Farewell to ClearPlay

[UPDATED NOTE: This blog posting continues to receive a lot of traffic from those interested in edited movie content. As of May 2015, here is the status of edited movie choices: 1) VidAngel continues to impress with their edited streaming video business. Not only can you stream to your mobile device, but you can stream directly to your TV using a variety of options. Their pricing model is very attractive as well (just $2 for an HD movie). See one of the founders comments, below, on other details and check out their site! 2) ClearPlay has received a lot of attention as of late as they finally released their long awaited bluray player. Filters can now be downloaded and added to the player automatically which is a nice feature. ClearPlay also has edited streaming content as well, though from what I can tell, VidAngel still trumps them in that area both in content and pricing. 3) You can still purchase edited movies HERE, HERE, and HERE. I have no idea as to the legality of those sites but they’ve been operational for many years now.]

[NOTE: Since originally writing this post, ClearPlay has announced that they’ll be releasing a bluray player later this year (2014) and will also be entering the edited streaming video market. Details on this announcement are scarce at this point. Check their website for updates. If you’re interested in edited streaming video, I’d highly recommend you check out http://vidangel.com for a company who has already released hundreds of filters for streaming video content]

I’ve been a ClearPlay member and supporter for more than 10 years now. I was there when they released their first software that allowed you to watch edited DVDs on a computer; I was there when they released their first actual DVD player under the RCA brand; I was there when they released their first DVD player allowing for filters to be loaded via USB; and I was there when they came out with their upconvert “HD” player. In fact if client loyalty equates to dollars spent with a company, I’m as loyal as they come.  

After 10+ years of support, I’m saying farewell to ClearPlay.

Why you ask? Good question. Yes, I’m still one who enjoys watching quality movies without all of the inappropriate content. That hasn’t changed. But what has changed is technology. And with that change in technology has come different ways to enjoy movies compared to the traditional DVD method. Take bluray and streaming for example.

My wife and I now buy all of our movies in the blu-ray format. Why continue to invest in DVD when it’s clearly on its way out? And why not spend an extra $5 or $10 to own a movie that is clearly superior in video quality?

We are also Netflix subscribers and thus get a lot of our viewing content via streaming video. It’s convenient, it’s cheap, and there are a lot of options. True, they don’t usually have the latest and greatest releases, but we’ve found plenty to watch all the same. Particularly movies that are a bit older but still considered “gems” in anyone’s book. New content is being added all the time including a myriad of television show options.

The problem of course is that ClearPlay has ignored bluray and has ignored streaming. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen comments on their Facebook page from subscribers or interested parties wanting to know when they are going to release a bluray player. Either those comments are ignored or they receive a short reply of “We have no information at this time.” Is one in the works ClearPlay? I fail to understand why you just won’t let us know. You don’t even need to give details or a release date. Just give us HOPE!

On the streaming front, has ClearPlay even approached Netflix or Amazon or Vudu or any of the other streaming movie providers? I put up a petition many months ago asking for ClearPlay and Netflix to work together, and have even sent Netflix letters asking for the possibility of forming a partnership. No replies. And ClearPlay is equally silent on the attempts they have or haven’t made. With over 250 signatures thus far, people are interested!

There are two other things that factored into my decision to drop ClearPlay.

The one has to do with DVD availability. Yes, you can rent DVDs from RedBox to put into your ClearPlay player. But renting from RedBox means you’ll be renting new releases only (and good luck renting those new releases on the weekends). If you want to watch something that’s more than 3-4 months old, you’ll be out of luck. How do you enjoy all of those ClearPlay filters for older titles? Well, you either have to buy the movie, OR, you have to subscribe to a DVD mail plan since the brick and mortar Blockbuster stores are quickly becoming a thing of the past.

There is one other thing which probably doesn’t belong in this particular posting since it doesn’t have much to do with ClearPlay’s failure to keep up with technology shifts. But I mention it only because it’s a factor in my decision to leave ClearPlay.
It has to do with movies themselves.
It dawned on me recently that my family and I haven’t really been using ClearPlay that much. In fact, when I look back to 2012, we probably used it only five times. That would equate to $15/movie to watch it edited (ClearPlay membership divided by 5). But cost analysis aside, I started to think about why I only watched five. And when I thought about it, it’s because I just wasn’t interested in the movies there were filters for, OR because the movies just don’t clean up very well, OR they still aren’t very appropriate even after they are filtered.

Let’s examine some of the comments of our very own ClearPlay movie reviewers taken from the blog or the weekly newsletters:

While ClearPlay does what it can, there is no moral center as it concerns teen sexuality or substance abuse, portraying these as natural and even desirable parts of high school life. Though offending elements are trimmed, the ClearPlayed version still isn’t appropriate for kids.The plain fact is, not all movies are cut out for ClearPlay. Occasionally, a movie’s content may be so extreme that, ClearPlayed or not, a ClearPlay audience will find the end result too distracting to be enjoyed.ClearPlay trims several trysts, a few scenes of immodest dress, and more than 20 profanities, including one F-word. As many of the tales revolve around infidelity, the movie is best suited for more mature audiences.

There is plenty of violence and disturbing images to deal with, too, and with filters on full there will be some gaps. While the violent, disturbing nature of the film may turn some off (even with ClearPlay), for sci–fi fans this is a must see. 

With filters on full, prepare for a mute fest that will be a bit jarring to watch. 

The [movie] is probably not worth watching with violence filters on as you will be left with stretches of bad dialog…

With violence and disturbing filters on, you will have to fill in a few blanks for yourself. 

With filters on full, there will be one major continuity gap.

If you have the filters set for violence, bloodshed, and disturbing at all, you will miss major chunks of the film.

Does anyone think that watching a film containing 30, 50, or 100+ swear words is going to be that enjoyable given that entire conversations will be muted?
Does anyone think that watching an inherent violent and disturbing film is really going to be enjoyable even when ClearPlay is trying to cut all of it out? (talk about a very choppy viewing experience)
Does anyone think that watching a romantic comedy that portrays casual sex as an acceptable practice will be cleaned up enough to where that theme still isn’t apparent?

No doubt there are exceptions and sometimes there are occasional movies that clean up VERY well. I would argue those are far and few between. And for those movies, it might just be worth purchasing them edited instead of spending your money on an infrequently used ClearPlay membership.  Just a thought. (And a thought for you ClearPlay–would you consider a “per-movie” membership plan?)

Despite ClearPlay’s technological lag, I do, and will always, applaud them for what they do: clean up, the best they can, the awfulness in movies these days. My hope for them is two fold: one, that they adapt their product to the increasingly popular ways people are watching movies (bluray & streaming); and two, that they simply continue to stay in business–seeing as how amoral Hollywood and movie studios continue to push boundaries, resulting in ClearPlay finding it increasingly challenging to provide still-enjoyable-to-watch movie filters.

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44 thoughts on “Farewell to ClearPlay

  1. K. McNamara

    Just found this post and I agree with you. About 4 years ago, I called Clearplay and asked if they were planning on releasing a blu-ray version of their player. The lady said she didn’t have any information on that but that their upconverting DVD player looked just as good a blu-ray. I laughed and told her that there is a world of difference between DVD and blu-ray for people with decent vision. I also informed her that not all of their customers are using 24″ TV’s – I’m using a projector with 92″ of widescreen goodness. She really didn’t have much of a response at that point. Since then I’ve been patiently waiting but recently have started to think that maybe it’s time to hang up my Clearplay subscription for the reasons you indicated. I have been a Clearplay member since their RCA player came out and have upgraded 3 times since then. However, I have grown tired of being forced to rent DVD’s instead of blu-rays simply because Clearplay can’t or won’t get with the times. I’m not quite as adamant about filtering Netflix streaming because I acknowledge that is a much harder nut to crack. It would be great but I’m not sure how realistic it is.

    Reply
    1. Bart Stoddard

      FYI – Copy of email from Clearplay – November 27, 2013

      Thank you ????,

      There is a dominant theme throughout ClearPlay’s story of adventure, entertainment and impossible odds.

      Gratitude.

      Gratitude for major events in our history, like Congress passing the Family Movie Act. Gratitude for the quieter (but oh so profound) events, like personal thank-you’s from kids, parents, and grandparents.

      Gratitude for the engineers and innovators who are putting the final touches on ClearPlay’s blu-ray player and streaming products — which will be available early next year. (Yes, we’re excited too!)

      Yes, we have so much to be grateful for!

      ????, thank you for all your support these many years!

      This Thanksgiving season, as a token of our appreciation, we are providing discounts on ClearPlay membership and our new wireless filterstiks — starting today!

      Click HERE for more details!

      Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

      Matt’s Signature
      Matt

      ClearPlay’s Grateful CEO

      Remember that your ClearPlay membership applies to all our filtering products — whether it is the existing player in your familyroom, or future products soon to be released. The same membership applies to all our products!

      Reply
    2. Michelle

      Clearplay is releasing a Blu-ray player in early 2014 according to my Clearplay representative. The reps are not informed of upcoming developments until just prior to release.

      Reply
  2. Adam

    Sad. I have never owned a clearplay, but would love to… if it was blu-ray and/or streaming. Seems like a great opportunity for a entrepreneur?

    Reply
  3. Cody

    Hello,

    I am in no way affiliated with the ClearPlay company, I am simply a former customer that no longer has DVD’s, that wants a Blu-Ray solution.

    They will never admit this publicly – because they don’t want to alienate Blu-Ray users – but they have no plans for a Blu-Ray player. CEO Don Atkinson insisted he talk on the phone about my Blu-Ray concerns. Only after the fact did I realize he wanted to make sure I couldn’t have a paper trail of our conversation for me to post on the internet. Also, I don’t post this information on the ClearPlay Facebook page, because they take it down as soon as they are aware I’ve posted it.

    He said they are looking at all future possibilities, but expressly said they have no plans whatsoever for a Blu-Ray solution. I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but thought I should do the right thing and inform you instead of letting you stay in the dark, like ClearPlay’s marketing department would be happy to do, so you never found out about the lack of Blu-Ray support.

    Thanks, Cody

    Reply
    1. quasar51 Post author

      Thanks Cody for the information. I suspected as much. They will need to adapt to new technologies sooner or later as DVDs start to become less and less popular. I applaud what they do, but wish they would start thinking about where they are going to be in 3-5 years when they may not even sell DVD players much anymore.

      Reply
    2. Stephanie

      No offence intended to you, but it sounds like you’re all a little more concerned about the latest and greatest technology than aboutprotecting yourselves and family…….just sayin!!

      Reply
      1. K. McNamara

        No offense but I’m going to be offensive? Nice.

        You realize it’s possible to want to protect your kids AND have the newer tech, right?

        Just sayin!!

  4. quasar51 Post author

    Thanks for your comment. There are plenty of ways to protect your kids from offensive material, including having them not watching something at all. My kids get along just fine within the guidelines we’ve set for them. If we really feel it worth while to have them see a particular film that has offensive content, we’d purchase the movie edited at watch it together.

    Reply
  5. DashV

    I am a Java developer with 15 years of Java experience (Blu Ray is Java based) and a deep rooted love of filmmaking. I tried applying to Clearplay 3 years ago. The employment email address given on their site bounced back.

    I called support and mentioned I was very interested in any employment opportunities they may have and was especially eager to talk to them regarding developing an app to make PS3’s and the Xbox 360 compatible with their DVD filters and also helping them transition to Blu Ray. I was told they would pass my information on.

    I never heard back.

    Just went to their site today to download a filter for Looper. I’ve moved on to Blu Ray but now and then my wife and I still Netflix DVDs so we can clear play them.

    I was happy to see they still had filters for new films, but sad to see the only options for players now are old refurbished units that sell for $150.

    $150 for a DVD player. Seriously!?! I owned the original RCA box (it was $100) and I still own the first USB box. I got it for $50 I think.

    This time around I only bought a 1 month membership because I have serious doubts about the long term viability of the company. At this point their file format should be supported on Wii, WiiU, PS3, Xbox, 360, PC, and Mac. There is no need to maintain specialized hardware when it’s their file format and content playing software that’s the innovation.

    I do care about the content I let into my home but at $150 for used equipment (I found new units on amazon for $300) I’ll just forget about the offending content altogether.

    Which is a shame because I have long been a big fan of Clearplay’s technology and attitude towards tailoring the entertainment experience in the home.

    They should have made it an app (like Netflicks) available on a variety of platforms. They should have licensed their API to content developers so they could work in tandem with them to develop filters.

    Imagine if the movies came with the filters developed by the studios themselves already on the disk. All you need is player software compatible with clearplay. If you don’t have a compatible player it’s just a regular DVD/Blu Ray.

    Imagine if the studios were thinking “how will this clearplay” during the development stages of the films they were making.

    I know some of the studios hate the technology and wish it had never seen the light of day but I can’t believe _every_ studio would be so stupid and arrogant as to ignore Clearplay’s ability to widen their market penetration.

    I think too much attention was given to clearplay as a “cleanup tool” and not enough attention was devoted to the “hey studios, there is a big market out there you are missing! Let us help you capture it!”

    What is the point of this rant? DVDs are going to be fewer and farther between over the next 5 years. Once they are gone. So will be clearplay.

    Then it’s back to only 2 choices. Watch the movie, or don’t watch the movie.

    Studios and viewers loose.

    Reply
    1. sidmcbride

      Hey DashV, since you know the Java technology, why don’t you get with a bunch of us who do want a Blu-ray or streaming clearplay and start our own company doing what clearplay is not? I mean their loss is our gain. You got a graphic designer right here that would put his work into helping it become a reality. Just a thought.

      Reply
      1. Dashv

        Thanks for the info on other projects and the encouragement.

        I gotta admit.

        In the beginning I admired Clearplay for what they were doing. So much in fact that I became something of a fanboy. I still own the first two DVD players they released. Returned the RCA player 3 times before I got a working one. Bought the USB equipped one as soon as it was released. 4 years later it still works but sounds like a coffee pot while playing.

        I still respect what they are trying to do. I can only imagine they are still developing their own hardware because the industry incumbents are giving them no other choice.

        My 5 year old PS3 is getting flakier every day. If they release a Clearplay capable Blu Ray Player at reasonable price (that plays DVD and Blu ray content with filters) will buy it.

        I want them to be successful. And I want studios to get the message that they can make whatever they want for the big screen. But I get final say in my own house.

  6. quasar51 Post author

    I appreciate the comments coming in! Just the other day, I was alerted to a new edited streaming company called VidAngel. They have a website and plan to launch their service on Dec 19th or thereabouts. I certainly hope they are successful as I think streaming is the video market that is taking off and growing. Right now they are targeting movies on YouTube and Google Play (if you sign up you get a coupon for a free Chromecast unit so you can display your computer/laptop video on your TV. Similar to AirPlay). I guess they’ve got to start somewhere. I hope they expand to other streaming options like Netflix. I’d encourage you to checkout their website and support their efforts. It sounds like they’re the only ones in this market and I hope they do well!

    Reply
  7. Aland Coons

    I just received a marketing email from Clearplay touting “blu-ray player and streaming products which will be available early next year.” I have been waiting years for this announcement and hope as many of you have expressed that the quality of the new equipment will be an improvement.

    Reply
  8. quasar51 Post author

    Cautiously optimistic regarding the ClearPlay announcement. Can they find the right balance between quality and price (for the bluray player)? What streaming segments will they tap into? I’m sure everyone is anxious for details so here’s hoping those details come soon and they are what we’d like to see!

    Reply
    1. Dashv

      I too am cautiously optimistic. The official announcement from Clearplay after a year of radio silence is encouraging.

      I certainly feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of the DVD players.

      With most of the movies (and tv shows) today pushing R and PG-13 I’d hate to see this technology fade away.

      Reply
  9. JustThinkStupid

    https://www.clearplay.com/p-435-clearplay-blu-ray-player.aspx

    well, it seems one may have been a little too eager to call it quits.

    Their own website SAYS its coming early next year! Now all the gratitude can stay!

    P.S. perhaps the issue in why it took a while can be seen from the technical side. Since Clearplay offers filters done frame by frame vs a computer code deleting the same data (in a general sense this is so), it would make sense that at least some time would be taken to implement such a filter on a completely different software. Blu-Ray being as Windows is to Apple.

    Reply
    1. DashV

      JustThink,

      The Clearplay page was just updated this month. This original blog post was put up after more than a year of silence.

      I’d still like to know more specifics. Is this just a Blu Ray Player that plays DVDs with clearplay? Or are they updating their filter libraries to include filters for Blu Ray Movies with clearplay filtering as well? How much will it cost? We’ll most likely get those answers in 2014. But just the announcement that they are pushing ahead with blu ray in any capacity is good news.

      You are right that the blu ray discs will need completely different filters. But there is no technical reason the blu ray player can’t use the existing DVD filters when playing DVD disc material.

      The funny thing is. The Blu Ray java api is specifically designed to do frame by frame audio and video manipulation. You can jump forward back a specific number of frames. Mute/unmute audio. Chain video segments together or even replace disc content with content downloaded from the web. Better, this code can be burned into the Blu Ray disc itself and triggered from the on disc menu.

      I imagine either the other blu ray manufacturers didn’t want to play ball(possible), Or Clearplay never approached them(unlikely), or perhaps the blu ray processing power just wasn’t there to use the features in real-time(possible). I have a hard time believing the PS3 wouldn’t be able to do it though. It’s still the fastest blu ray player money can buy and it’s the one most people own.

      Anyway, 2014 should be an interesting year. 🙂

      Reply
  10. quasar51 Post author

    Thanks DashV and JustThink for your comments. 2014 should be an interesting year for sure given ClearPlay’s announcement and given a new company (VidAngel) that’s come to play in the editing video business. More than details on ClearPlay’s blu-ray player (which I’m certainly interested in), I’m almost more interested in their editing streaming plans. I can’t imagine that those plans will be very encompassing. Meaning there are so many streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, just to name a few) one has to wonder which one they’ll tackle. Because all of these streaming services probably use different streaming methods (anyone know anything about that??) I doubt a filter designed for a movie streaming on Netflix would work for something streaming on Amazon. Add to that the inconvenience of getting the edited streaming video onto your big screen (since I HIGHLY doubt that Netflix or Amazon or any of the other would actually offer edited movie version in their native app) and you have some interesting challenges to tackle.
    Too bad the studios just don’t figure out how easy it would be (and more profitable for them!) to offer cleaned up versions of their movies. But alas, we’ve all thought that before and it just won’t happen.

    Reply
  11. sidmcbride

    YES!!! I just hope hey make the Blu-ray player and streaming more affordable than their current DVD players. With their DVD player being $225 I can imagine they will try to sell a blu-ray for closer to $300 which will just be robbery.

    Reply
  12. iamse7en

    VidAngel is LIVE! Everyone sign up and test the service at VidAngel.com. We need everyone to validate the demand and prove out VidAngel’s innovative model for our right to mute and/or skip over content we consume.

    ClearPlay will try to attack them, but they can’t win if the community backs VidAngel.

    Reply
  13. alicia

    I have enjoyed clearplay for a while but my player broke over a year ago. And so I was looking into options and saw that they will actually be making a blu-ray player and starting soon they will be working with streaming services as well. I am not sure if you knew that. I imagine it takes a while to sort things out and develop an app to work with as many streaming services that are out there. So it may seem a little too late for some. But not me.

    Reply
  14. James

    My complaint about clearplay other than the lack of bluray? The stupid dvd player wears out every single year and we have to buy a new one. We do it because we value cleaning up our content. But seriously why are they so junky. Or perhaps we use them too much? Who knows. But it still bothers me. I signed up for vidangel too see how that goes. But so far they only really edit google play movies which means you gotta rent them for like 4 bucks. Hmmm…..

    Reply
  15. Mike

    Just an idea — you could update your original article to put “Update: Clearplay is about to release a Blu-Ray player” because you are one of the very first hits when people google “clearply blu-ray”. That way you can give Clearplay a plug! (I’m not affiliated, just a loyal customer)

    Reply
    1. Michelle

      Kudos to ClearPlay, Blu-Ray is coming!! Awesome service, love the ability to filter DVDs and looking forward to purchasing Blu-Ray player this year (2014)!!

      Reply
  16. K. McNamara

    Folks, I’m really beginning to think that ClearPlay has been stringing us along. They announce a blu-ray player in November saying that it will be released in early 2014. We’re almost to June and all clearplay will say is “we have no information”. This is one of the worst product launches I’ve ever seen. How much will it cost? Will it support filtering on both DVD’s and blu-rays? Will it include any kind of streaming? No one seems to know because Clearplay won’t say. I posted this last night on Clearplay’s facebook page but they deleted it (of course). I guess they filter everything, not just movies.

    At this point, I’m thinking it’s vaporware designed to keep us paying our subscriptions in the hope that someday they really release a blu-ray player. I’ve noticed that when people ask about blu-ray, they try to push their streaming product instead. The problems are, they use Google Play only, their filter library is minimal and they only filter the SD versions of the movies. What?

    If they do release a blu-ray player at some point, I’ll issue a mea culpa about the player itself but not about the ridiculous nature of its launch. I’ll probably stick with clearplay for another couple of months and then cancel if they haven’t come through (or if they do release it and it’s $300 or some other ridiculous amount). I’ve been with them since they released their first RCA player. But one kid is an adult now and the other is getting close so, even though I prefer watching certain movies filtered, it’s not quite as important as it used to be for us.

    Reply
  17. Greg

    Well… I finally dropped my Clearplay account at the end of 2014. I too was an early adopter of ClearPlay, moving away from the aging TVGuardian. I spent hundreds and hundreds on the malfunctioning players that my kids never used. Talk about a bad experience trying to introduce them to Clearplay. I even kept re-upping my account, though I used it less and less, just to support them.

    I got very, very tired of the run around. I also grew frustrated with the lack of granularity in the filters. Vulgar, for example, removes things I do consider vulgar yet cuts someone throwing up or showing a hand missing a finger! One man’s vulgar is another’s plot point. I predict their Blu-ray players will be a bust, though I hope I am wrong. They are rushing them to market, based on beta testing results and early adopter feedback on their site. They just don’t know how to run a business or maybe they lost financial backers. Maybe society has coarsened. I think they just buried their head in the sand and didn’t focus on where the industry was going. Without companies like VidAngel to scare them, I doubt they would be where they are at the present.

    VidAngel is RIGHT ON with telling you what is in EACH movie and lets you enable or disable what you want. THAT is what Clearplay should have been all along. Great lesson for business students to learn what happens when you don’t communicate with your customers.

    I hope Clearplay transforms themselves, but they have proven there are SOME who want to clean up movies and they did get some laws introduced that paved the way for products like VidAngel. So the world is a better place for them having come our way…

    Reply
    1. quasar51 Post author

      Thanks Greg for your comments. I agree with them all. I have high hopes for VidAngel as I think their product is fantastic on so many levels. I contacted them recently and they said they are hard at work on making it so you can use their filters on other devices other than your computer. When THAT happens, ClearPlay will have a serious contender to be sure.

      On the topic of editing, there’s a real art to making good edits. I have edited several films myself (PG-13 ones) and if you do it right, you can make the edits perfectly seamless. It most cases, you can cut the words altogether (instead of muting them) and you never even know they were there.

      Anyway, thanks for your comments.

      Reply
      1. Greg

        If VidAngel can crowd source the filter creation process and contributors can earn ‘trust’ ratings based on the quality of their edits, then we can all watch out for each other…. Something like getting ‘free’ filter purchase credits for each filter you add, if your rating is solid? It would be a token offering, but enthusiasts would appreciate the gesture and the community would be the ones paying.

        It is sad to see how Clearplay had it all to themselves and could have created a really large loyal base if they had innovated, but for whatever reason, they lost it. There are countless stories, I am sure, of people like you and I who finally had to turn our backs on the service.

  18. Nate

    I bought two of the new ClearPlay Blu-ray players that finally arrived today. I’m very disappointed. I’ve been a ClearPlay customer since 2006 and was hoping that after a long, long wait, ClearPlay was finally starting to catch up with technology. Not so much.

    Disappointment #1 – Even though the Blu-ray player box and the website clearly state the player plays 3D movies, it turns out the Blu-ray player doesn’t FILTER 3D movies. Pretty deceptive. The only reason to buy a ClearPlay player is to filter movies, not just to play them. Today’s call with technical support indicates they don’t plan to filter 3D movies any time soon. I’m paying 3 to 4 times market value for a Blu-ray player plus paying for filters only to find that a ClearPlay player doesn’t filter everything it plays. I feel misled and disappointed.

    Disappointment #2 – It turns out that after waiting how long (!!!) for a Blu-ray player, the website only has maybe 200 Blu-ray filters. Hello??? How long has ClearPlay known that they were working on a Blu-ray player? Technical support’s been promising one for years. Now that there’s finally a player, there are very few choices of things to play. Wow. You’d have thought with this much time, there would be plenty of Blu-ray filters ready to go. I’m sure the technology is different from the old filters, but surely ClearPlay knows what needs to be filtered in thousands of movies they’ve already created filters for. Very disappointing. So much for HD and 3D.

    Disappointment #3 – The quality of the player doesn’t seem that great. The remote’s range isn’t very good and there are typos in the on-screen configuration menus. Again, I just got the players today and maybe I’ll be surprised, but indications aren’t good.

    I’m a long-time ClearPlay customer and want to see the company succeed. I’ve given ClearPlay players as gifts to family members in the past, but would not do that again at this point. I’d really like to be able to recommend ClearPlay again. What ClearPlay set out to do is fantastic. The problem is that ClearPlay gets an A for the idea and a D for the execution of the idea. Please, ClearPlay, spend less time and money in litigation with VidAngel and much more time fixing these problems.

    Reply
    1. quasar51 Post author

      Thanks Nate for chiming in. I have been interested in getting feedback about the blu ray players and you’ve certainly provided some! It’s unfortunate, in particular, that there are so few filters available for bluray users. As you said, they’ve had YEARS to get those in place so I’m surprised there are so few available. I suppose I’m not too surprised though.

      As I’ve said before, I applaud what all movie editing companies do, including ClearPlay. But as you’ve said, ClearPlay in particular doesn’t get a very top grade when it comes to executing on their vision. Their players have been of very poor quality (I went through several when I was a customer) and I was never very impressed with their edits.

      Perhaps ClearPlay can turn things around. We’ll hope so. In the meantime, I have high hopes for VidAngel. As soon as I can sit down at my TV, choose a movie to stream, and filter it through a VidAngel filter, we’ll be in business. That vision is VidAngel’s goal, and I have no doubt it will come to pass.

      Reply
    2. K. McNamara

      The other day on Clearplay’s facebook page, I asked them about the lack of blu-ray filters. I told them I had assumed that they would be able to create a tool to convert their DVD filters to blu-ray. I was told that they do in fact have a tool and they are creating 3-5 filters for older titles a week. 3-5 per week? Lets do the math on that one. So yeah, I’m also pretty disappointed.

      Reply
    3. Greg

      Excellent points…. they appear to be taking a bunker mentality. Circle the wagons, sue whoever comes near and protect what you have rather than out innovate folks. But I know this is all speculation on my part and not as seen from their perspective. If I had patents I would want to protect them, but I wonder if they ever discussed licensing the patents? Think about what happens if they kill competitors but can’t deliver product to the marketplace that inspires confidence? Then we ALL lose.

      I knew I was not inclined to take the Blu-ray leap because of quality issues on my previous Clearplay player and they had no players to sell into the 2014 Xmas season!! That would sink most companies, but their loyal base was willing to wait for the new players. Sounds like they are not being rewarded for being so patient….

      I really think filtered streaming, as VidAngel proposes it, is the future. There will always be a place for physical players, but that is looking in the rear view mirror. Streaming is the future.

      Reply
  19. Neal Harmon

    All, many thanks for bringing up VidAngel on this post. I wanted to make a quick correction on pricing. James, our initial system only supported Google Play rentals, which like you said are around $4-6. In addition, the filters didn’t work on the HD content.

    After getting so many requests for HD. And after loads of requests to support Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, and mobile devices, VidAngel has started testing a brand new service which is comparable to Redbox in pricing and includes the filter for free.

    Watch a filtered HD movie for $2 or a filtered SD movie for $1.50 – see below for details:
    https://www.vidangel.com/clearplay (includes a comparison with ClearPlay given by the company’s own customers)

    We’ve eliminated both the need for the expensive player, costly online rentals and the trip to the Redbox. We’d love your feedback if you decide to try it.

    Full-disclosure: I am a VidAngel founder.

    Reply
    1. cctayl@gmail.com

      Neal, unfortunately not everyone cannot afford to throw down $2 for EVERY movie. My family watches multiple movies every week. $8/month, vs e.g. 4 movies/week (2 Friday & 2 Saturday)… $8×4 (or even 5) weeks a month… $32-$40 on rentals alone, or $8/month???

      Sorry, you lose that contest.

      And what happens when I cannot afford internet or internet goes down when I want to watch a show? I can still take my USB drive to the library and download the latest filters, and bring home movies for FREE. Yeah, you lose again.

      ClearPlay does everything you offer, and more. You’re business model is really high tech, but unfortunately, it loses.

      I get it that it’s an option for some, but for us that are scraping by… which would be the majority of people, ClearPlay has you beat.

      Reply
      1. quasar51 Post author

        CCTAYL, I appreciate your post but there are some faults with your logic. First, not everyone’s local library has movies to check out. And if they do, there isn’t much of a selection (certainly not any latest releases). Not to mention, most don’t have any blu-rays available if you want to watch in HD. So, unless you are content with older movies and unless you are content with DVD quality, VidAngel certainly does have ClearPlay beat. I can appreciate not having an internet connection but the fact is, most people do, these days.

        I think, overall, you’re trying to compare apples to oranges. VidAngel is geared towards those who do stream movies and do want to save as much money as possible to watch newer movies (though they have plenty of old ones too) and in high-def quality. In your example, ClearPlay is more cost effective because you are content with DVD quality and older titles you can check out from your library.

        I’m glad ClearPlay works for you and works for many others. But many consumers are finding VidAngel a superior solution given that more and more people are streaming movies these days and love to take advantage of the HD quality.

    2. James g

      Funny you would say that. I have had th vid angel service since it became available. Honestly I found the first iteration to complex, limited and expensive. But the new had beta rentals for two bucks pretty much rocks. I still wish I could choose to skip entire scences even if they are important to the story. I would rather a disclaimer than simply being told it won’t be filtered. Otherwise for those movies where it will filter sufficiently , vid angel is a nobrainer. Good job

      Reply
  20. kentroylance

    I am a new comer and interested in another solution other than ClearPlay. I must admit, I am a very dissatisfied customer of ClearPlay. The quality of their filtering has become worse and worse over the years, and they seem to be totally disregarding any feedback their customers are giving them. I have sent them many emails and feedback where I didn’t receive one response. I rented many videos where the filter did not work, and so I wasted money on the rental. I didn’t once receive one response from them apologizing for their screw up. Its good to see that they have some competition. Bottom line is I just can’t trust them anymore to filter out the garbage appropriately, and so I have used them less and less. Really sad because I think they had a good thing going. I would certainly never recommend them to anyone. I am very curious to see if this vid angel is any better than Clearplay.

    Reply
  21. KatieKate

    Nah, DVDs and players will be around for a long while. I know FAR more people who buy and play DVDs than I do people who buy blu-ray. When DVDs finally go out, blu-ray will be passé too.

    Reply

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