But both innovation and competition come at a cost, and that cost is that consumers have to face stupid, poorly thought out technologies.
UltraViolet is one of those.
Aside from being the title of a 2006 film that is easily the capstone of Mila Jovovich’s extraordinary career of appearing in terrible films, I was
almost entirely unaware that it was also the name of a cloud-based content licensing system that seeks to rival iTunes.
Unaware, that is, until I decided to check Amazon to see if the DVD release of The Hobbit was going to include a digital copy. Expecting an iTunes copy, I was puzzled to see UltraViolet listed instead.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s intended to allow users to stream purchased content across multiple platforms and devices, requiring
its own player on computers and its own app on mobile devices.
Except that according to a Google search, it doesn’t work very well. Users report a litany of horrors, from compatibility issues, crummy video and
sound quality, and worst of all, poor support from UltraViolet’s helpdesk.
Nobody seems to have these problems with iTunes.
And that’s the other thing. Beyond the poor reception from users (the Facebook group “UltraViolet Sucks” has some pretty salty comments from
disgruntled consumers) and the reports of technical problems, the format has two major problems: Apple, and Disney.
Neither is on board with supporting UltraViolet and at this point it looks like neither ever will.
That means that it’s already on life support now, and its doom is only a matter of time.
Here’s hoping it’s not too long.
*Legal Disclaimer: My attorney advises me to tell you that the title of this blog post is in German. It reads “The Ultraviolet, The!”