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UltraViolet and Flixster digital movie services draw the ire of consumers

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UltraViolet, the movie industry's initiative to move digital movies under one master DRM umbrella, has not found favor with consumers due to launch difficulties, an overly complex usage scheme, and a lack of support from major content distributors like Apple and Amazon.

UltraViolet Flixster
UltraViolet Flixster

The movie industry's big UltraViolet initiative, designed to move digital movies under one master DRM umbrella, kicked off in mid-October, and so far the consumer response has not been terribly positive. UltraViolet first became available as a digital movie copy bundled with a few Warner Brothers Blu-Ray releases, but the system was overly complex and didn't work well at launch: social media measurement firm Fizziology found that three percent of comments relating to UltraViolet were positive, 17 percent were negative, and the rest were neutral. This was among the worst reception the company has tracked, and a quick look at Amazon reviews for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 echoes this sentiment, with hundreds of one- and two-star reviews slamming UltraViolet.

The main issue with UltraViolet is that well-known content providers like Amazon and Apple haven't adopted it, so the only option is to use Warner's Flixster site as a portal to access movies. This adds layers of complexity: for example, to add a movie to your iPhone, you must sign up for UltraViolet, sign up for Flixster, download the iPhone app, and finally download the film to your device — a more involved process than the old iTunes digital copies. While UltraViolet makes sense in concept and has strong support from across the industry, it'll need support from content distributors to be successful; we expect to hear more news on that front when CES rolls around.