walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Alas, seagate wireless plus and apple are not playing well together

I recently learned about the existence of the Seagate Wireless Plus and similar devices. They are external hard drives. You can plug them into your computer. But they also have wifi, so you can connect to them with your phone or tablet as you would connect to any wireless network. There are apps for your phones and tablets that let you access and play the content on this and similar drives.

So, for a couple hundred bucks, in theory, you can get a device a little bigger than a short stack of 3x5 cards with about 10 hours battery life. You can fill it up with media. You can bring it in the car with you on a road trip, and all the kiddies can stream music, movies, etc. from it. Yay!

Well, it worked until iOS 8, at which point the DRM on videos bought through iTunes quit working when played back through 3rd party media apps, such as the one that works with this lovely piece of technology that won an award when it was introduced at CES a couple years ago.


It is completely unclear whether Apple thinks this is a bug or "the way it is supposed to work". I am on the fence about whether to return the device immediately, since it does not work for the purpose I bought it for (yes, I am aware that there are other solutions for dealing with the DRM; I'm just not sure whether I feel like putting that much effort into it at this time). I may poke around and see what the situation is like for video acquired through Amazon, because we have some over there, too.

In the meantime, I'm downloading a bunch of video too an external drive I already had for my laptop, which is where my iTunes directory lives. If the hotel wireless sucks and the kids want to watch video, they can fight over the laptop, I guess.

The problem is not limited to Seagate -- Western Digital and other companies producing related products have the exact same issue.
Tags: daily activities

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