Apple TV…instead I had to watch it on the Flixster app on my my iPad 3. But, one good thing is that I can also watch the Pacific Rim on another iPad (Gen 1) which is connected to a separate iTunes account just using my same login.

    I have noticed though…that when I buy a Blu-Ray movie from Universal Studios…the code that they provide is good for BOTH a UV (Flixster) AND a iTunes copy. This is great because I have Fast & Furious 6 and Despicable Me 2 available to watch on a bunch of platforms: iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, PC (Flixster), or my PS3 (VUDU). One thing I’m enjoying about Flixster’s desktop software is the disc-to digital option. I recently put in my old Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story dvd and had the option to get the the standard definition digital copy for $2 or the HD copy for $5. I also got my Bourne Identity dvd, and my The Fast and the Furious dvd converted to HD digital too. I just stumbled on your blog trying to figure out if I can use Apple HDMI 30pin iPad adapter to watch the Flixster movies on an HDTV.

    Well I’m ok so far with UV…I’m just hoping all the other studios will eventually (and continually) offer both UV and iTunes copies with Blu-Ray purchases. One other thing…I just bought the HD version of Pacific Rim on iTunes for $9.99 the other day (at least better than 20 bucks)…just so I could watch it on my Apple TV connected display =D

  37. Ultraviolet is amazing and way better than iTunes. The only problem I am hearing from you is that you have a collection of lots of digital iTunes movies and now you don’t want to have to use a different service. Well that sucks, but that is how everything works. Its competition. Also don’t use crappy Flixster, link your ultraviolet account to Vudu. Also Ultraviolet allows you to share movies with up to 6 people. So you can have 6 different people all redeeming Ultraviolet movies under the same account and everyone is able to watch them, and you think iTunes is better. Psh.

  38. Get vudu! I used to only use the codes for iTunes copies and man am I kicking my self now for not redeeming those uvs. I love how I can start a movie on my phone or tablet and finish it from where I left off on my roku or xbox at home. If I want to I can dl any of my movies to watch on the plane or wherever I don’t have web access. I love UV now and from now on will try trading away the iTunes codes for other movies on UV. I just wish I hadn’t thrown away all those UV codes thinking iTunes was the way to go (and thinking I had to choose one or the other). Well you live and learn I guess. I will always love my physical copies but I’m definitely a fan of UV now as well.

  39. I’ve had a number of UV codes to redeem laying around and got another for Christmas, so after reading up some I decided to go with Vudu and redeem these suckers. The result – 2 out of 4 of the codes could not be redeemed on Vudu, one because the movie just wasn’t in their list, the other because the code just didn’t work. 50% failure rate = EPIC FAIL.

    Ultimately I went and signed up with Flixster and was able to redeem those other two codes. Flixster’s site is pretty crappy though. Going back to Vudu, those redemptions done on Flixster did now appear under my collection on Vudu, so I guess that’s good.

    But three new accounts later (Vudu, Flixster, and the UV backend one), I can now watch four movies from this online digital locker. This is not a glowing endorsement of this system, and a horrible first time user experience. Moreover, the four redemption coupons directed me to three different websites (one to Paramount’s site, one to Sony Pictures, and two to Flixster). There should be one place to go to create an account and redeem my digital copies.

    FYI, I don’t own any Apple products and I have never used iTunes, but if this is the alternative to that, it’s no wonder so many people are content to live in Apple’s walled-garden.

    • As someone who has redeemed about 20 codes, I can tell you that I think your experience is atypical. In fact, I can’t think of a single code I had that didn’t redeem — but I’m fairly certain most people do not have a 50% fail rate.

      With that said, I agree that UV is not perfect. It has problems.. and not having a single redemption site is certainly one of them. I should be able to redeem my code with UV to put it in my locker and then link my UV locker to the various providers. But the reason a lot of us are defending UV (especially over iTunes) is that it’s not just about redemption codes.

      But, pretty much.. now that my UV locker is already set up and I already have a Vudu account — 99.9% of the time, I can just put my redemption code in at Vudu and access my movie.

      For example, if I want to buy a movie on Vudu (and it’s a UV movie), that movie gets put in my UV locker and then I can watch it through other providers. So I might buy the movie on Vudu, but then watch it through my Flixster app on my Kindle Fire. Then, guess what, if Vudu goes out of business — my movies don’t stay with Vudu — they’re in my UV locker, so I can still access them through other providers. If Apple goes bankrupt tomorrow (I know, not likely, but still), I’m pretty sure you’d lose access to all your movies/tv shows eventually.

  40. OK, having over 1300 UV titles, I want to chime in. I have minimal experience with iTunes movies but it does work well. Problem is, only one person in my house has an “I” product and it’s an iPhone. I’ll admit that you do have to set up a “few” accounts for UV, but that’s only a one time deal. Ninety-nine percent of UV codes can be redeemed at Vudu, unless the card actually says to use Flixster. Flixster is by far the worst of the UV services but it does OK as far as redeeming codes. Vudu, my favorite, I can watch on my PC, Roku, any of the Android phones in my house, any Android tablet, my PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One even the Chromecast. With the Vudu to Go app, I can download the movies as well if I don’t want to stream. Say you don’t want to load all those movies on your tablet? Well, unlike iPads, I can use SD cards and expand my memory immensely :) Apple iTunes movies do work great with Apple products, but that’s where it stops. Having the Disc2Digital program with Vudu is great as well because you can take a lot of your physical collection with you anywhere. You can buy a Roku for $39 now and it’s even easier to use than an Apple TV.

  41. I love ultraviolet. I can download, delete and download again on both my android and iOS products. And the choice of streaming I have is ridiculous, do I want to use my droid phone, my roku, my ipad, ipad mini iPod touch, smart tv, xboxes, ps3, desktop, or laptop? Plus with walmarts disc to digital (there our several others but walmart gives you a 50% discount when adding 10 or more) i put a bunch of my older discs in my library at a buck a pop. And to be honest I have had nothing but hassles when dealing with iTunes customer service.

  42. It’s not illegal for you to rip a back up copy of your bluray or DVD. It’s actually encouraged. I have ripped all of mine onto my Plex server. It’s just a matter of personal use vs commercial. And it’s a better solution because you can control the integrity of the movie. And with digital downloads as convinent as they are, you don’t own them. They technically can vanish at the whim of the carrier. For instance some how my iTunes version of The Dark Knight which I had to buy seperatelly from the bluray vanished. I contacted iTunes and since it’s no longer available from their store I can’t find it in my purchased category. Plus they said they wouldn’t refund my money because all sales are final. Now this was a minor issue compared in the scheme of things because I lost a bunch of movies somehow after Mavericks came out. So now I’m just going to rip copies of my blurays and put them on Plex, add them to my iTunes library, and/or use the Flex which just lets you transfer movies over to your device through iTunes, but no degredation.

  43. I’ve tried ultraviolet for the first time today after I too, was forced to use it for a digital download of Gravity. It is absolutely terrible! First I have to sign up for two seperate services (Ultraviolet AND flixster). Once that is done and I’ve gone through the process of linking the two accounts, I can download the movie to my portable device. First I tried with the CinemaNow app, but have to be connected to the internet to even watch a movie that is physically ON my device (what good is a movie on a portable device if I have to be connected to the internet to watch the stupid thing, makes for a pretty useless inflight movie). With the whole internet fiasco on CinemaNow, I deleted that app and went to flixster. Now I have to download the movie through flixster (which incedently needs to be on, and open for the entire download, as the movie can not download in the background, say goodbye to multitasking while downloading an Ultraviolet movie). I must have had to restart the download upwards of 15 times because of various download errors and the app timing out. The worst part is, if I need to free up space on my ipad and delete the movie, in order to get it back again, I have to do the whole gong show over again and re-download it again. The other problem is that if the ultraviolet service fails, or their servers go down, the movie I purchased is no longer available to me as I have no physical copy on any of my computers.

    All in all an absolutely, terrible, poorly thought out and exectued service

    • How many time do we have to say USE VUDU. Only use Flixster as a last resort. Gravity will redeem through Vudu and the Vudu App is 1000x better than Cinemanow or Flixster…

  44. I am with you too.. This whole concept of ultraviolet , flixster , cinemanow and sony pictures is just horrible and the worst way to have a digital copy…

  45. You are right about UV and flixster but your last line lost it all. There are so many better options than Apple its not even funny. Anything Amazon works everywhere. There is a Amazon Prime app for every device. You can Chromecast your movie to your tv.

    Apple doesn’t “just work.” More like, “Just Worthless.”

  46. I had the same feelings as you until I got a Vudu account. They have the best deals for non-ultraviolet/digital copy. Its very easy to redeem all ultraviolet and covert non digital copies to your library. I have Chromecast, Plex and a Samsung SmartTV which ties all my media into one location.

    Its almost too easy.

  47. Pretty sure it comes from the fact that you are locked into Apples DRM-laden scheme. While I was not a fan of UV at first, after the initial learning period I find it (Vudu) way better than the Apple way, but lately the Apple way has left a bad taste in my mouth, with the clusterfuck that is iOS 7, and for some reason, trying to play videos through iTunes just freezes it.

  48. My ultraviolet experience leads me to believe it’s garbage. I’ll skip problems signing up to begin with. So last time (a few weeks ago) I was able to set up everything and view my movie. Not good quality picture but watchable.

    Tonight I signed on and got to my library. My one UV movie was listed. I clicked “watch”. This took me to the redemption screen where I was asked to enter my redemption code (the code I entered a few weeks ago, which it presumably remembers, as it already listed my movie in its library on the previous screen).

    I entered the code and pressed enter. I got a message that it’s validating my code and it gave me the idea I’d be waiting a very long time. So I tried it twice more from scratch. Same result: minutes of waiting for validation, no movie.

    It was after 9pm (call center shuts down pretty early) so I filled out a problem report on their help page and clicked the submit button. “You message cannot be sent” it replied. “Resubmit”. Then it helpfully erased the screen, along with my name, code, my message, the boxes I’d checked.

    So I may call in the morning. Or maybe I’ll just never buy another Sony movie again, and never buy anything relying on Ultraviolet again.

  49. For those of you on this page who all seem to be complete noobs, most ultraviolet codes can also be redeemed in iTunes. The major exception to that, would be Sony movies. So even though your movie might advertise as “Ultraviolet Digital Copy”, most of the time that same code will redeem right in iTunes.

    • My movie is Sony so I can’t switch to iTunes. Sony is losing a lot of money in technology and getting out of a lot of electronics businesses. I remember when they put rootware out for DRM on their media 5-10 years ago. This made their customers vulnerable to being hacked and caused a huge backlash. Too bad for the company that invented a lot of consumer electronics, but poor management and horrible karma will do that to you.

  50. I got the extended edition of The Hobbit last night and I already don’t like UV. Why? It’s not because of the redeem, that really was no harder than a digital copy on iTunes (once I had the account). Simply because when I thought I’ll plug the hdmi cable in to my TV and watch the movie on a larger screen while doing some work around the house I got a nice little error telling me that wasn’t allowed due to the copy protection. I know that won’t matter once I actually own a blu-ray player again (last one was off and still got fried in a huge lightning storm we had) but it’s still annoying that I “own” something and can’t do with it as I wish despite not breaking any copyright or other laws in doing so.

  51. I know I’m late to the party, but can I share my Flixster hate, too? The only reason I selected Flixster as my Ultraviolet digital copy provider is because I happened to see that I had a Flixster app available on my X-Box 360. I recently bought the Blu-Ray boxset of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End. It came with digital copy codes for all three movies. All three were added to my Flixster account and all three were available to watch through my X-Box 360 app. But today I go this for Shaun of the Dead… pic.twitter.com/n1BPPTXElO

    What the hell good is this service if they can’t provide it on the very apps they supposedly support?

  52. Also late to the party, but add me to the UV love fest. I think it kind of boils down to a lot of debates in the tech world, those of PC vs Mac. UV is like the PC, its more open, allows you to use it on all kinds of devices, but takes a little bit of learning up front. Mac … well of course iTunes is part of the Apple ecosystem, and if you like spending the premium for the Apple name everything is just dandy for you.

    The only Apple product I own is an older generation ipod touch I have in my car strictly for podcasts. Everything else are smart TV’s, Rokus, PS3, PS4, Xbox 1, Note 3, Galaxy Tab 3, etc. etc. All of those devices have a Vudu app, along with other UV apps like Flixter. NONE of those devices have an iTunes app, not a single one.

    Once you get UV setup, the redemption process as numerous others have pointed out is as easy as going to vudu.com –> redeem UV copy –> enter code. The movie is now tied to your vudu account and its in your UV locker so any other UV locker app can play it. Not to mention the disc to digital is the best thing since sliced bread. I converted a very large DVD and Blu-ray collection and have over 500 movies on my vudu account now.

    I have chapter stops, start, stop and resume on other devices, numerous filtering so I can sort my movies by genre, purchase time, alphabetical, tomatometer, and a few others. I’m sure iTunes has a lot of that same stuff, but again as a PC user my whole life, and someone that has just never bought into the Apple echo system (save for that one ipod touch I got in trade for a spare PSP I had) iTunes is just not user friendly for me.

    To each their own, but I love my vudu / UV collection.

  53. Honestly, just buy Blu-Ray, get a Blu-Ray burner drive for your desktop PC, and use the program Handbrake, a full-resolution (assuming you know how to use the program) version of the film, and it has preset ripping standards compatible with any device, including, and specifically, Apple TV.

  54. I also bought a copy of Pacific rim with the ultraviolet digital download and I tried to download it the day I bought it and I emailed their supposed help desk and they said if I sent them a picture of both of the dvds (I got the two disk pack), the cardboard shell it came in, the receipt and the plastic I sent it in they would maybe help me download it. And I didn’t have the plastic anymore. Last I checked when you paid for something you got what you paid for obviously uv thinks after you’ve paid you have to jump through hoops and then screw your customers over…

  55. I tried Ultraviolet, but every movie I download then stream always skips are get’s messed up and I have to restart it, not to mention I have an imac and iphone and if I had the itunes version I could watch it on any device I have. Instead half of my digital downloads are on a system I will never ever use, and I can’t just play it, like they suggest, I have to go to their website, log-in and then choose my movie, then have it glitch till I give up then I just don’t watch it. The only reason I like digital downloads is so I can take them with me on my iphone, which does not support ultraviolet viewing. There have been a few movies that have allowed either, that is what should be given to the consumer a choice! Now I have Amazing Spider-man, x-men first class, anchorman 2 among others I can’t watch because A, ultraviolet always messes up while I’m watching and B, because I can’t put these movies I BOUGHT, onto one of my devices, because the studio decided I shouldn’t have a choice.

  56. Another bad experience with UV. Purchased a BR copy of Monty Python’s Holy Grail. You know, from like 1974. I don’t have a BR player and took the chance that UV would work. Created accounts, entered the code and it showed up. Later that day when I tried to play it – the icon was there in the library- it said that the content had been removed. Why? No explanation. Maybe it works for you. It doesn’t for everyone.

    Bottom line is that a digital copy is not yours. Your 120 disk library or whatever is not yours and could go away at their whim. If you want to ditch UV and the rest, buy the DVDs, look into a Plex server and do it yourself.

    Of course the studios don’t want you to do that, though I’m certain their unrelenting greed will drive others to do same.

  57. I prefer UV over iTunes any day. The fact that you can’t watch UV movies with AppleTV is Apple’s fault, not UV’s. UV was created so that you could watch your digital content regardless of your hardware or operating system.

    Playback issues with UV movies usually stem from internet connection or network (modem/router) problems, not inherent flaws in the UV format.

    One other thing about UV that most people don’t know: Owning the UV license to a movie entitles you to a hard copy of that movie. This copy is usually provided when you purchase a disc/code combo, but if you buy a UV movie as an online digital purchase, you can request that you be provided with a physical copy. Some studios make this request easier to submit than others but it is still a major upside that I don’t think they present as well as they should. I don’t see iTunes mailing out any discs, do you?

  58. Flixster now works with Airplay to AppleTV.
    I may start collecting Sony and Warner movies that way.
    Annoying to have 2 libraries though.

    iOS8/Yosemite will allow sharing of 6 iTunes accounts, so that solves the multi-account libraries.

  59. I’m with the OP. The first time I tried to redeem a title, I followed the instructions on the redemption sheet (my first mistake) and went to the movie’s redemption page. I had to create a CinemaNow login I think, then I redeemed the code, then had to associate it to a Flixster account which I had to create. I now have CinemaNow, Flixter and Vudu accounts – none of the collections are in sync even though they are all Ultraviolet. Much of the artwork is different. Much of the genre classification is different. Then recently, I logged into uvvu.com and found that half my library is missing. There’s a friendly message that alerts me “This is your first visit since we redesigned the site. We know some of your titles are missing and we’re working on it, but trust us your stuff is all here.” (I’m paraphrasing obviously). It’s been over a week, still the same deal.

    The hand-offs between Ultraviolet and the retails are not clean and do not work well. Those of you with a single vudu.com, congratulations – it probably is fine for you. But for those of us who didn’t realize what we were getting into when wading into the digital copy “ecosystem”, it’s a confusing morass of multiple vendors/retailers, occasional redemption code snafus and an unreliable UV data platform. At one point I had 4 different versions of The Big Lebowski after redeeming it on Flixster. 3 had different artwork in uvvu.com, but Flixster had one copy that looked right. When I contacted support, I got an acknowledgement of the issue (after 3 days) and no promise or intent to fix it.

    Service is bad. Implementation is bad. It shouldn’t be this hard to simply redeem and access digital copies of movies I’ve already purchased.

    And should we even start on the morass of quasi-HD formats (not really) that comprise the digital copies you now have access to? Or that several titles are only SD even though you purchased a Blu-Ray? This system IS crap.

  60. Hmmm, my foray into UV again ended in disaster.
    Flixster does not play ROBOCOP, nor HD for that matter. Even the SD file looks horrible via Airplay.
    VUDU only works on Mac, and is an oversized file which stutters.
    No thank you.

  61. As a longtime lover supporter of all things digital my expert opinion is that UV is the best option for everybody unless you like ripping your discs or downloading torrents. ITunes is restrictive to Apple only and computers which alienates a lot of people and devices. I’ve recently begun ripping my collection thanks to PLEX which is literally one the best ways to enjoy movies via streaming I have ever come across. It is more time consuming that both ITunes & UV initially because it’s like building your own version of Vudu or Netflix from the ground up. The copious amount of options and almost universal compatibility make all the initial setups and time spent ripping your discs almost enjoyable. Once you are familiar with PLEX the ease of use and ability to share libraries will impress and compel. I rank these digital services as follows:

    1. NETFLIX – The buffet of streaming services that just keeps getting better and better.

    2: VUDU – Second to none in the UV world, 99.9% of all released films and TV shows are available here and are redeemable without headaches. http://www.vudu.com

    3. PLEX – This media server app for just about every platform on earth allows you to stream your ripped or downloaded content anywhere and everywhere. You can literally share the content with anybody you wish. It’s not just for movies and TV shows, but also home movies, pictures, music, audiobooks etc. Also, there are tons of channels available and constantly being developed that make this media server similar to Roku or Amazon FireTV cosmetically. Not to mention the fact that PLEX is also fully supported on the above mentioned devices and streams content flawlessly. I would recommend a cloud storage service to sync your media so that you do not need to have your PC’s constantly running to access all your content. I currently use Bitcasa as my storage server and it’s brilliant. The fact that a PC has to be running in-order for the content to be available is not really a negative if your normally have your PC running most of the time. It can be a bit taxing on your computer if you are doing a lot of multitasking, but if you have a good computer with powerful processors you shouldn’t have many issues. http://www.plex.tv

    4. AMAZON INSTANT VIDEO – This is a great service because Amazon is not going anywhere and you know you will always (well most of the time) have access to your stuff. I only had one negative experience with Amazon back in 2007 when I purchased the TV Show Journeyman from them and then Amazon lost the digital rights to the show because NBC discontinued it and I could no longer access it. I don’t fault Amazon though as they were sympathetic and did give me a digital credit for my loss. They are a similar ecosystem to ITUNES but in my opinion are more reliable and compatible with browsers and devices. I’ve yet to find a device that didn’t give me some way to access my Amazon instant video content.

    5. ITUNES – Truly a love hate relationship here, I’ve purchased a lot of content from them over the years and I can honestly say that their lack of platform compatibility with anything outside of the Apple ecosystem puts them at a disadvantage to just about every other service offering similar content. I’ve owned Ipod’s before, but never an Ipad or AppleTV. I’ve had an Iphone before but wouldn’t use a phone to watch a movie ever. So that kind of limits me to using the Itunes & Quicktime software on my PC and with so many other better more compatible options available unless you have a massive library of content I’d recommend switching over to any of the above options.

  62. So what it seems to come down to is this: People don’t like Ultraviolet (or iTunes) because it doesn’t really give you a choice. It locks you somehow into an ecosystem. It’s just that the Ultraviolet ecosystem is bigger and more cumbersome (if you are an Apple user.)

  63. To each his own, I am not a fan of UV, I am entrenched in Apple gear and have a huge iTunes library. I am not here to promote one over the other. I simply want to find movies that work on the format that I choose for myself. If that isn’t what you do, that’s ok too. Keep doing what you are doing, I won’t try to change your mind.

    What is confusing is that somehow a few years back when I first signed up for Vudu/UV/Flixster and redeemed a code there, it would also show up in my iTunes library. That stopped a while back, but it did happen, I did not have duplicate codes for each service, but I have copies of several movies in both libraries.

    Either way, I think we as the consumer should have a choice as to which format we want to use and if that means not buying Blu-Rays from a particular retailer because they don’t sell the digital version I want, then fine. The problem that I find is that most of the big retailers around my area north of Dallas where we regularly shop stopped selling anything that has iTunes codes.

    Ok great, so where do I go to my hands on a physical copy of a movie that does have iTunes codes? My wife works for the Disney Store and all the movies she gets from there have iTunes codes, but I cannot find any place else that has anything other than discs with UV codes anymore and I would like to watch movies from other studios as well.

    Anyone have any experience with places that do sell them with iTunes codes? I would rather let my money do the talking and buy from them.

    • It’s not the retailers that aren’t offering iTunes, it’s the manufacturers/studios that are deciding Uv, iTunes, or both like Disney…

  64. Here is the problem with UV. This is not an iTunes thing, or an Apple-being-all-controlling thing. The studios are not providing a file with which the end user can do with as they please. This is not a digital copy. It’s access to your movie via a closed system. A few years ago the digital copy keys used to give you an option of how you wanted your file delivered. I always opted for an iTunes compatible file.

    As it stands now I am ripping the DVD that came with my LEGO Movie and will import the MPEG4 file in to my library. If there is a movie I want both on disc and digitally I will purchase a bluray/DVD combo and will rip the DVD copy. Simple as that.

  65. It is not illegal to rip a movie that you own and not sell copies. It’s when you sell the copies that it becomes illegal. Use MakeMKV to rip the blu ray then compress it to a manageable <10GB using handbrakes constant quality function set from 18-20. This is a million times better than UltraGarbage and you can use Plex or iTunes to stream your movies depending on if you use handbrake to convert to mp4 while compressing or not. UltraViolet is just another way for these companies to make money off of people like you.

  66. As far as the Ultraviolet folks are concerned, I don’t exist. This is because I live in the Isle of Man.

    Ultraviolet does not allow downloads here, but they are still happy to sell DVDs in all the shops plastered in Ultraviolet marketing. Great.

    iTunes is overpriced (selling stuff you normally find for £3 in the bargain bin for full price etc), and personally I think their HD quality is subpar… but at least it works.

    Mind you, Google Play forgot we existed for quite a while too, resulting in it being impossible to download paid Android apps on the Play store.

    Ultraviolet would do well to wake up and stop treating their potential customers as second class citizens.

  67. I was totally in your position about a year ago had Apple TVs all around the house and was using codes on my discs in iTunes, but it seemed to be getting rarer to get an iTunes option so I just had to adapt and try out uv. Which is no easy option when you live in the uk and we don’t get vudu and so on. Anyway been using it for a year now and I love it. It took me a while as I had to make an American iTunes account to get the vudu app and pay for an unblock to allow me to access it on my ps3, but I’ve had no problems at all I redeem my codes through vudu unless it doesn’t have that promotion but all I do is redeem it through sony pictures or cinemanow. The quality in vudu is amazing with ultra hd. And as for someone saying you can’t watch offline I do it all the time! The vudu iPad app lets you download your movies and the mac app does. Yes I wish I could just use my Apple TV but I have to be realistic that is never going to happen so if I was you I would just bite the bullet and get on with it because I can’t see it changing anytime soon uv is fast becoming the only way to redeem a digital movie.

    • I also forgot to mention vudu does a disc to digital service that I have used many times order more than 10 and they are only $1 each for the ultra hd option I think that is a bargain as most if my DVDs aren’t hd. I have a friend in America that offers a disc to digital service he has hundreds of blu ray films he will put into vudu for me and charges $0.75 for every film he puts in. So all in all it’s $1.75 per film. After charges it works out at £1 per film. I think that is really cheap I’m converting all my DVDs to uv and selling my DVDs that’s how much I like uv.

  68. I’ve never had a single problem with watching ripped or purchased movies on my Apple TV or iPad but this week, we decided to take all these purple Blu-ray inserts and set up an Ultraviolet library.

    Half of them didn’t work because we’re in Canada (watch anywhere!!!) and the other half were maddeningly tedious to set up through Flixster and multiple accounts.

    Tonight, I logged to uvvu.com tonight and it says there are 0 items in My Library. I’ve sent an email but am beyond frustrated at how much time I’ve spent on this. An iTunes digital copy takes two clicks and a few minutes. Needless to say, I am DONE with Ultraviolet.

  69. Agreed the multiple format thing is a pain in the ass! But for me, the worst part about UV is the fact that it just doesn’t work! I can add UV movies to my UV account, but I can’t stream them to watch them – it either doesn’t work, or if it does it stops and starts, or the audio gets out of sync. It semi-works if you spend the time downloading the whole movie to the device, but that’s less than ideal! But you still get playback problems, and it doesn’t remember where you are up to if you stop the movie. In short UV is a total pain in the ass! I really don’t understand why they are driving a competing format, when it offers no advantages, certainly doesn’t outperform Apple’s format, and is seen as a F-U to the customer! I’d much rather have an ITunes code any day. I’ve actively gone out of my way to avoid purchasing UV titles now – it’s not like they won’t do another rerelease down the track anyway, with more features etc.

  70. I never really did much with the digital copy and thought UV was just a fancy name for digital copy. I have a 2 year old, and we have finally started traveling with her, so I bought a 1st generation ipad for her with a lot of memory so I could load it up with movies. iTunes no problem and the first 4 movies I purchase had an iTunes code, then I ordered the Lego movie and dispicable me 2 with an UltraViolet copy, or should I call it UltraViolent copy. After jumping through all the hoops loading programs, signing up, activating codes, I attempted to download it onto my daughter’s old ipad…that is where the wheels fell off and I lost my sh*t. I still have found no way to make it work, and have become so enraged, I want to throttle these people for making these children’s movies so difficult to manage! I will never bother with another UV copy again! And they have made one really pissed off mom!

  71. I’ve read many of these comments and my issue is with my downloaded movies on Flixster. All my UV movies are there, but all the ones I have downloaded to my computer to view off line no longer work. I’ve spent several hours trying to resolve the issue with no luck. Watching my movies on-line isn’t an option. I have to rely on cellular data and streaming eats that up.

    I travel a lot for work and as anyone knows, trying to download movie files eats up data. I purposely buy movies that come with digital copies so I can watch them anytime. Hard to do with UV and little to no wifi service, when your downloaded copies fail to work.

    I like iTunes for this reason, your digital copies are downloads, you can view them with no internet connection.

    For those that feel like there is no way to play iTunes movies on their TV without an apple TV are wrong. If you use a newer laptop it should have HDMI, enough said. If you have a desktop computer, a little harder, but there are still ways to do it.

    I don’t think that there is one that is better than the other. It depends on the user! I feel both sides could come together to make the digital movie market more enjoyable. Isn’t that why we buy movies in the first place?

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