I just had to buy this. It’s the new Star Trek movie on a cool all-metal USB key, and it’s in DIVX!
Well, that’s just what the Xbox 360 / Archos / just about everything (apart from the crapple) I have, loves the most! It will play on six devices and well and.. OH MY GOD. Let’s start at the beginning, and then painfully work our way through everything that’s wrong with it, shall we?
I imagine that most people will go through the following sequence, and please bare with me if this isn’t exactly the same for you…
1. It doesn’t play
You try and play the movie from the USB memory stick, but it’s just a garbled mess. Fair enough, you think. It is protected after all. You click on the web-link to authorise playback and authenticate your copy of the movie.
You realise that you have to create a user account with DivX. This is a minor pain in the arse. I suppose this will be another company who mercilessly spams me, but never mind. You enter your details (plus the ever-important DivX coupon number) and download the complete DivX suite.
2. It still doesn’t play
You launch the .tx ticket file (as you are prompted to), and are then told that you need to upgrade DivX – you’re not actually told that, you’re just presented with a stop message. I figured that out myself, good luck muggles!
Never mind that it’s not already on the expansive USB memory stick (which it should be), the first version of DivX you were told to download isn’t hip with the kids. Nah, you need this one dude. Another bloody 20-odd MB with the special encryption shell. As I said, you need to know about this, because it won’t tell you. Nice!
3. You needn’t have bothered
When you’ve downloaded everything (twice), your copy of the movie will play on THIS computer, THIS TIME, sort of. Low quality. Jittery video is the order of the day. Oh, and whatever you do, don’t try and copy it to your hard disk. It likes to freeze Windows 7 then.
4. You realise what you need to do
Movies on USB are a neat idea, IF they are DRM-free. As it stands, they aren’t, and not only that, they are amazingly bad. I mean, very low quality. Star Trek (when it did eventually play), was only in Stereo, wasn’t any larger than 300-odd lines, and well.. sucked.
In my Christmas Special, “Xbox 360: A Complete Ecosystem Guide”, I’ll show you why this sort of thing is completely un-necessary. Movies on a USB memory stick might seem like a good idea, but trust me here, they aren’t. If someone like me, who is one of the precious few that actually does store their entire DVD library on HDD finds this sort thing entirely useless, please do tell me, exactly who is this Star-Trek-on-USB marketed at?
Suffice to say, I strongly advise against buying the digital version of Star Trek, or indeed, anything that comes on a USB memory stick and claims to be “ready to play on your netbook”. It can look better in less space, and I’ll show you how to do it!