Star Trek: The Movie on USB Stick

Today I saw something I'd been hoping to see for some time now: a movie released on USB stick. Specifically, the latest Star Trek movie in a limited-edition USB stick shaped like a Communicator.

Unboxing The Precious

You can watch my unboxing of it, above, to see that they really did put some care into the packaging. Unfortunately, the same care didn't seem to go into the software side of it (e.g., when you plug it into your Mac, it shows up as "NO NAME" – quite a large oversight.)

Watching the movie: DivX VOD

To watch the movie, you have to download the DivX player, get a DivX account, and activate the movie online using the activation code in the package and your email address.

The first time I did this, I got an error telling me that I wasn't licensed to view the movie. What I missed (and it's easy to miss) was this tiny little link in Step 3 of the activation process instructing me to download a .tix file with my license in it.

The tiny download link for the Star Trek license file.Needless to say, this is a huge usability FAIL that the Star Trek folks need to address. Center that baby, make it 30pt or something and heck, add an icon for good measure so no one can possibly miss it.

Once you download the license file, double click it to launch it and you should be up and running with the movie in the DivX player.

You can apparently play the film in up to 7 devices, including your PS3.

Watching the movie on a PS3

To get it up and running on the PS3, you need to register for an account with DivX and download the DivX player, as mentioned above. Then, on your PS3, go to Settings → System Settings → DivX VOD Registration Code and note down the code displayed on that screen.

Register a DivX Certified Device menu option in the DivX PlayerFinally, in the DivX player on your computer, go to VOD → Register a DivX Certified Device… → and enter the DivX VOD Registration Code you noted from the PS3.

The DivX player should tell you that you need to download a registration video and play it back on your PS3 to complete the registration process.

This is where the Star Trek USB key comes in handy. Download the registration video and copy it on to your USB key. Then plug that into the PS3 and navigate to Video → USB Device (Flash Disk) from the main menu.

Do not enter the USB Device (Flash Disk) option using the "X" button the controller as you will see a message alerting you that "there are no titles" (usability FAIL). Instead, use the green triangle button to bring up the Options screen and then select the highlighted Display All option.

DivX VOD activation screen on the PS3

Now, you should see the PS3 DivX activation movie and the Star Trek movie. Play the DivX activation movie and you should see a screen telling you that your PS3 has now been activated. You should now be set up to watch DivX VOD movies on your PS3. Of course, you can test this right away by watching your new Star Trek movie in glorious HD.

USB to the Future

I have to say, this feels far more like the future than Blu-Ray. Me likes. And yet the usability can be improved and the process simplified. If anyone from Sony/DivX/etc. is reading this, feel free to get in touch with me as I'd love to work with you on improving the flow.