back to article Tesco exec brands UltraViolet 'too complicated' for Brits

Tesco's entertainment products chief has branded UltraViolet, Hollywood's would-be standard for digital movies, "too complicated" for British film fans. The comment was made by Tesco's Category Director of Entertainment, Rob Salter, during a debate at the Future of Entertainment Summit in London, Advanced Television reports. …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    So, he thinks

    we're all to stupid to use that, but clearly intelligent enough to keep pouring billions of pounds into the business he helps control...


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So, he thinks

      Too stupid to use the legal method, yet clever enough to pirate the living fuck out of what he's trying to sell.


    2. ElNumbre

      Re: So, he thinks

      I can only presume to think he believe's UV is something only Waitrose customers would understand.

    3. Thomas 18
      Thumb Down

      Re: So, he thinks

      He is probably thinking about the pitch. People only devote a certain amount of cognitive effort to understanding something.

      If it's a new technology for digital rights management people will want 1 or 2 lines as to why it's better than the current system for them. Nobody wants to sit through an in-depth presentation of how it's important for the future of creative media or the nuances of future proofing.

  2. Dave Bell

    I'm not sure I would trust Tesco on technology issues.

    But this streaming video stuff: is the bandwidth available? Not the "last mile" speed of the adverts, but the sustained capacity of the ISP network, being shared by the customers.

  3. Snail

    DRM free movies.

    Why make it soo complicated.

    Why can't iTunes or someone just sell me DRM free movies?

    I have boxes of DVDs/Blurays. that i buy, convert to digital, and plonk in the back of the garage, and a NAS dull of digital movies.

    If iTunes, or someone else would sell me digitial, 720p/1080p movies, of a similar quality to DVD/Bluray, with no DRM, in a decent format that plays on a decent range of devices, i'd never buy a DVD/Bluray again.

    Even better, like itunes music, once they know what music i've got, and it becomes available in a better format 720p->1080p->1080p 3D->4K->whatever is next, they can offer to sell me the same thing again, at a discounted price. Then like iTunes Genius (or whatever its called), they can use my movie collection to sell me more movies i like.

    1. Richard 120
      Thumb Up

      Re: DRM free movies.

      That's far too sensible and obvious, they'd never be able to patent it.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: DRM free movies.

      In a way, what you have outlined is what happened to music bought online. Apple's iTunes originally had DRM to get the record companies on board, then later dropped it.

      Often, though, a physical CD would cost less than an iTunes album, not be compressed, and would come with a pretty booklet and a horrendously brittle jewel case- whilst serving as a backup to the NAS.

      [anecdotal point: My friends who do the most illegal torrenting are also those with the biggest collection of shop-bought DVDs, Blu-rays, CDs, video games and vinyl records. I don't know if they are typical]

  4. Richard Jones 1

    There are more ways of blocking than stuffing pirate bay

    Given the download limits of many ISPs most of us are going to be blocked from down loads anyway. Not sure why I would need a download if I already have an overpriced blue ray disk anyway. Oh except that I do not have a blue ray player so would not have bought the disk in the first place.

    I suggest that the fragmentation of the 'suppliers' and FUD put out by the copy holders (I will not call intellectual property) causes a huge amount of confusion so should be considered a real impediment to the easy uptake. Will it be legal in all cases, will I break my download limit, what do in the likely event that it is cr*p anyway? Just a few more thoughts that come to mind.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Possible Hiccup

    Pirate Bay is not blocked on Tesco Broadband...oops!

    1. Richard Jones 1

      Re: Possible Hiccup No Oops - But someone Should Have gone to Eye Glass shop*

      I did not say that Tesco had blocked pirate bay,

      I said there were other ways of blocking down loads beyond blocking specific sites. Usage caps, speed restrictions, time of day download limits, FUD and other less easily listed concerns were my point and those apply almost universally.

      (*Slogan not used to avoid copy problems and advertising restrictions.)

      1. D@v3

        Re: Possible Hiccup No Oops - But someone Should Have gone to Eye Glass shop*

        I think someone should have RTA.

        I have a feeling that the previous comment was in reference to this line (near the end, you may have missed it) from the article...

        "Hopefully, Tesco isn't making the (incorrect) assumption that having the UK's major ISPs block The Pirate Bay will kill Torrenting in Britain, rendering UV unnecessary"

        Fail, for both yourself, and Tesco

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Possible Hiccup No Oops - But someone Should Have gone to Eye Glass shop*

        He actually wasn't replying to you Richard... but I'll blame that on it being 7:52am!

        1. LinkOfHyrule

          Re: Possible Hiccup No Oops - But someone Should Have gone to Eye Glass shop*

          What has the shop that sells glass eyes got to do with any of this? .......oh...... eye glass not glass eye!

          I mis-saw what you typed - should have gone to SPECSAVERS! I love SPECSAVERS - they are so awesome! I will say it again - SPECSAVERS!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    " Streaming is available over the web, so the service can be accessed by any device with a browser"

    Oh? Can you provide a link to this service that provides streaming to any device with a browser? What's that? Doesn't exist you say? Well now..

  7. Fuzz

    a story about DRM

    so last week I was in a cottage with a few mates, we had a laptop with a bluray drive and a projector and a new bluray disc.

    The bluray disc wouldn't play in the laptop because the bluray software refused to play it. However the bluray box included a second disc entitled digital download. Problem 1, disc requires an Internet connection authorise the computer so you can watch the file which is on the disc that you have that came in the box with the film that you paid for. So we set up some tethering on a phone and allowed the laptop to connect to the Internet, authorisation failed.

    We played with this for a few minutes, in the end the way we got to watch the movie was by downloading makeMKV and ripping a copy of the disc, circumventing the copy protection, onto the harddrive of the laptop.

    This is what's wrong with DRM, it's easier to bypass than it is to follow.

    1. Panzerbjørn

      Re: a story about DRM

      I think this also sums it up pretty well:

      1. Robredz
        Thumb Up

        Re: a story about DRM


  8. g e

    So... hang on...

    If say overnight you kittens decide to play pretend-its-a-mouse with your BD of Prometheus you're fine, because you can still watch the STANDARD DEFINITION version online?

    WTF is that. If you buy a BD you want a BD quality download, too. I'm sure most people will think of it more as a cloud movie backup thing than a library. After all, they HAVE the disc, right? I get that maybe sometime in a distant Utopian future Big Media will allow online purchases of UV-only media (when they finally move their biz model into the 3rd millennium), sure, but that would make it even MORE important to have top-quality rips available, yes?

    Sounds like a load of bollocks to me compared to other options of getting 'standard definition' movies.

    1. LinkOfHyrule

      Re: So... hang on...

      For situations like this its not DRM we want but KDRM - Kitten Distraction and Removal Mechanism. I think Sony are working on a version which involves every Bluray coming with a free medium sized dog.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So... hang on...

      Indeed, this is Hollywood's nod to video consumption in the 21st century. But just think, when BD is old hat, they can still upsell you to a 'new', 'definitive edition' 4K remaster and you'll still be able to watch the standard low def version on your by-then-standard laptop retina display in fully pixelated glory!

    3. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: So... hang on... Backups.

      1. Replacement of physically damaged media. Record / Film / XBOX companies should replace physically damaged media for a nominal fee before they even think about crying foul over piracy. After all, they claim you've paid for the license, not the shiny disc. Microsoft want £10 to replace discs their own console has damaged, due to the omission of a rubber grommit, yet claim there is no possible legal justification for circumventing their copy-protection to make back up game discs.

      2. The Blu-ray standards makes an anti-scratch coating to the disc mandatory. Material science has advanced since the first CDs, and I'm glad Sony included it in the standards. (HD DVD merely made this coating optional).

      3. I'm not sure that streaming GBs of data for a HD movie you already have on disc in your home is the best use of bandwidth. (One mate of mine rips his Blurays to his server, which is then happy to transcode and stream the movie over the internet to any device he is near If he is out and about, he can choose to watch said movie in HD or SD depending upon the internet connection- effectively doing what this UV hopes to achieve. ) Presumably, you'd only be wanting the streamed SD version for devices that can't play the disc, such as tablets, that wouldn't make the most of HD content.

  9. Captain TickTock

    Salter doesn't appear to have elaborated on his claim.

    Nor does he appear to have said it was '"too complicated" for British film fans.'

    In the article in the link (which doesn't quote him in more detail either) it says ' for the average consumer'

    While agreed Salter's consumers are mainly British, he could have been talking about consumers in general.

    Now what did he actually say?

    Poor show, el Reg.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Salter doesn't appear to have elaborated on his claim.

      working as a support engineer in an office full of PHD's and Economics degree's (trade floor) most of them have trouble sending an email, let alone watching a movie or downloading such.

      I fear Tesco, like the local vodafone shop, will get tons of irate customers complaining that their download doesnt work and it must be tesco's fault, even tho they bought their film at amazon, sony, hmv etc (the local voda shop gets 02 and 3 customers complaining "your all the same , you sell phones, why cant you fix my 02/3/t-mobile one?")

  10. wowfood

    Personally i'm happy

    with using services like netflix / lovefilm. I just wish they had larger libraries. There are thousands of films on the service yes, but a lot of them I'm not interested in. I mean Netflix doesn't even have kick-ass. On the bright side it does have a load of cartoons I loved as a kid.

    I can't help but wonder / wish the future would just be a stream service where, rather than adverts / shows we hate, we'd just be able to go "I wanna watch spongebob" and select it from a library of well... everything.

    I mean right now I pay more for a TV license than I do for netflix. I don't even watch normal TV any more, I just have the license because I have a TV for my games console.

    1. JetSetJim

      Re: Personally i'm happy

      You don't need a license for a TV that is purely for a games console. If it's not connected to an antenna or tuned in to any channels, it can't receive real time broadcasts.

      Obviously you'll get about 10 years of hassle from the TV licensing authority when you stop buying a license, but you'll be legit.

      (NB, if you watch BBC iPlayer Live - and, by extension the other channel equivalents - you still need a telly license, even if you only watch it on a computer web browser and don't own a telly. Catchup is fine, though)

      1. david bates

        Re: Personally i'm happy

        I find a stroppy and ill-tempered letter directly to the chap who signs the bullying missives they send out brings a fauning apology and no further hassle...

      2. Phil W
        Thumb Up

        Re: Personally i'm happy

        Not that much hassle actually. You can write to the TV licensing agency and tell them that you have a tv but don't use it to receive broadcasts.

        They will then send you a nice official letter back acknowledging this, and will not usually bother you again. Even if they do, you have the letter so the hassle is minimal.

        A couple of friends of mine have done this before.

        You do however need a cat license from the Ministry of Housinge, for those kittens.

        1. Bassey

          Re: Personally i'm happy

          "Not that much hassle actually. You can write to the TV licensing agency"

          Really? This must have changed fairly recently. When I got my first flat (12 years ago) I didn't even bother getting a telly (couldn't afford one) but got regular red letters from the TV Licensing authority accusing me of being a criminal. It didn't matter how many times I told them I don't have a telly they kept sending letters - minimum two a month. I eventually sent a cease-and-decist notice and got told (paraphrasing) "Tough shit asshole. We're a government department and we'll send you whatever threatening letters we damn well like as often as we like".

          And like the commentard above, I also pay twice as much for a TV License I don't use as I do for my Netflix subscription. Thieving bastards!

          1. Tony S

            Re: Personally i'm happy

            Had a similar problem. A number of the standard letters arrived plus 2 "appointment" cards, that had fairly snotty messages saying that someone had arrived at the premises to check on the use of a TV, but couldn't gain access.

            This despite me phoning them 5 times to confirm that the house was empty and unfurnished!

            The last one was the funniest - "I am unable to confirm that the premises are empty, as no-one answered the door".

            Civil servants; in a class of their own.

            1. deadlift

              Re: Personally i'm happy

              TV Licensing isn't run by the government - it's run by CRapita on behalf of the BBC. I'm a civil servant; we're not that eager.

            2. dave 76

              Re: Personally i'm happy

              Why bother replying to them - let them do the work to chase you not the other way around.

              I was getting the standard letter every couple of months, and then the appointment card and then eventually they just stopped. I'm not wasting my time telling them that I don't owe them anything.

      3. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Personally i'm happy

        Re JetSetJIm

        I don't know why he has been downvoted, what he says is correct. It is deliberately hard to get confirmation of this, but it was given following a request under the FOI legislation. It might take a bit of Googling to find...

        For pre-recorded media and use as a computer monitor, no TV license is required.

        1. JetSetJim

          Re: Personally i'm happy

          I don't know why either, it's just what the licensing folk put on their website

    2. Robredz

      Re: Personally i'm happy

      If your TV has no ariel, or satellite connection, and you never watch off air TV or stream it as it is being broadcast,, you don't need a TV License.

  11. DrXym

    I'll tell you what's complicated

    Two dozen streaming / download platforms all implementing their own proprietary DRMs, all with proprietary software / apps, all with a subset of all available content and a mess of rights which allow them to stream or not stream certain content.

    While ultraviolet may be seriously flawed in some ways at least it's a standard with fairly wide industry support.

    My main issue with it is by its very existence it demonstrates that it is possible to impose the concept of property and ownership onto digital content through a vendor neutral. But it does not enforce those concepts and content owners are free to impose any sort of odious terms and limits on the content. I think digital property should come with the same rights as physical property. That necessitates a platform neutral DRM (similar to Ultraviolet) but it should not be one which prevents users from selling, loaning, donating or even disposing their content in any way they that the law provides for physical content.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: I'll tell you what's complicated

      "That necessitates a platform neutral DRM (similar to Ultraviolet) but it should not be one which prevents users from selling, loaning, donating or even disposing their content in any way they that the law provides for physical content."

      And the only way to do it is to remove DRMs altogether.

  12. Snowy Silver badge

    The problem with UV I can see is who do you register your copy with, can you move that to someone else and for how long can you get access to it?

    Tescos problem is they want to hold your "right to play" and lock you to them.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is too complicated.

    Perhaps not for some of the people here, but for average joe it is.

    What I want:

    Just a code (or QR Code) in the box, you go to a website, enter the code, and it will give you access to the movie on your choice of EXISTING services movie services. (PSN, XBox, AppleTV etc)

    It shouldn't be any more complicated than that. I mean how difficult is to to include a code that then gives you a PSN code to redeem. It's only clumsy because they choose to make it clumsy.

  14. SimonL

    Personally I don't get the obsesion with downloading everything.... broadband provision is bad enough in this country without clogging it with potentially unecessary downloading.

    I have some DVD's that came with a 'file' version on disk. What's wrong with that? To save on media just create a disk that can be both played by a 'player' and contains a 'file' version.

    If I want a copy on my portable device I don't want to have to get online and wait three hours for it download something which then tells me it's corrupt and has to do it again......

    Drag'n'drop from the disk will do nicely thank you!

    1. thesykes

      drag n drop

      if only it worked all the time... I only own one DVD that includes a digital copy. The only thing I can play it on is my laptop, it won't play on anything else. If I wanted to play it on the laptop, I can just watch the DVD itself.

      I've looked at the FAQ's for the film distributors, which states it will work on "some" devices, but, no indication which ones or whether it will ever be possible to play it on mine. All software I've used to try and get it into a format that can play, fails. In the end I gave up, mainly because I was trying it just to see if it worked, not because I want to watch a full film on a phone screen.

      So, you buy a DVD with a digital copy, to make it legit to watch anywhere, and they bugger it up with DRM that stops you doing just that.

  15. Light Bulb Descendant
    Thumb Down

    Too Complicated - Hmmm

    I somehow think this 'too complicated businuess' is an excuse. There'll be a real reason somewhere...

  16. Joseph Lord

    It is actually quite complicated

    As I understand it you have the right to the movie indefinitely (promised for 5 years). You can download it up to 5 times and stream it as many times as you want in the first year after which they can charge you for the download. There are other complications too about which entities provide which parts of the service which DRMs are supported etc. although how much the consumer needs to know about these I'm not sure.

    The above information is what I can remember from an introduction presentation about a year ago so much of the information may be misremembered or have changed but my view is that understanding what you get with a purchase was too complicated.

  17. John70

    Every little helps

    I wouldn't use Tesco's for anything other than buying food and that's if I'm near one.

  18. AshRid

    Bait & Switch

    He might be refering to the bait and switch Hollywood have pulled with Ultraviolet by silently removing the previously-supplied iTunes copy and replacing it was Ultraviolet without making a huge noise about it.

    Simply adding 'Ultraviolet' in front of 'digital copy' on the front cover and a bunch of small print on the back no one will read in the store is whats probably confusing people used to an enclosed iTunes code.

    Initially Ultraviolet support provided iTunes codes for unhappy customers (the Flixster app doesn't exist for Apple TV, and the movie is streamed to all but PC devices requiring a data connection and an impact on your data allowance for example) but have since stopped offering them

    Interestingly "Safe House" is supplied with an iTunes code and an Ultraviolet copy and I would be very interested to know how many of the Ultraviolet codes get redeemed from a title that has the iTunes copy also included.....not that they are ever going to tell you!

  19. Chris_B

    Which Ultraviolet ?

    Is that Ultraviolet the film or Ultraviolet the service. I'm confused already . Back to the pub

  20. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Too complicated? Maybe, but that's not the issue

    If anyone wants to get any money from me for any DL content they must provide it to me DRM-free, no strings attached and just trust me. If they are not ready to do that - they won't get my money, complicated or not.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it my imagination?

    But has the triple-format Blu-Ray + DVD + digital download package pretty much disappeared from recent movie releases?

    I quite liked it as it offered a top-quality disk for the big screen, a DVD for the kids to trash and a digital copy for travelling, but none of the big movies released in the last few months seem to have it. I wonder if they're planning on replacing it with UV?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd agree with Salter.

    The average Brit IS too dumb to understand.

    Maybe that's why swathes of them carry iPhones, cause they just work.

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