So I took advantage of the White PS3 bundle offer recently, and very carefully cleaned off the old PS3 (format, factory reset, etc.) to trade it in for the new one. Today I discovered a very annoying problem - I had to activate the new PS3 for video content, which couldn't be done because I had already done so on the old one. No big deal, right?
Well, first, I had friends over to watch a movie I was going to rent from the PS Store. Not expecting trouble, I hadn't rented in advance. When I received a message about "System Activation", I didn't have the time to screw around figuring out a solution. I ended up renting the movie from CinemaNow instead. Second, after my friends left, I looked through the support forum to figure out how to deactivate my old device. As it turns out, the "Deactivate all devices" option was not available for Video. Thus, according to the support documentation, the only option was to contact a live support agent.
There are only two positive things I can say about the support agent: 1) they were still available at 9:30PST, and 2) they did allow me to activate my video on the new PS3. However, they did not really understand that I would already be pretty annoyed at this point, and instead of apologizing for the inconvenience, insulted my intelligence by pointing out that I could do it by myself (which I couldn't for some reason, see above).
Just in case someone from SCEA actually reads these forumns and gives a ****: don't get me wrong, I understand the desire for Sony to make copying videos difficult. But, here is a case where the DRM is so draconian that a legitimate user is being severely inconvenienced because SCEA believes that everyone in the world is a potential pirate. Let me put it in terms that even a corporate executive can understand: there is absolutely nothing but my honesty keeping me from piracy. I am technically capable, and pirate versions of the movie I just watched are widely available. Draconian control is not the solution. Sony rootkit fiasco anyone?
Long story short, this experience has left a bad taste in my mouth. Given that new systems from both Microsoft and Sony are expected somewhere around 2014, this is probably not the time to get on the bad side of a (until now) loyal customer. Certainly, it is unlikely that I will spend any more money on video content from PSN, as CinemaNow seems a viable alternative. Seeing as how I'm ultimately responsible for storage of video purchases from PSN, I might as well just buy the Blu-Ray if I really want to own a movie. And, when the next-gen consoles come out, I will seriously be looking at the competition.