Xbox live – typical problems with online video

Michael broadband video 3 Comments

I get pretty excited about TV moving online and then run up against another technical wall and realize that things just are never “just around the corner”.

I was experimenting with Xbox Live Marketplace, checking out the movie listings and marvelling at the need to purchase points to view a flick and Microsoft’s unabashed hubris when it comes to owning a category.

But since this is my job I jumped through all the hoops – using my Microsoft Live ID (not used for anything else) to log in, create a “gamer” name, purchase a small amount of points, chose a movie from the dismal selection (~400 movies, mostly old), and right through to the end when it asks me to choose my Xbox.

Now, as a person doing this for a living, I take careful note of all the warnings, pop-up boxes, how they craft their consumer communication and all things usability-oriented. But not once did the website suggest that you had to have an Xbox to download the movies.

If you work at Microsoft, you may be snickering now, thinking that I was naive to believe that I could download on my MICROSOFT powered PC.

But it gets better. Since there were no warnings on the site, I figured I’d just ask for my money back. But when I called, the call rep response essentially boiled down to: “but you already purchased the product”.

What he’s saying, but probably doesn’t know, is that the DRM keys to this movie were downloaded – TO MY PC – when I purchased it. And even though I never downloaded the movie, he can’t give me my money back because they have no technical ability to reclaim the keys.

And even though I have no Xbox in my house, I now have 60 MSFT points and the keys to a car I can’t drive.

I wish I didn’t have to run across this kind of can’t-see-the-forest-for-the-technology problems every day, and that more uncompromising product guys were around to see that every part of their service functioned so that it made sense to a consumer (yes, Steve Jobs – did you have a better suggestion?).

When that happens, the computer will cease being “technology” and just be the thing that I was after – movies, TV, concert tickets, a way to talk to friends, something you don’t have to reboot.

MichaelXbox live – typical problems with online video

Comments 3

  1. uccemebug

    That's fairly lame. And they wonder why people — even insiders like Stephen Fry (see…)
    — are just turning to torrents.

    And in a related note, just what has to happen before these firms stop trying to shoe-horn DRM into this. I was speaking with a Sony engineer two weeks ago who said that the engineers all over Sony cringe whenever anyone from the media arm (like this twit,…) shows up, because they know that the media division's going to demand something that will neuter the product the engineers are designing.

    Thanks for the interesting post, Michael.

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