No more Flixter

I have never been a fan of the Ultraviolet process for the digital copies of films.

I blogged in 2013 about my dissatisfaction with the Ultraviolet process for getting hold of the digital copies of the films I had bought.

You didn’t even use Ultraviolet to watch the films, you needed to use a different service, in the UK that meant using Flixter.

I never liked the Flixter app for watching films, it crashed way too often. It never remembered where you got into a film, so you had to either start watching it again, or try and fast forward to where you had left off. In theory you could download and watch the film offline, but I found that even then the app would try and authenticate online.

In January 2018 I blogged about how I was expecting to use Ultraviolet to access the digital copy, but was pleasantly surprised to find that I got an iTunes digital copy.

I got e-mails in early 2019 informing me that the Ultraviloet service was going to shut down in July 2019. I didn’t think that would be too much on an issue as it was indicated that I would still be able to access my movie collection through Flixter regardless of the demise of Ultraviolet.

Now it would appear that with the demise of Ultraviolet that Flixter has also decided to shut up shop.

In theory I won’t lose my digital films as they will be transferred to Google Play.

I am slightly disappointed I didn’t have any choice in which service they will be transferred to, as I usually either use iTunes or Amazon Video. I have a few films on Google Play, but I usually don’t use it. Looks like I will be using it more now.

Well that’s a surprise!

War for the Planet of the Apes

Back in 2010 or thereabouts when buying movies, I would generally go for the what the trade called triple play movies, these sets contain a copy of the film on Blu-Ray, a copy on DVD and a digital copy for your mobile device.

With most of the films I bought the digital copy was in an iTunes format. This was fine with me as I already used the iTunes ecosystem for music and video. Since December 2011, I noticed that the trend was to use Ultraviolet DRM.

I blogged about the challenges I had with this back in 2013. Eventually I did manage to get the login processes sorted out with Ultraviolet and Flixter. Over the years I have built up a collection of films on Flixter. However compared to the user experience in iTunes it was never a smooth journey.

I had major challenges with my version of Edge of Tomorrow, resulting in being unable to play the downloaded film on my iPad. This was sorted out after numerous e-mails to Flixter support.

Another annoyance for me was that the Flixter app wouldn’t remember where I had got to in a film, if I had not finished watching. I would then need to work out where I was.

I also found it frustrating that I couldn’t play my Flixter films through an HDMI cable (via an adapter) to my TV or use Airplay. I suppose they thought if you wanted to watch on the big screen you would use the Blu-Ray disc.

The end result was that, I generally stopped specifically buying versions with a digital copy so would buy the Blu-Ray only. Also many studios appeared to stop selling the triple play format. I often found it easier to buy films from iTunes direct or more recently using Amazon Video after a good experience with Amazon Prime Video.

For Christmas this year I got War for the Planet of the Apes, which came with a Blu-Ray and a Digital Copy. It reminded me I had Dawn of the Planet of the Apes also on Blu-Ray with a digital copy. Now this had been a Christmas present in 2014 and hadn’t worked on my Blu-Ray player.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes [Blu-ray + UV Copy]

I had gone out and bought the DVD version of the film and had stored the Blu-Ray version of the film aiming to sell it at some point. However feeling guilty that the Blu-Ray disc may be “corrupted” I had never actually done this, I didn’t want to sell a dud disc to anyone, so was wanting to check that it wasn’t a dud disc by using someone else’s Blu-Ray player. This I never got round to. This Christmas though, the family present was the XBox One S which can play Blu-Ray discs. Receiving the new Planet of the Apes film reminded me that I had Dawn of the Planet of the Apes so tried it out and it worked. I then decided now I had both discs out to redeem the digital codes.

So I started Flixter on the iPad, followed the instructions, which meant searching for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in the Flixter library and entering the redemption code (a much simpler process than it was back in 2013). I then checked the code for War for the Planet of the Apes. I followed the same instructions I had done for Dawn, but I couldn’t find War for the Planet of the Apes. Okay lets read the instructions… it said to go foxredeem.com and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could download War for the Planet of the Apes in an iTunes format (which I did).

Now I am not sure when 20th Century Fox stopped using Ultraviolet, but though still DRM, the iTunes format has worked much better for me than Ultraviolet.

So what about War for the Planet of the Apes, well I’ve not watched it yet…

An Open Letter

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes [Blu-ray + UV Copy]

Dear 20th Century Fox, Amazon and LG

I am writing an open letter to all three companies as I have no real idea who is responsible or who is to blame and I am unsure of how this can be resolved.

For Christmas I received The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes on Blu-Ray, this had been purchased from Amazon.

I unwrapped the Blu-Ray and put it into my LG BD360-P Blu-Ray player. However it did not play, I got an error message saying “Check Disk”. I did check the disk, and there did not appear to be a physical issue with the disk.

I checked the firmware on my LG Blu-Ray player and it was up to date. I also turned everything off and back on. Still no joy, I was still getting the “Check Disk” error.

I did a Google search and it was apparent that I wasn’t alone, other people were having the same issue with the same Blu-Ray disk and the same LG Blu-Ray player. According the online information the problem is with the encryption used by 20th Century Fox on The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Blu-Ray disk, this means that my Blu-Ray player can’t read the disk.

As a result I am now unsure and confused about what I can do as a consumer.

As far as Amazon are concerned there is no fault with the disk and probably wouldn’t accept a return this long after purchase and the wrapping has been removed.

20th Century Fox won’t replace the disk with one that works, as far as they concerned the disk isn’t faulty and they would only replace it with the same disk with the same encryption issues. They will probably blame the Blu-Ray player manufacturer.

As for LG, they are no longer updating the firmware for what is now quite an old Blu-Ray player and would probably point me back to the company that released the disk.

So the end result is I have no idea where to go and I have a Blu-Ray of a film I am unable to watch.

Kind Regards

James Clay

So do you have any idea? Maybe I should have bought it on iTunes.

Ultravioleting

In recent years I have been buying, what the trade call, triple play movies, these sets contain a copy of the film on Blu-Ray, a copy on DVD and a digital copy for your mobile device. Though more expensive than just buying the Blu-Ray (or just the DVD) what I did like about it was I could watch the film on my TV and then if I wanted to watch it again I could watch it on my laptop or on my iPad.

With most of the films I bought the digital copy was in an iTunes format. This was fine with me as I already used the iTunes ecosystem for music and video.

More recently, well since December 2011, I have noticed is that the trend now is to use Ultraviolet.

UltraViolet (UV) is a digital rights authentication and cloud-based licensing system that allows users of digital home entertainment content to stream and download purchased content to multiple platforms and devices. UltraViolet adheres to a “buy once, play anywhere” approach that allows users to store digital proof-of-purchases under one account to enable playback of content that is platform- and point-of-sale-agnostic.

In theory what you do (in the UK) is sign up to Flixster and then you can redeem your Ultraviolet code and watch or download your movie.

I say “in theory” as I haven’t actually managed to do this process. The first time I signed up, I think I some how managed to sign myself up as an American. This would have been pointless as I wouldn’t have been able to access my “UK only” films. There was also no way to change your country. this is obviously to stop regional piracy. I do think that these “piracy” measures are short-sighted, as what they are actually doing is stopping me, an actual customer who has paid for the film, from watching the film; whilst the actual pirates wouldn’t even worry about such things, probably using a copy from the film studio or similar…

I have to say that is one thing that does annoy me after spending my hard earned cash on a DVD or Blu-Ray the first thing I see (and usually you can’t fast forward or skip it) is a clip telling me not to pirate films… Hello? I bought the film, I didn’t pirate it, I bought it, why tell me something I already know and do. If I pirated a film, I wouldn’t see that clip would I, so why show customers who are honest, want to watch the film, a stupid clip telling them to buy films… they did. I wouldn’t mind so much, but half the time you are “forced” to watch the clip, as they have restricted the capability to skip or fast forward the clip. Why don’t they put that clip on pirated films?

So back to Ultraviolet, so of course I tried to sign up again, and it wouldn’t let me, as I had already signed up… When I tried a different e-mail address, that didn’t work it timed out. In the end I gave up.

I think part of the problem was that I was trying to do all this on my iPad. Why the iPad, well I wanted to watch the film on the iPad.

I think the best option will be to do it all on a PC and then hopefully, if Ultraviolet will allow it, then it will let me access the films on the iPad.

Still no Blu-Ray on the iMac

Apple has updated their iMac range.

Though I do like the idea of having a dual drive 27″ iMac with the main hard drive been an SSD that would result in improved speed and performance.

However we still are not seeing any Blu-Ray drives in any of the new iMacs.

I think I need to stop hoping and forget about Blu-Ray on the Mac. It’s too obvious that Apple believe the only way to get video is through the iTunes store. I wouldn’t mind so much, but… I still can’t buy HD movies in the UK iTunes Store. I can rent them on the Apple TV and the iPad, but I can’t rent them (or buy them) on my Mac.

I can buy HD TV shows (and I did like Doctor Who in HD) so it’s not a technical reason, it’s a rights problem.

So with no Blu-Ray and no HD films, I can’t watch HD movies on my wonderful 27″ iMac screen.

Going HD

Though I do like HD pictures it has taken me some time to go HD.

In the early days there was the “battle” between HD-DVD and Blu Ray and though in the early days it looked like HD-DVD would win, my preference was for Blu Ray, so I decided to wait and as well all know now, Blu Ray won. Though with the availability of HD content via services such as iTunes, maybe physical media won’t be here much longer… well it might be in my house as my broadband connection is not the fastest in the world!

So without any kind of HD player, why should I bother buying an HD TV so I didn’t…

Then along came Sky HD… this meant that I could watch HD TV if I wanted to… however I didn’t fancy paying large amounts of money every month to Sky for the odd HD programme.

Freesat promised HD without the monthly contract, but I would still need a dish on the side of the house and to be honest they are very ugly  and I didn’t see much on Freesat that I couldn’t see on Freeview that I would want to watch. Too much work really to go HD via Freesat.

This week sees me getting a Sony Bravia HD 1080p TV.

So why have I gone HD?

Well Freeview HD has been switched on in my area. Yes it is only three HD channels, but they should be picked up by my aerial, so no dish.

Combine that with the Blu Ray player I got for Christmas to replace my aging DVD player, I am almost ready to watch HD.

I will probably (finally) get an Apple TV too, so that I can watch content from my iTunes collection on the new TV.

All I need now is for Elgato to releaves a Freeview HD adapter.

Nearly there, but not quite…

I did write:

Very easy to configure, I plugged it into the power then plugged the supplied ethernet cable into my iMac, reconfigured the ethernet settings in System Preferences, turned off the Airport on the iMac. Then went to a browser, typed in the 1.1.1.1 address, entered the username and password. Added my Airport network details. Very pleased to see that my 802.11n 5GHz network was recognised, remembered to use WPA2-AES (as that is what the Airport Extreme uses). Click configure,update. Job done!

However life is never that simple…

Once I placed the Buffalo Nfiniti Wireless-N Dual Band Ethernet Converter under my TV, it didn’t seem to work. I in the main purchased the Buffalo device so that I could connect my new LG BD370 Blu-ray Player to the internet. The LG Blu-Ray Player can also play YouTube videos, but has to be connected to the internet to do so.

The LG Blu-Ray Player intially could not connect to the network, which indicated to me that the problem was with the Ethernet Converter. In the end I did a full reset and reconfigured. Checking the web based advanced menu, I worked out that it had retained the default 1.1.1.1 IP address.

In that menu I changed the Unit IP Address from Manual Setup to dynamic and to acquire an IP Address automatically.

At this point the LG Blu-Ray Player could now connect to the network and the internet, but still wouldn’t play YouTube videos. Of course now I was connected to the internet I could download updated firmware for the LG Blu-Ray Player. Once downloaded and installed the LG Blu-Ray Player could now play YouTube videos.

At last, new iMacs

Apple today announced a revision to their iMac range.

Coming with 21.5″ and 27″ widescreen LED screens in a 16:9 aspect ration, which is great for HD films, though it’s a pity that there is no Blu Ray drive. If you want HD you are going to need to download HD.

The new iMacs come with a new improved wireless keyboard and the new Wireless Magic Mouse which yay has no scroll ball!

I think my old iMac is about to be replaced…

No Blu-Ray

I have been holding off buying a replacement iMac as I have been waiting for the release of new models. Rumours were abound a month or two back that the new redesigned iMacs would have Blu-Ray.

Generally you should never wait for new models as you will always be waiting. Buy the hardware you need when you need it.

Sometimes I wish I had done that, but my “normal” practice with Apple hardware is to buy it just after it was released. I did that with my last iMac and my iPhone 3GS.

Well the current rumour is that the new iMacs won’t have Blu Ray, they will have powerful chips, but no way to play Blu-Ray films…

A lot of this is dependent on your view if the future of movies is in physical media or downloads.

The main reason I prefer physical media is that my broadband connection has trouble with standard definition films let alone the huge file sizes that HD movies would be. Even now I have to download films from iTunes overnight to avoid hitting my bandwidth cap, the time it takes and the impact downloading has on my (very small) bandwidth, essentially stopping me from doing anything except watching the progress of the download.

The new iMacs (again according to the rumour sites) will be released before the end of October.

More rumours on new iMacs

Macrumors has some nice new rumours on the next incarnation of the Apple iMac.

The new iMac may include…

…an SD card reader, as found in the 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pro, and the use of quad-core processors, which conflicts with a subsequent report claiming that the new iMac will continue to use dual-core processors.

and

…a new 100% touch-enabled mouse capable of advanced mouse functions, as well as a new aluminum Apple Remote. 

I am also hoping that the Blu-Ray rumour that has also been seen is also true. However Apple do seem to have decided that video downloads from the iTunes Store and not via physical format.

I am expecting to see the new iMacs in October and I will probably more than likely be buying one, to replace my current imac which is coming up to three years old.

While we’re on the subject of new Macs, there is also a white MacBook rumour on Macrumors. I wonder if this will be the same format as the current MacBook but with better specifications. However could it be a completely new format to compete in the cheap netbook market?