Digital Frustration

Digital Frustration, Part 2

Occasionally, when buying a Blu-Ray movie, it will also come with a digital download code allowing you to watch your purchase “anywhere”. The slip of paper provided gives you instructions for going online and redeeming your code in order to add the movie to your online movie collection. Over the years, I’ve managed to build up a nice little collection of these digital backup copies online using the service Flixster Video, which always seemed to be the preferred service available to choose when redeeming. I have the Flixster app on my iPhone and iPad, and although I’ve never really made much use of them, it’s nice to know they’re there if I ever did want to access them when away from my physical movie collection at home. I also used to have the Flixster app on my NowTV streaming stick (a Roku based system, produced in conjunction with Sky TV), enabling me to fire up a movie quickly without having to go hunt for the Blu-ray and load that up. Nice. I liked where this whole digital future was heading – I really could watch my movies “anywhere”.

But then NowTV disallowed the Flixster app from their boxes, presumably in favour of their own Sky store system for purchasing and viewing digital movies. And then I bought a few Blu-ray’s recently and tried to redeem the digital code, only to find that Flixster wasn’t an available option. Google Play was my only choice. Luckily, I do have a Google Play account, so I was able to still use it. The point is though, I don’t use Google Play for any other movies, so now I have my digital movies in multiple locations. Worst still, because I have two Google accounts – one for personal use and one for family use – a recent attempt at redeeming a movie code didn’t even give me the option of choosing the preferred Google account to link the movie too. One more location for my movie collection!!

Recently, my daughter wanted to own Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. The Blu-ray wasn’t out yet, but it was available to buy and download. We are Amazon Prime customers and Amazon were offering it at a reduced price, so we purchased it and it ended up in our Amazon video library. So, now we also have another location where a purchased movie lives!

All of these companies seem to be so interested in restricting you to using either their service, or a preferred partner. To me, this only makes life more difficult, when it should all be getting easier. Instead of loading up my digital library and playing a movie, I now have to remember if I do have a digital copy of the movie I’m interested in watching, and then I have to try and find which service is responsible for delivering it to me. There’s a lot to be said for the far easier option of simply picking up the Blu-Ray from my shelf and watching it in my living room, which defeats the whole purpose of the supposedly convenient digital option.

Hopefully someone will comment on this post and tell me about some amazingly simple service out there that does actually take care of everything in one place, and isn’t going to remove my movie from it’s service or suddenly shut down. Last year I got quite excited at the announcement of a new service called ‘Movies Anywhere’, which seemed to be a big step in the right direction.

Digital Frustration
“Movies Anywhere”

So, I tried signing up for an account, only to discover that this is a US only service… and I’m in the UK. So, not “anywhere” after all then…

Maybe I’m doing something wrong. Maybe I’m expecting too much and we’re not quite at the stage yet where I really can watch my movies anywhere?

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