The campaign to revive Veronica Mars delivered a number of cool things—an enormous number of new Kickstarter users and, lest we forget, a full-length motion picture of a deeply loved TV series that arrived Friday. But the movie’s arrival introduced something else to Veronica Mars fans: their first interaction with the UltraViolet video locker service, the method the movie’s distributors are using to fulfill the downloads promised to people who backed the movie on Kickstarter. It’s been ugly, to say the least.
UltraViolet is a studio-backed system that came about as a response to the massive success of Apple’s iTunes as a digital media storefront. Understandably, the movie and TV studios did not want to be beholden to Apple as they felt the music industry had become. The problem is that the catch-all solution the studios came up with is neither intuitive nor convenient—and as consequence, not widely adopted. And that’s a problem for a few reasons. First, device compatibility is problematic, especially if you're an iOS user who wants to watch the movie on your TV. And second, signing up for the UltraViolet service is complicated and messy.