I decided to go in cold and try it out.
While playing with this, I suddenly noticed a couple things about this site: they used a massive java client and they had this blue frog as a logo. Now where the hell had I seen that before? Oh yes. Azureus, the Bittorrent Client That Eats Your Machine Like a Starving Fat Man Finding a Ham. It’d been a while since I’d let Moby Azureus onto my box, but I take suggestions and so I went ahead with downloading it and installing it, a pretty painless process..
The client is slicker than I remember. If I was someone using Vuze for anything other than downloading the usual fun stuff, I’d probably think I was merely on a really nice little client, that it’s one candy colored piece of plastic. In fact, this is a slick interface over a standard bittorrent client. (I tend to use utorrent for such things, which I always thought of as “Azureus without the machine resource hogging”). I tried downloading/viewing some of the HD stuff. Apparently they’ve jiggered their bittorrent protocol so it favors the beginnings of files, so you can start streaming them immediately. That takes me back to the good old days of Kazaa, when it first came out and you could click on some music and the music started playing instantly. AWESOME. So far, so good, I guess.
Of course, when you do this e-z content accessing, your machine becomes a big two-way server providing your data and bandwidth to everyone who wants anything you have. Ostensibly, this includes what you paid for, or something. I found downloading the main stuff painless. I didn’t like having ads involved in it, so by downloading it through Azureus, not playing it through their stupid client, and then playing it in, say, OpenVLC, I didn’t need to see extra ads to see, say, another ad, like the Watchmen Trailer. OK, good enough, the thing rewards giving a crap. Extra points for that.
So I went to go see what they had for stuff I could buy, and how that worked.
Most of the channels with “content” are either sucked-up-from-the-web stuff (animations, shorts, memetastic boofery) or they’re movie trailers. The “Sony Channel”, the “Universal Channel”… you can’t download movies, just the trailers for them. Whoop de do. I wanted to pay for and download something, and see what that did.
Somewhere here I started noticing what I noticed about Azureus: it is just a galactic fucking pig. It eats bandwidth so badly my web browsers stop functioning. Stuff I was doing stops dead, or becomes heavily unresponsive, like my FiOS connection has been replaced with a broken modem. I hated that about Azureus. I hate that about Fuze. Ostensibly someone having to download my movies after paying for them would have this problem too. Strike one. At least you can clearly see the stupid blue frog in the task bar and kill it. Assuming you know that’s what’s doing this to your connection.
Ah, some of the Showtime content appears to be actual episodes! They even have those helpful and friendly message at the bottom: “The license for this video is limited to 30 days from purchase or 2 days from the time you start viewing it, whichever is sooner. This video may be viewed on 1 computer.”
Well, time to download this magical file which can protect itself like that… oh look! Vuze is demanding I load Internet Explorer so it can do a “compatibility check”. Fail. Fail, fail. Obviously it’s using some Windows Media Player bullshit to control the item. Fuck that right in the ear.
OK, step back. Let’s say I just want to sell my movie free of DRM for a couple bucks. Can I do that? Is anyone doing that?
Well, Vuze definitely has a FAQ question about selling stuff. They take 50% and you have to sell it over $2, and a bunch of other limitations. Nothing seemed too crazy on a skim. If this was a legitimate, popular service, I could almost see it.
But you know, I couldn’t really find anyone SELLING anything. Some had limited releases (i.e. Windows Media with K-Razy Limits built in) but I couldn’t find anything where it wanted some fucking money from me. Not good.
I even turned on the porn option (allow mature content, which didn’t require I provide proof or sign-off of age or anything), to see if somebody, anybody wanted to grab a few coins out of me so I could see some tit. Nothing. Just the limitations, and that’s it.
I found some games that, when you downloaded them, demanded money. Great. So why the hell would I be using Vuze at all? It was a 4.54mb file to download Gears of War, which then reached out and snuggled the servers it needed to sell me the game. Come on.
OK, so the chances of this service attracting me are a tad slim.
Next, it’s good to see what people think of Vuze, before I consider throwing my lot in with them. Well, it appears they’ve had not one, or two, but three rounds of layoffs this year, including dismissing their PR/Marketing staff and apparently having a lot of their commercial partners yank out of the thing. The implication of this article is that they’re moving away from for-sale items and going towards free-stuff-with-ads. Not interested. Not interested at all.
The search continues. Keep the suggestions coming.
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