Like many fans of The Inbetweeners Movie, I’ve been looking forward to re-enjoying the film both on my TV and on my iPad/iPhone courtesy of the Digital Copy bundled with the Blu-ray edition.
Sad to say, the Digital Copy implementation is dire.
If you’re buying the Blu-ray for this feature, reconsider buying the DVD and grabbing a copy from iTunes for your iPad/iPhone.
There are two options to access the Digital Copy, one is to download the film to your computer the other direct to your handset or tablet.
Because it’s generally a good idea to download media to a ‘real’ computer and keep it backed up, I opted for the first method. I grew wary as soon as I saw the 4DigitalCopy.com website lacked any Mac OS instructions.
But, keen to enjoy my purchase, I pushed ahead, installed the required Flux Player software from the website and downloaded the film which then appeared in the Flux Player window on my Mac.
I have no idea where the actual film file is and the software’s ‘export’ button is greyed out and does nothing – the Windows instructions claim connecting a device to your computer allows you to transfer the film to it.
Not so on my Mac.
This means it’s impossible to transfer the film to my iPad/iPhone via iTunes and then play it in the standard Video app. Instead I had to download a Flux Player app on my iPad to access the film.
The app makes reference to a transfer package, but this is available only for Windows.
Mac owners wanting to play the film on their portable devices are required to download it from the 4DigitalCopy.com website using the iPad’s Safari browser. It’s then stored in the Flux Player app.
Trying to download the film to my second iPad resulted in an error code referring to the license, it wasn’t clear if this meant I could only download to a single iOS device.
All this faffing about turned out to be pretty pointless.
The downloaded film is just over 400MB, the iTunes copy is over 1.3GB – 900MB more than the Digital Copy which looks truly dire.
The point of Digital Copy is to eliminate piracy by providing a hassle free, legal way to access a decent copy of the paid-for film.
Much of the time this is achieved by allowing the buyer to download the film from iTunes with a redemption code. This gives you a decent quality copy you can access on your MacBook, iPhone and iPad.
Channel 4 DVD has instead opted to use a complicated, poorly documented method which will simply incentivise those who know how to rip the DVD to do so.
What an enormous own goal.
This is predicted to be one of the biggest selling DVDs/Blu-rays ever in the UK. A lot of people stand to be disappointed at being palmed off with a poor quality product.
Channel 4 need to make this good, either by increasing the quality of the Digital Copy and allowing everyone to re-download their copy or providing an iTunes voucher code for a decent quality copy.
Failing that, I’ll be retuning the Blu-ray for a full refund.
Update: Amazon.co.uk contains a number of unhappy reviews concerning the use of Flux over iTunes for the digital copy.
Update 2: And so it starts, customers on Apple’s forums openly discussing how to ‘convert’ the film so they can do what they expected to do when they paid their money – play it in iTunes and via their iOS device’s Videos app (Amazon.co.uk users are even more blatant).
Could there be any clearer proof that deviating from what the customer expects they’re buying is ultimately self-defeating for studios? How many non-DRMd copies will be created over the next couple of weeks?
The majority of buyers would have been happy with a heavily DRM’d, iTunes edition which ‘just works’ on their device.