Warner Bros.’ release Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 on Blu-ray and UltraViolet has sparked much discontent among its buyers, writes Robert Briel. It looks like Hollywood has trouble finding an iTunes alternative.
We still need to see if Steve Jobs really cracked the connected TV issue, but iTunes continues to reign supreme, while the movie industry insists on beating a dead horse with UltraViolet seen as the savior of Blu-ray. Within days of its release, Warner Bros managed to create another PR disaster with the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, disk package. The disks come with a code to unlock the digital UltraViolet copy.
The Hollywood studios have banded together – with the notable exception of Disney – behind the UltraViolet initiative for putting content in the cloud. While the standard may look good on paper, its implementation so far fails. Following a barrage of consumer complaints, Warner Bros. has decided to give people who bought the Blu-ray disk a coupon to download the latest Harry Potter movie from the iTunes store for free.
Looking at the comments in various internet forums, people are bewildered by the complex registration processes (yes, the system requires registering twice…!) they have to go through when unlocking the digital copy in the UltraViolet vault. And they find they have to download yet another player rather then use their preferred video player.
To add insult to injury, it also appears that some older BD players have trouble playing back the Potter disk – a firmware update of the players is needed in order to see the movie without problems. We were recently bombarded with press release hyping the recent BD successes, but issues such as this are a nail to Blu-ray’s coffin. Now UV appears to be stillborn before it even gets started.
The iTunes ecosystem already offers viewers the possibility to watch movies and TV series across all devices with a single download after creating an account. So why try and start a new war of standards for cloud based anytime anywhere content? Okay, we understand that – as a content owner – you balk at the percentage Apple takes when you use their services. The music industry and publishers of magazines and books already experienced that.