Shop Talk: The Cloud Part 4
By David Mumpower
August 8, 2012
I will assume you have already created a Vudu account. There is yet another needless step required that is again aggravating. You must link your Vudu account to your Ultraviolet library. Yes, there are a lot of passwords you will need to remember in order to maintain an online cloud at the moment. Assuming you can get past this latest indignity, the moment your Vudu account is linked to Ultraviolet, all of your titles are available.
For me, this means that since my television has a Vudu app built in, I can use the standard television remote to access my Ultraviolet library. This is AMAZING. The moment a title is available on Ultraviolet, I can purchase a license then watch the movie as many times as I want for the rest of my life. I am addicted to this process. It even causes me to demonstrate shaky decision making at times. How else could I explain owning a digital license for Joyful Noise and New Year’s Eve?
The process is painless. As an example, The Lorax was released on video yesterday. I had intended to see this release in the theater, but I blew out my back around that time. So I stayed at home and exceeded the recommended dosage on painkillers instead. I rarely miss $200 million blockbusters in the theater unless they are directed by Michael Bay. Suffice to say that I had been anticipating The Lorax’s video debut for some time. Within hours of its debut, I had input the Ultraviolet license and an HD version of the movie became mine forever. I can view it any time I want from the “My Vudu” menu in the Vudu app.
This leads us to another issue with HD. I mentioned above that the studios deserve praise for being forward-thinking for a change. This is undeniably true. Unfortunately, studios rarely treat their customers with respect multiple times in a short period. In the case of digital licenses, this is the case. While studios such as Sony and Paramount are kind enough to provide HD Ultraviolet licenses for their content, others are less generous. Even if you buy a top of the line 3D Blu-Ray from Universal or Warner Bros., you still will not be given an HD license. I find this business practice repugnant.
The lesser digital license may not seem like a big deal at the moment but as a long term investment, you will want HD titles whenever possible. We live in a 1080p world. A 480i/480p license is better than nothing but anyone who pays $20 for a Blu-Ray deserves the best possible license. You have, after all, paid for it. I am offended that certain studios are too cheap to provide these. I mentioned above that some bean counters will try to find other avenues to continue to re-sell the same content. An SD rather than HD digital license is exactly that sort of behavior.
If you can get past having to create multiple accounts (I currently have six just for Ultraviolet purchases) and the lack of automatic HD programming for HD purchases, the combination of Vudu and Ultraviolet is full of win. In perusing my current Ultraviolet library, I count 21 releases from 2012 that I already own forever. I will detail the methodology for this in next week’s column. What is germane to today’s discussion is that in purchasing digital Ultraviolet licenses to view through Vudu, I have eliminated the need for pay television and video rentals.
Think about your viewer habits for a moment. Let’s say you are an HBO subscriber because of the movies rather than a love of Game of Thrones or The Newsroom. There is ordinarily a 10-18 month delay on the exhibition of movie titles on HBO. 12 months is the standard. In August of 2013, they may have The Lorax available for rental in this regard. I couldn’t care less, though. I already own it now and forever in HD. Also, my cable company only airs programming in 1080i. Vudu is 1080p. So, I am seeing a better version of the same product a year earlier in the video release cycle. Yes, I am paying more in the short term but the financial outlay is offset by the fact that I no longer rent movies. Instead, I own them.
Ultraviolet as a service is much better than its reputation. In next week’s column, I will detail quick and easy ways for you to populate your movie catalog with all your favorite titles. I think you will be surprised by how many ways there are to mitigate your financial outlay, as well. I have tipped off several friends on shortcuts to quick cloud seeding at economical prices. They are already addicted. I want to pass along the details to you as well.