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"Iron Man" Release Brings Down Paramount's Servers 283

Posted by kdawson
from the super-hero-effect dept.
secmartin writes "Shortly after the release of Iron Man on Blu-ray on October 1, people started complaining of defective discs; the problem turned out to be that all the Blu-ray players downloading additional content brought down Paramount's BD-Live servers, causing delays while loading the disc. Which really makes you wonder what will happen when they decide to shut down this service in a couple of years."
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"Iron Man" Release Brings Down Paramount's Servers

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  • PS3 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 04, 2008 @11:38PM (#25261105)

    The PS3 has an option to allow/disallow Blu-Ray discs to connect to the Internet. It might be for just this sort of thing?

    • Re:PS3 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lysergic.acid (845423) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:04AM (#25261269) Homepage

      how much live content is there usually? with the huge capacity of dual-layer BDs wouldn't it be more efficient to just put the live content on the disc itself in the first place?

      i mean, unless they're having users download more than 4~5 GB of data, it should be possible to squeeze the live content onto the BD by compressing the movie by 1% or stripping out previews. and if they are having users download more than 5 GB of data then that seems really impractical anyway.

      the only thing i see live content being good for is perhaps for downloading extra subtitle languages so studios don't have to print localized discs for smaller markets, or perhaps you're a Czech living in the U.S. and want to buy a BD at the local Best Buy but still want Czech subs, etc. and depending on how compressed the audio streams are, they could also do this with alternate language streams.

      • Re:PS3 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:09AM (#25261291)

        how much live content is there usually? with the huge capacity of dual-layer BDs wouldn't it be more efficient to just put the live content on the disc itself in the first place?

        Without time travel ability, no. "Live content" means "That movie you bought 5 years ago is showing trailers for next summer's movie lineup."

        • Re:PS3 (Score:5, Informative)

          by lysergic.acid (845423) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:27AM (#25261397) Homepage

          i thought the BD live content was extra content only downloaded once when you first play the disc--things like bonus scenes, soundtracks, ringtones, and other promo material--rather than just video streamed live each time you play it. i mean, that's the impression this kotaku article [kotaku.com] gives.

          so all this is just so that the BD you bought will show you the latest movie advertisements each time it's played? that hardly seems worthwhile. preview trailers are something you skip over, not something you waste bandwidth on.

          i wouldn't have thought that Sony or the movie studios would waste money and resources to provide each BD release with an ever-changing online video stream. just keeping the servers up would be expensive enough, but they'd also have to pay people to constantly update the live content for each disc they put out. and for 5 years? how much would it cost to produce or license 5 years worth of live content? that's like running a really unprofitable TV station that people only watch for 15-20 minutes once every few months.

          • Re:PS3 (Score:5, Interesting)

            by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:45AM (#25261497) Journal

            preview trailers are something you skip over, not something you waste bandwidth on.

            Not if the studios have anything to say about it. Remember good old user operation prohibition [wikipedia.org]? And remember how it was only ever used, pinkie swear, for those FBI warnings in the beginning, never for commercials?

            I don't know whether they have done so yet; but the studios would love nothing more than to cram a new set of ads into your eyeballs before every showing.

          • Re:PS3 (Score:5, Interesting)

            by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @02:06AM (#25261783) Journal

            i thought the BD live content was extra content only downloaded once when you first play the disc--things like bonus scenes, soundtracks, ringtones, and other promo material--rather than just video streamed live each time you play it.

            Neither, actually, unless they're being particularly stupid. More likely, downloaded once, whenever either you choose to download them, or the disc does -- and then saved, so you can watch them again. Live streaming would be reserved for places where it actually matters -- as in, content which is also being generated live.

            preview trailers are something you skip over, not something you waste bandwidth on.

            Preview trailers are also the most trivial, and the most useless, of the things that are possible with this.

            I worked on some client-side programming for HD-DVD, before it died. Basically, you've got a little bit of local storage, an Internet connection, and a script engine. You can download small videos and play them, or you can run a program overlaid on top of the movie -- this is how menus were done, but we were doing a lot more than just menus.

            Now, from what I remember of Paramount's discs, they pretty much re-downloaded several megs (at least) worth of data on boot -- including every single file needed for said scripts. The only exception was actual media, as in audio and video.

            So, they're basically replacing a bunch of data that was already there on the disc. Unlike some other discs, you have no choice -- you will update, before you watch the movie.

            That's not really "defectivebydesign", as it's got nothing to do with DRM. It is, however, a defective design. Subtle but very important difference.

            It's possible none of this applies to the Blu-Ray, but I suspect it's very similar, and I very much doubt that any of it involves re-downloading the same trailer over and over.

            • Re:PS3 (Score:5, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05, 2008 @05:22AM (#25262303)

              That's not really "defectivebydesign", as it's got nothing to do with DRM. It is, however, a defective design.

              Thanks. That clears it up.

        • Re:PS3 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by maugle (1369813) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @01:24AM (#25261655)
          With "Live content", that movie you bought 5 years ago is showing trailers for upcoming movies. Long, unskippable trailers. For movies you're not interested in. That use up your bandwidth and make you go over your bandwidth cap.
        • Re:PS3 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Fractal Dice (696349) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @02:03AM (#25261773) Journal

          Without time travel ability, no. "Live content" means "That movie you bought 5 years ago is showing trailers for next summer's movie lineup."

          What about putting live ads on the background billboards or changing the brand of burger the hero eats? I would expect updated product placements will be the next wave of live content.

          • Re:PS3 (Score:5, Funny)

            by houghi (78078) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:15AM (#25263159)

            They could even change who shot first.

          • Re:PS3 (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Lars T. (470328) <Lars DOT Traeger AT googlemail DOT com> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:15AM (#25263529) Journal
            Sony has already demoed that, in a scene of "The Departed" that had an empty counter in the theatrical release, they showed a can of "Red Bull" standing on it.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by forkazoo (138186)

            Without time travel ability, no. "Live content" means "That movie you bought 5 years ago is showing trailers for next summer's movie lineup."

            What about putting live ads on the background billboards or changing the brand of burger the hero eats? I would expect updated product placements will be the next wave of live content.

            That's actually really disturbing, and shockingly plausible. Thankfully, AFAICT, Blu Ray doesn't really have the ability to do this right. But, I'm sure if there is a "3rd Generation DV

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Firehed (942385)

          Oh wonderful. Not only does my movie break because of some crashed server off in Paramountland, but it breaks because it can't show me an ad.

          Fan-fucking-tastic.

          My decision to eschew Blu-ray in favor of downloads/not supporting assholes seems better by the day.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:38AM (#25261449)
        It's about tracking the consumer. Even if the "live content" was all of one kilobyte Paramount would host it on their own server. Having each disk "dial home" is in valuable for marketing and racketeering^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hcopyright enforcement.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          It's about tracking the consumer. Even if the "live content" was all of one kilobyte Paramount would host it on their own server. Having each disk "dial home" is in valuable for marketing and racketeering^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hcopyright enforcement.

          Does Blu-Ray have a remote kill-switch?

          I just ask because some of the paranoid theories I hear on Slashdot are funny. I personally liked the +5 one where RFID in kid's clothing was going to lead to predators watching childrens' movements from his computer in his basement.

          • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @01:06AM (#25261571) Homepage Journal
            Actually, yes. If a player is discovered to be compromised, it can be added to a "bad guys" list and locked out. The list can be updated remotely or by trying to play a newer disc.
    • Re:PS3 (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:20AM (#25261353) Homepage Journal

      I don't remember that, but you might very well be right. I don't go into those menus very often. What I do know is that the Iron Man disc itself asks if you want to download whatever extra content there might be. Just pick "no" and the menu loads and the movie plays perfectly, at least it did for me.

  • Great Idea! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Gazzonyx (982402) on Saturday October 04, 2008 @11:39PM (#25261123)
    Now that they've got their servers back up and running, let's slashdot 'em!
    Now I remember why I decided to go with software development over network administration!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 04, 2008 @11:42PM (#25261147)

    1. Take a distributed distribution system.
    2. Centralize it create a single point of failure.
    3. PROFIT!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Disconnect from network before playing.
    God people are stupid.

  • by dhall (1252) on Saturday October 04, 2008 @11:53PM (#25261209)

    TFA is a little sparse, and I don't feel like forking out the cash right now to test whether I can work around the call home feature via a simple loopback definition for the BD live servers in my local DNS cache.

    At least Xbox Live has the ability to disable logging into Xbox live to play games. It's built on a system that includes maintenence and downtime. An expected consideration for any online service. Any service built to assume to 100% uptime is really bad architecture.

    • by SL Baur (19540) <steve@xemacs.org> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @01:09AM (#25261591) Homepage Journal

      Any service built to assume to 100% uptime is really bad architecture.

      True, but ... WGA, where the "A" stands for "Advantage" assumes 100% server uptime. Are you saying Microsoft should have learned from themselves?

    • by mcrbids (148650) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @03:49AM (#25262015) Journal

      Any service built to assume to 100% uptime is really bad architecture.

      If that's the case, then there are lots of really bad architectures in use.

      For example, Airline reservation systems. Or Slashdot. Or anything web-based. Or your Visa card, Mastercard, ATM card. Strange how effective those electronic debit machines are, even though they assume 100% uptime of the Visa/MC/Debit back end systems? What about your phone? Doesn't it assume 100% uptime of the call routers and connection?

      There are too many examples to mention.

      Assuming 100% uptime is only bad architecture if you can't reliably assume near-100% uptime. The important factor is the relative cost of downtime, not the assumption of uptime.

      For example, TCP provides a "guarantee of delivery". It overcomes many connection errors in the IP protocol, such as dropped packets, etc, intermittent connection errors, misrouted packets, out-of-order packet delivery, and so on. But no amount of algorithmic magic can change the fact that if somebody trips over a network cable, the destination server has been taken offline for a while.

      So we see the real issue isn't whether or not you can count on 100% uptime, but whether or not having downtime in your "100% available" costs all that much.

      Are you serving personal pictures on a home DSL line? If so, 99% uptime is probably for you. What's the real cost of a few days of unavailability per year?

      Are you serving data commercially? If so, the cost of anything more than maybe 99.9% uptime may not be worth it. (That's about 8 hours of downtime per year) Think about the freebie web server on your local ISP. If it's down for a couple of afternoons per year, is anybody going to complain much?

      Are you serving financial records for a state government? If so, the cost of anything more than maybe 99.99% uptime may not be worth it. (That's just under 1 hour of downtime per year)

      Are you serving cash Visa for nations? If so, anything more than 99.999% uptime may not be worth it. (That's about 5 minutes of downtime per year)

      Each of these "nines" costs exponentially more. A home computer running the latest consumer grade O/S can generally maintain 2 nines without too much difficulty. A basic server running a server O/S (EG: Linux) can generally sustain close to 3 nines without difficulty. When there's a problem, you can drive to the local colo to reboot the server. Keeping a spare server handy and reliable backups means you can recover in less than 8 hours or so. It gets pretty spendy at 4 nines: 99.99% gives you just under an hour. That means you are hosting a fully redundant cluster, with lots of realtime "auto-recover" options. And 99.999% uptime is insanely expensive. Not only are you fully redundant, but you are actually watching each individual process to ensure that it completes, even if the hardware/process dedicated to it fails.

      5 nines, along with high performance, can be ridiculously expensive.

      As a hosting provider, we're working hard on that "next nine" to do better than 99.9% uptime to achieve 99.99% uptime. When you have to deal with scale, and high performance, it's harder than you think.

      • by AdamInParadise (257888) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @04:44AM (#25262157) Homepage

        For example, Airline reservation systems. Or Slashdot. Or anything web-based. Or your Visa card, Mastercard, ATM card. Strange how effective those electronic debit machines are, even though they assume 100% uptime of the Visa/MC/Debit back end systems? What about your phone? Doesn't it assume 100% uptime of the call routers and connection?

        Actually, all those systems assume that the network will be down "sometimes" and have build-in mechanisms to deal with them. In some cases, there is no solution but to wait for the affected service to come back: my browser did not went dead during the Great Slashdot Blackout. In some other cases, they can continue to work in a degraded mode. For example, a merchant can accept credit and debit card "offline" and process them later. The risks are far greater than processing cards "online" but, hey, the merchant can still sell stuff even if the network is down. Same thing for ATMs: if the network is down, they will still accept cards but will only distribute small amounts of money.

        The case for phones is more interesting. The introduction of VOIP actually degraded the reliability of fixed-lines phones, including the reliability of emergency calls. VOIP operators usually weasel out of this mess by stating that "everyone has a cell phone now."

        Providing a 99.999% uptime is really expensive. Furthermore, in most cases you can't control every other point in the delivery chain (the network, the other participants' servers...), so a service must be able to deal with downtime. It seems possible to configure some BD players to prevent the disc to download new content. If the Ironman BD cannot run in this case, well that's just means that the application on the disc was not correctly tested.

  • by kandresen (712861) on Saturday October 04, 2008 @11:54PM (#25261211)

    I thought the only reason for Blue Ray was the enormous additional storage capacity it had.
    If now the movie in fact require downloading content from servers, then I bet they don't really use the capacity the disc really have, and make me believe a lot of people will be dissatisfied with the disk as the server is taken off air sometime realizing that some of the content they accessed no longer is available from what they believed to be a disc...

    • by dhall (1252) on Saturday October 04, 2008 @11:59PM (#25261231)

      I think part of the need for the extra capacity is the volume of the media in the place.

      The size difference of the data files from 480p to 720p to 1080p shouldn't be discounted. Having seen the media + added downloadable content as "value add" model on Xbox, it's a good idea in theory, but it appears Sony once again has questionable execution.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DigitAl56K (805623) *

        The size difference of the data files from 480p to 720p to 1080p shouldn't be discounted.

        I really doubt the Blu-Ray player is going to be downloading additional high quality 1080p content. For that to work you would need every Blu-Ray owner to have a reliable high speed internet connection or the experience would be ass.

        All of the "essential" video content should be on the disc, storage is not really an issue. Blu-Ray titles seem to be encoded at exorbitant data rates, which is great for quality, but there is headroom for plenty of extra features.

        Maybe there are protected features on the disc t

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 04, 2008 @11:59PM (#25261235)

      I thought the only reason for Blue Ray was the enormous additional storage capacity it had.
      If now the movie in fact require downloading content from servers, then I bet they don't really use the capacity the disc really have, and make me believe a lot of people will be dissatisfied with the disk as the server is taken off air sometime realizing that some of the content they accessed no longer is available from what they believed to be a disc...

      I'm sure the capacity is fine, but the paranoid media companies want to force you to use products that will phone home. "Online Content" sounds a hell of a lot nicer than than "DRM" doesn't it?

  • WFM. Well, FGFM. (Score:5, Informative)

    by fo0bar (261207) on Saturday October 04, 2008 @11:58PM (#25261227)

    Which really makes you wonder what will happen when they decide to shut down this service in a couple of years.

    People will get BD players that don't suck?

    I bought Iron Man shortly after work on Tuesday, and put it in my media center (currently running a demo of Arcsoft Totalmedia Theater). The branded "loading" screen spun for about 10 seconds, it gave me a warning saying it couldn't connect to the BD-Live server, and threw me to the disc's main menu.

    (Of course, there is a secondary WTF for the disc being mastered to try to download from BD-Live in the beginning, instead of when you go to the appropriate menu, but the primary WTF is the other players out there not failing gracefully to the disc.)

    Today I put the disc in again, and this time it downloaded the content.

    (Granted, there are real concerns about the key servers for authenticating BD/HD-DVD discs, but this discussion is just within the scope of downloading extra content via BD-Live.)

    • by narcberry (1328009) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @01:03AM (#25261557) Journal

      Sony's Log:
      1/1 11:38pm Fo0 watched Bikini Babes 14
      ...
      1/2 08:45pm Fo0 loaded Ironman
      1/2 08:45pm Sent ads for Bikini Babes 15 to Fo0
      1/2 08:46pm Fo0 watched Ironman
      ...
      6/6 06:66pm All viewing records subpoenaed and enter public record.

      • by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot@@@uberm00...net> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @01:53AM (#25261747) Homepage Journal

        Oh man, do I remember what I was doing at 6:66 PM that day... it was glorious. A beautiful flock of pigs were flying toward the sunset, and the ground beneath me seemed to be a touch colder (I remembered hearing about hell freezing over a couple of minutes beforehand). Meanwhile, someone, somewhere had divided by zero, causing my calendar to indicate that it was the year 1900.

        Good times, good times.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Temkin (112574)

        You can also build a DB of "first views". If there's a unique serial number on the player, or even the disc, this could then be used for enforcement purposes at a later time. For example, say the disc plays on a player that they later discover is owned by a conference center or a school, etc... That might indicate a "public performance" for which the work is not licensed, therefore copyright infringement.

        If the disc keeps popping up on different players, that might indicate a rental disc. If rental discs

  • by Loie (603717) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:03AM (#25261263)
    With all the storage capacity available on these blu-ray discs why should there be any downloading of additional content? Does the movie really fill up the whole disc? Forgive my ignorace, I still haven't made the blu-ray jump.
  • by hhawk (26580) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:04AM (#25261265) Homepage Journal

    On interactive TV forums I've written extensively talking about how web infrastructure isn't really for national TV and large events with not 100 or 1000 but multiple millions of people try to access the same data within a few seconds of each other.

    This is on a smaller scale but certainly proves the point; I do feel there are solutions for pre-caching to tiered servers through the network fabric; but some day when SuperBowl XXX runs and 200,000 TV sets try to access the same JavaTV Applets at the same time... that real fun begins.

    • by Zerth (26112)

      What, like the yearly Victoria Secret Server Meltdown?

      • by hhawk (26580)

        A good example. Is it still melting down? They should of figurd that out, but that is still nothing compared to major network events..

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by im_thatoneguy (819432)

      Yeah or someday there'll be something like a world wide event where the entire world comes to compete for two weeks and when people all try to access the videos which would be available on demand the entire internet will melt! Melt I SAY!

      They could even model this event after some sort of ancient event... perhaps a Grecian competition.

      Yep. I'm sure NBC and Microsoft have no idea how they're going to plan for such an event. And I'm certain it'll be a complete disaster.

      • by jibjibjib (889679)
        Did you even read the post you're replying to?

        Hint: It was about widespread use of Internet-based TV. Which is not what you're talking about.

    • by ConanG (699649) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @06:35AM (#25262573)
      Just an fyi. Superbowl xxx already happened.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mjec (666932)

      On interactive TV forums I've written extensively talking about how web infrastructure isn't really for national TV and large events with not 100 or 1000 but multiple millions of people try to access the same data within a few seconds of each other.

      This is on a smaller scale but certainly proves the point; I do feel there are solutions for pre-caching to tiered servers through the network fabric; but some day when SuperBowl XXX runs and 200,000 TV sets try to access the same JavaTV Applets at the same time... that real fun begins.

      The problem is that we're using unicast when we mean to broadcast. IP isn't really engineered for broadcast like TV is but that's what mass media needs. 200M people want the olympic opening ceremony? The main stream gets broadcast. Only things that are truly on demand, or only required by a few, is it reasonable to unicast -- be they Klingon subtitles or the names of the current members of the IOC.

  • by MojoRilla (591502) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:10AM (#25261297)
    Here's a better story [yahoo.com] by the way.

    So I'm trying to decide if this was evil or just total incompetence.

    On the evil side, we have:
    • Release a disk with mandatory downloads. They would have to know this will end up bricking the movie for fans. Perhaps they are thinking they can sell "upgraded" disks to the same fans again years later without the stupid download.
    • Since no one could be so stupid as to not plan for heavy traffic and use a CDN for content (which they now are), perhaps they planned this failure to get some press about the release of their disk.
    • Tell people that it shouldn't happen again, but you have provided a menu to skip the download as if that should make people happy. The fact that they could change the menu means it had to load the menu from their web site. So it still can have timeout issues.

    And on the incompetence side.

    • Stupidly release a movie which not only downloads mandatory content, but doesn't time out if the download fails. Internet 101 here. 10 minutes trying to connect to a server. Please.
    • Don't scale your servers to anticipate traffic. Using a CDN to serve this content is absolutely a no brainer.

    Hard to tell. Both are unbelieveable, yet this happened. Thankfully, there is a solution. Don't connect your Blue Ray player to the internet. That will work for now, until they start tying DRM into BD-Live. Idiots.

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Windows XP on my work laptop is just like this; booting will stall for several minutes as the anti-virus software tries to phone home if the network interface is enabled but not plugged in. It's horribly annoying.

      Though to be fair, my linux computer can't shut down correctly, either, because it gets to "unmounting network filesystems" and just sits there forever.

      • by SL Baur (19540) <steve@xemacs.org> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @01:21AM (#25261635) Homepage Journal

        Though to be fair, my linux computer can't shut down correctly, either, because it gets to "unmounting network filesystems" and just sits there forever.

        No, that's not fair. A network mounted disk is very much a horse of another feather, or something like that.

        If you have any local state that has not been written back to the disk, it will be lost forever. In that instance you want to do a umount -f and kiss whatever data you most recently dealt with goodbye.

        Definitely NOT the same thing.

    • by sukotto (122876) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:29AM (#25261413)

      Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
      -- Hanlon's razor

      I've worked with Marketing people before and can easily believe that they had no clue about the infrastructure requirements and possible fail points. Actually, even if they did, they wouldn't have asked a techie. They would have asked the techie's manager who probably told them "don't worry about it.

      Business as usual in a big, dysfunctional, corporate environment.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)

      You forgot one on the stupid side:

      Release your movie in such a way that people who buy it can't play it. Frustrated customers return disc as broken and download movie from The Pirate Bay.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aplusjimages (939458)
      The downloads aren't mandatory. The BR players are just set to automatically download, which I'm sure most of them can turn this feature off. The content that the Iron Man movie downloaded was extra interactive features, like live chat. Not something required to view the movie. I am surprised that they didn't build their servers to handle such a popular movie. It's almost as if they didn't think Blu-Ray was that popular.
  • Poor planning... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PhasmatisApparatus (1086395) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:10AM (#25261299)
    ...from companies who have also bought into DRM. Go figure, right?

    That optional, downloadable content would slow down the movie itself is just another extension of the two minutes of FBI warning I am forced to sit through when I play a DVD in a standard player.

    How much further will this go before the majority of people begin to care?
    • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @01:01AM (#25261549)

      Whenever someone mentions ads on a website someone (okay, lots of someones) pipe up and ask "ads? I haven't seen an ad in years!"

      Well the ripping and DeCSS software takes care of the FBI warnings, trailers, commercials and mandatory calling home.

      The movie studios are faithfully following recent examples and shooting themselves in the feet.

  • Okay. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by E-Sabbath (42104) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:12AM (#25261315)

    Dead serious question here. I don't have a Blu-Ray player yet. Under what circumstances do they need to be hooked to the internet? Do you have to hook them up when you're doing initial setup? Do you have to hook them up when you want to play any DVD? Do you have to hook them up when you want to play a disc with BD-Live content? What would happen if you just didn't have it hooked to the net and tried to play this?

    • Re:Okay. (Score:5, Informative)

      by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:21AM (#25261363)

      The answer is there are no circumstances under which a BD player truly needs to be hooked to the internet. In fact many BD players don't even have network connectivity. The only "advantage" to a player that does offer internet connectivity is that it offers a way for the studios to monitor what you are watching, and to deliver extra material to your player, and a way to obtain firmware updates for the player.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dreamchaser (49529)

        You make it sound like being able to update firmware easily over the Internet is a trival advantage. It's not, given the ever changing nature of the Blu Ray 'standard'.

        The real problem is it's a moving target and if you don't buy a 'net connected player you might just be SOL in the near future with a new release. THAT is a problem.

    • Re:Okay. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dhalka226 (559740) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:37AM (#25261447)

      My experience is with a PS3 as a Blu-Ray player, but I'll answer the questions as best I can.

      Do you have to hook them up when you're doing initial setup?

      No.

      Do you have to hook them up when you want to play any DVD?

      No.

      Do you have to hook them up when you want to play a disc with BD-Live content?

      Not to view the movie, but the BD-Live content would require you to have an active Internet connection.

      What would happen if you just didn't have it hooked to the net and tried to play this?

      You would have all of the content of the disc available, but none of the extra features (whatever those may be) that come from the BD-Live segment.

  • Design Flaw... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TavisJohn (961472)

    This sounds like a MASSIVE Design Flaw. It is either a flaw with the BluRay standard, or with the way paramount made the BluRay disk. It should ALWAYS default to an error if the online content can't be downloaded...

    However DVD's and BluRay do not NEED downloadable content. Just but the G** **MN content on the DISKS!!! Most people keep their DVD's for years! I have a few that are over 10 years old! And NOBODY is going to keep servers up and running forever just because some movies they released have on

  • by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:19AM (#25261347) Homepage Journal

    pirated movies

    it's not just about avoiding $20

    it's about avoiding this kind of bullshit

    when you weigh down your product with this kind of bullshit, pirate product is superior product

    retards

    • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @01:04AM (#25261559)

      It's pretty easy to rip a DVD now. I much prefer having them on a hard drive, ready to play, no mandatory previews and FBI warning.

      It doesn't take much of a step to realize that it would be a lot easier to just download them already that way rather than buying the DVD and ripping it yourself.

  • Pure FUD (Score:5, Informative)

    by FSWKU (551325) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:19AM (#25261349)
    There is no requirement to actually utilize the BD-Live features to watch this title. I picked it up the other day, popped the disc into my PS3 and let it load. You know what happened? A screen came up ASKING wether or not I wanted to download the additional content. I chose not to, and it continued on its merry way to the main menu and I was able to watch the movie without any issues whatsoever.

    No BD-Live just means I can't have the option to have random quiz questions pop up on my screen during the film like "What kind of plane is shooting at Iron Man?" (F-22, btw). So no, it won't cause the world to end if they shut down the servers. All you have to do is click "No" and continue on to watch the movie that you actually bought the disc for.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      All that rage and bitterness from the Xbox fanboys who spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on worthless HD-DVD products has to go somewhere. These periodic 'OMG!!! BluRay Rapes Kitten" stories on Slashdot are like therapy for Xbox/HD-DVD fanboys.

      • by friedmud (512466) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:40AM (#25261473)

        I, for one, am one of the people that invested in HD-DVD and hoped it would win out (I thought it was superior technology).... but the same week that Toshiba gave up the ghost... I went out and bought a PS3 and have never looked back.

        People need to get over it. Bluray + PS3 = Really Good Platform. The PS3 just does so much more than just playing movies or games... I don't see how anyone with an HDTV and sound system gets by without one...

        Anyway... I agree with the GP. I popped in Iron Man last night (rented) and it asked me if I wanted to download the BD-Live stuff. I didn't care so I just clicked "No" and we were able to watch the movie without issue.

        BTW - What is the BFD about this movie? I waited to see it from Netflix like usual... but I was really anticipating a great movie from all the hype it got when it was released. Both my wife and I agreed that it was a mediocre movie at best. It had a lot of ridiculous plot elements and quite a few instances of bad acting. The camera work felt cliche and the dialog was uninspired. I just don't get it. I had a friend of mine say that he liked Iron Man more than the Dark Knight... but I don't think they're even in the same league...

        Friedmud

        • by FSWKU (551325)

          BTW - What is the BFD about this movie? I waited to see it from Netflix like usual... but I was really anticipating a great movie from all the hype it got when it was released. Both my wife and I agreed that it was a mediocre movie at best. It had a lot of ridiculous plot elements and quite a few instances of bad acting. The camera work felt cliche and the dialog was uninspired. I just don't get it. I had a friend of mine say that he liked Iron Man more than the Dark Knight... but I don't think they're even

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nine-times (778537)

          BTW - What is the BFD about this movie?

          I suspect that expectations were just really low. For one thing, it's Iron Man. I know Iron Man has some hardcore fans, but he's really not one of the major heroes. (I'm sure some Iron Man fan will flip out at hearing this and tell me all about how he has played a major role in some terribly important events in the Marvel universe.) Also, a big project of that sort, with a relatively unproven director, and I think people imagined all sorts of ways that this thing could turn bad. These sorts of movies g

    • by TrekkieGod (627867) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @01:46PM (#25265479) Homepage Journal

      There is no requirement to actually utilize the BD-Live features to watch this title. I picked it up the other day, popped the disc into my PS3 and let it load. You know what happened? A screen came up ASKING wether or not I wanted to download the additional content. I chose not to, and it continued on its merry way to the main menu and I was able to watch the movie without any issues whatsoever.

      Well, I picked it up on Tuesday, popped the disc into my PS3 and let it load. It didn't. A blue flashing circle showed up on the screen, and no message whatsoever about what was happening appeared. I took the disc out. I cleaned it and put it back on. I changed the input on the tv and WATCHED A 45 MINUTE TV EPISODE on my DVR, then went back to it to see if it had finished doing whatever it was that it was doing. It hadn't. Eventually I figured it out that it was due to BD-Live servers and changed the PS3 settings.

      Here's what happened with you. Either you picked it up before their servers started messing up / after their servers were back up by which point they added the additional menu option that asks if you want to download the additional content or you had your PS3 set up to "ask" before connecting to BD-Live.

      Under BD settings for the PS3 there's an option on whether or not to allow the Blu-Ray discs to connect to BD-Live servers. Here's the fucking catch. The two options are "allow" and "ask". You can't set it to I never want to fucking connect . So those of us who were tired of having the menu pop up every single time we put a blu-ray on the PS3 asking if we could allow it to connect to BD-Live had given up and set it to "allow." Then the servers were overloaded, the disc menu never said it was connecting to the net, so I didn't think to turn that feature off, and we had a horrible experience. So no, it's not fud.

  • I bought the disk Tuesday also and watched it that evening on my PS3. As mentioned earlier, the PS3 gives you the option to dload or not. I first tried it with my wireless disabled for the PS3 and it seemed to play fine. I then reloaded the disk and selected yes, dload content. It took about 1 minute (I have 6mg DSL). I did'nt watch the traffic to see how much content was dloaded, or to see if anything was actually dloaded other than Sony's rootkit..err... "User Experience Enhancement". It seemed to play th
  • by cyberfunkr (591238) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:42AM (#25261477)

    I think there was more to it than just the BD-Live issues.

    Around 9:00pm we tried playing the disc on a first-gen PS3 80GB (just for reference) and it kept getting stuck at the loading screen (the ARC reactor and nothing else). Finally at 9:50pm we went back to the shop and exchanged it. Back home by 10:10pm, popped the disc in and it went through to the regular menu on the first try.

    Did the server manage to come back to life in the 20 minutes it took to get a different disc? Or were there really a bad batch of discs?

  • DIVX !! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GodWasAnAlien (206300) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @01:27AM (#25261663)

    DIVX players that phoned home was a great idea that mysteriously failed.

    Let's secretly try again with the new BD-drm players.

    Then we can sell BD-disposables which only work in a phone-home player.

    HD-DIVX-DRM+. The ultimate way to hide our data from those consumers!!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05, 2008 @02:24AM (#25261833)

    This definitely breaks First-sale Doctrine. coming straight from Wikipedia:

    "In 1997 in Novell v. Network Trade Center 25 F. Supp. 2d 1218 (C.D. Utah 1997)[2] purchaser is an "owner" by way of sale and is entitled to the use and enjoyment of the software with the same rights as exist in the purchase of any other good. Said software transactions do not merely constitute the sale of a license to use the software. The shrinkwrap license included with the software is therefore invalid as against such a purchaser insofar as it purports to maintain title to the software in the copyright owner. Under the first sale doctrine, NTC was able to redistribute the software to end-users without copyright infringement. Transfer of a copyrighted work that is subject to the first sale doctrine extinguishes all distribution rights of the copyright holder upon transfer of title."

    and

    "In 2008, in Timothy S. Vernor v. Autodesk Inc.[2], a U.S. Federal District Judge in Washington rejected a software vendor's argument that it only licensed copies of its software, rather than selling them, and that therefore any resale of the software constituted copyright infringement. Judge Richard A. Jones cited first-sale doctrine when ruling that a reseller was entitled to sell used copies of the vendor's software regardless of any licensing agreement that might have bound the software's previous owners [3]."

  • While I haven't examined the disc itself, it seems incredibly unlikely that it's DRM.

    I would lean towards something far simpler: A software update.

    With HD-DVD, at least, there were rather huge differences between various players. National Geographic managed to put one out which wouldn't play on the Xbox 360.

    And I don't really know of anyone, other than us (mostly me), who was trying to trim download sizes. For the most part, an update would mean downloading everything that wasn't audio or video -- so, all t

  • by DrXym (126579) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @04:06AM (#25262073)
    Paramount decided that every BD-Live player should automatically connect to their servers as soon as it was played. With every PS3 offering BD-Live it meant they were deluged with requests. On top of that, they never bothered to make the disks indicate progress or gracefully handle timeouts so lots of people thought their disks had frozen.

    There is nothing in the spec that requires this. If they had wanted they could have tested if the player supported networking and added a new menu which allowed users to manually connect to their servers for extra content.

    Frankly this is all Paramount's own fault. Aside from the technical fuckup, I have to question the whole ethic of a disk that automatically "phones home" just by inserting it. For starters it means Paramount are tracking usage of this title. It also means the experience could change every time its loaded. Could we see adverts or new trailers being inserted onto disk? Or studios prominently promoting their own online stores or other content? What happens in 10 years if the website bitrots? Will the disk even play any more or will it hang like it did here?

    I think it's very telling that the first prominent user of BD-Live immediately abuses it. BD-Live is IMO a waste of time and will continue to be while it used in such superficial and intrusive ways. Every 2.0 player should have the option to disable internet on a global and per-disk basis. Maybe some day a disk will produce a compelling use for it but nothing comes close yet.

  • According to most sources, the content is downloaded as soon as a disc is first inserted into the player.

    That shouldn't be possible. I mean, literally, technically, you should have to explicitly permit a disc to access to internet outside of the disc's content - something in the player software that the disc can't override or ignore. What else can blu-ray discs do on your player? Pull up a list of other discs you've watched, phone home about them, ...?

  • by rikkards (98006) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:13AM (#25263151) Journal

    Maybe they should use bittorrent to alleviate the load on their servers. :)

  • It's a trap! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DragonTHC (208439) <Dragon@NoSPAM.gamerslastwill.com> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:08PM (#25264541) Homepage Journal

    Think closely on this one.

    When you put the movie in, it must contact a server before you can play it?

    This is bullshit DRM. It's not even buying a movie, it's just a rental. This is a violation of every edict of consumerism.

    And this is exactly why I refuse to buy blu-ray.

  • by earlymon (1116185) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @12:50PM (#25264927) Homepage Journal

    Every BD article has plenty of posts about early adopters and waiting. And posts about how BD isn't worth it.

    This article, however, really clarifies the issues. I think in the backs of our minds we've all seen them - but I've recently learned by contemplating my navel that differences in computer marketing vs. all-other marketing is prolly making us all schizophrenic - or quadraphrenic - and burying obvious things we know or making us discuss them obtusely.

    1. By the time BD could come down in price - volume shakeout in manufacturing, etc. - there should be new video codecs (normal (whatever that means) evolutionary time assumed) and faster processors. It seems more and more obvious that this adds up to better lossless compression. And that for me implies full HD content on normal DVD media. (Anecdotal proof - BD is so old, AFAIR, Apple was pre-Intel when first supporting it. Whack away if I'm mis-remembering. Not to say that we should use Apple calendars, just saying, most remember that, and can think of the many tech changes since then.)

    2. By the time BD has its approach to consumers with respect to live content figured out (repeat - approach to consumers, not technical issues) - there will have been another revolution in internetworking and web designs and web threats.

    BD is beyond a non-starter as of right now.

    Compare DVD:
    0. Develop
    1. Only game in town (practically, um-k?, let's overlook laser discs from two generations earlier)
    2. Format figured out by the time players hit
    3. No change to format
    4. Price comes down due to usual market and manufacturing processes
    5. Early adopters may more for privilege (nothing wrong with that!!!!), overall, consumers win

    Compare BD:
    0. Develop
    1. HD-DVD comes out as a fuck-you-me-too
    2. BD rushed to market to combat HD-DVD, well before intended release
    3. Design not finished
    4. Format and delivery options vague or driven by too-soon-to-market
    5. Some early adopters report already being fucked
    6. BD providers scrambling to fix live content delivery problems, DRM woes - minimize fuck-you to early adopters and protect BD reputation
    7. Rushed development to market - were live delivery or protection requirements really known???

    There was no incentive for DVD changes other than price from day one. It just worked.

    There is a lot of incentive for BD change from day one. It does not just work.

    BD madness must end. Continued consumption of BD products is support for a format that either might not survive, or will cause BD to survive in a fit of corporate face-saving when better solutions could have existed, or are known to exist by some researchers, but become buried.

    Summary:
    The development and beta cycles for BD are out of whack because of the HD-DVD war. Money and time lost. More money and time will be - or should be - spent to recover. No proof that proper recover with newer technology won't achieve same results with DVD media, different DVD content layout. Feel free to substitute XXX for DVD in above argument, where XXX is better solution following DVD-to-market model.

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