This Is Why DRM Sucks

The short version of this story: a little over a month ago I signed up for a UFC video subscription that would allow me to watch an unlimited amount of UFC fights. This is a lot better than their previous model of $1.99 per fight where the fight timed out after 30 days. Who would pay for that? Paying $9.99 USD/month and getting access to all the content is a bit expensive, but for a real fan, not too bad. So I ponied up, thinking that the DRM (Digital Rights Management) wasn’t going to cause me too many problems. Well, it turns out that their system isn’t quite ready to work with Windows Vista. First I sent two emails to tech support with error details, only to have them tell me that they couldn’t help me, I needed to do a live tech support chat. Tech support told me to try a few different things – installing a DRM software update patch, digging through hidden folders looking for the DRM cache, etc. Every time I tried something new and then tried to watch a fight again, their “player” (which is just an IE window with an embedded Windows Media Player control) would take me away from the chat, forcing me to re-start the chat by filling out a tech request form. I wasted 45 minutes on this whole process before it was finally wrapped up in the chat below.

Welcome to the UFC Technical and Billing Support queue.
You have been connected to Zachary Richards.

Zachary Richards: Hi, Jason.
Jason Dunn: <sigh>
Jason Dunn: This is really frustrating
Zachary Richards: Yeah, I can see that you weren’t able to get a license.
Zachary Richards: You’ve been able to view before, though, correct?
Jason Dunn: On the UFC Help page, did you know that the “Live support” graphic is linked to a form that says “Leave a message”
Jason Dunn: and only the text link takes me to the chat?
Jason Dunn: they should really both link to the live chat, it’s very confusing
Jason Dunn: anyway, you see the error obviously
Jason Dunn: I think I was able to view on XP, but never on Vista Continue reading This Is Why DRM Sucks