31 October 2011

Zune Movie Download on XBox 360: Don’t!

Microsoft charges money for nothing then denies it’s their problem. What’s new?

Zune offers movies for download via the XBox 360 and it used to work fine for me about three years ago but recently I’ve tried to download two movies which have both failed spectacularly, resulting in me paying money for nothing.

Firstly the download speed is INCREDIBLY slow. I mean dial up modem slow: for a 7.3GB file it took 2.5 hours to get 16%. So basically you need to know about a day in advance when you’re going to want a movie. I tried:

But it still failed. Twice.

Once or twice I managed to get a partial download: The download just stops mid-way through for no apparent reason and says “Partial Download”. The official XBox answer is… wait for it: to delete and re-download it… WHAT?! Which usability guru thought that was a good idea? I’ve just spent a day downloading part of it, I don’t want to start again!

So anyway after I'd tried and failed to download the first movie I just thought “oh well, it’s probably just my ISP being busy on a Saturday night, but after the second failed as well, even after taking the steps above I’ve concluded it just doesn’t work.

I did a few searches on the subject and found many posts from people with the same problem. The result is always the same: Microsoft said it was nothing to do with them, pointing at the Zune team, who said it was the ISP, who blamed router setup. Anyone for a game of pass the buck? I decided life is too short.

Of course I could (spend hours on the) phone to XBox support (speaking to someone who just doesn’t care) but when I’ve contacted them in the past about other issues they have always utterly failed to give me anything but the most basic ‘help’. It always feels like they are just reading from their own website… which I’m capable of doing myself without it making me want to tear my own hair out and eat it.


[Update] It looks like Zune might get what it deserves by being wiped off the face of the earth, at least according to one Paul Thurrott in a post on 16th Feb 2011: About Zune. Yes, Microsoft is killing it”. I just hope he’s right.

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