I’ve been meaning to take a closer look at the Ultraviolet service provided by various media companies. A recent news article by our fearless leader Domi, reminded me of this.
UltraViolet is a cloud based licensing system which allows you to have a digital copy of a dvd or blu ray movie that you have purchased, or you can stream the movie to your player rather than going through the process of downloading.
UltraViolet is not a locker for the movies themselves, but rather a central point for the storage of the license used to access the movies. You are not restricted to any particular store when purchasing movies. As long as the studio is part of the UltraViolet consortium, and they have included a code for a digital copy, you can add it to your account in UltraViolet.
UltraViolet is compatible with a great many different devices, pc’s, smartphones, tablets, blu ray players…as long as they have internet access. You are allowed to use your library on as many as 12 devices.
Ok, so now you have a rough idea of what the service is.
Since I had a movie from Warner Brothers with a digital code, I thought I’d start there. The movie is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2. The instructions found on the movie insert directed me to Flixster, where I had to fill out forms and set up both an UltraViolet account and a Flixster account. Also had to answer an email.
Once I got through that, I had to download the Flixster program. This program turns out to be necessary to play the movie, because the movie that you download is encrypted. No surprise there.
The Flixster program does not install into the list of programs in Windows. Rather it inserts itself into the User directory inside the hidden folder AppData/Local/Flixster. This is also where the movie will download. You have no choice on where the downloads go by the way, and this is a big sore point for me. I have 4tb of storage on this computer, and a relatively small amount on my SSD that I use for my operating system disc. Yet that is where they choose to put my downloads.
I’ve got a support email going in asking if the download area can be relocated, or if the movie can be moved after downloading. I believe I’ll get a big fat NO on both of those, but I’ll report back in on that.
I was a bit surprised that MediaInfo was able to give me any information regarding the downloaded movie, but here it is:
General Complete name : C:\Users\Kerry\AppData\Local\Flixster\Storage\938672929\E047DE0130948ECD793A68CA41BA0A5D Format : MPEG-4 Format profile : Base Media Codec ID : isom File size : 2.00 GiB Duration : 2h 10mn Overall bit rate mode : Variable Overall bit rate : 2 197 Kbps Tagged date : UTC 2011-10-27 01:40:13 Writing application : Lavf52.93.0 Video ID : 1 Format : AVC Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec Format profile : Baseline@L3.0 Format settings, CABAC : No Format settings, ReFrames : 4 frames Codec ID : encv / avc1 / mp4a Duration : 2h 10mn Bit rate : 2 072 Kbps Width : 640 pixels Height : 360 pixels Display aspect ratio : 16:9 Frame rate mode : Constant Frame rate : 24.000 fps Color space : YUV Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0 Bit depth : 8 bits Scan type : Progressive Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.375 Stream size : 1.89 GiB (94%) Language : English Tagged date : UTC 2011-10-27 01:40:13 Encryption : Encrypted Audio ID : 2 Format : AAC Format/Info : Advanced Audio Codec Format profile : LC Codec ID : 40 Duration : 2h 10mn Bit rate mode : Variable Bit rate : 119 Kbps Channel(s) : 2 channels Channel positions : Front: L R Sampling rate : 44.1 KHz Compression mode : Lossy Delay relative to video : 83ms Stream size : 111 MiB (5%) Language : English Tagged date : UTC 2011-10-27 01:40:13 Encryption : Encrypted
A few things jump out at me immediately.