I'm a backer of the Veronica Mars kickstarter campaign. As one of my first backings, I was a bit overwhelmed by the options, but settled on th $35 level so that I'd be guaranteed a digital copy a few days after the theatrical release. You've probably heard how much of a clusterfuck the whole release has been.
First, I backed this campaign to get a movie. Second, I backed this campaign to get a movie earlier than the Bluray/DVD release as movie theatres kind of creep me out with their super-sticky floors (that can't just be spilled pop) and their smell of popcorn and body odor. Perhaps back in the day, before all the over-comercialization and food, movie theaters would have had their appeal to me.
When I heard that the digital copies would be released to those who did and didn't back the campaign on the same day, I immediately wondered if the servers housing this digitial copy would be able to handle the demand the 91,000 backers alone would put on it, not to mention the rest of the world that wants to (and would now be able to) watch the movie right away. I was prepared to start the download of the movie in the morning before I left for work in hopes it would be downloaded by this evening so my wife and I could watch it.
The next big blow: the movie is only being released to backers through ultraviolet and Flixster. Questionably the worst streaming service out there. It's for your computer, or your mobile device. What's the point of getting to watch a movie on the day its released if you have to watch it on your tiny computer instead of a nice home theatre with digital surround?
With the plethora of digital equipment in my house, I figured I would be able to somehow get it on to my TV. My bluray player connects to BestBuy's CinemaNow, and Vudu. My AppleTV would be able to AirPlay anything on my iMac (although not my MacBook Pro cause it's too old.) My smartTV also has some streaming options.
Flixster connected to Ultraviolet which connected to BestBuy's CinemaNow which I was able to open on my Bluray player. Awesome. I had a way to watch the stupid ultraviolet/flixster movie. Boy was I wrong. Every copy of every movie I had on Ultraviolet would not play. All I got was, "there's some issue; contact best buy help." Awesome. Plus, while logged in on my computer, I saw that none of my devices connectable to TVs would be able to play the HD version on the movie. I'd be stuck with SD. That's one hell of an expensive Stardard Definition movie that I can't even watch.
I went to Vudu now. Connected my ultravoilet account (this is now the 4th account I've had to use to maybe watch the movie. 4th!) and connected on my Bluray player. No movies. None at all. I reset the Bluray player (turned it on and back off again) and the movies finally showed up. We're in business, right? WRONG! My original fears were brought to life. The streaming servers couldn't keep up. I barely got 2 mins of the movie at a time before it buffered. And vudu's buffering is terrible. It stops the video, puts up the movie cover with a loading graphic, buffers, starts the audio, then lets the video catch up. Not a way to watch a movie.
So there's a buffering problem; how about I download it and then watch it? Sounds reasonable, right? Turns out that this flixster app, the one that the mars people said was the only way to get the movie out to everyone at the same time (bullshit, by the way), won't install on OS X Mavericks. The default archiver won't unzip the file. I tried Archiver, which unzipped it, but it won't run. So there goes the idea of getting the movie to everyone on opening night. Those of us with Macs are completely screwed. Can't stream it without buffering, can't download it because we can't install the downloader.
Had I not pledged, I could have bought the movie in HD from iTunes and been watching it right now. But I chose to back something and got screwed by the big movie companies again.
I still have not seen it.
So what have I learned from this experience is to not back anything that has big movie potential. Only back those indie movies, people!