Five of the six major movie studios (Paramount, Sony, Universal, Twentieth Century Fox, and Warner Bros.) have partnered together to create a service called UltraViolet, which is an authentication system that gives you the rights to a digital copy of all their movies that you buy on DVD and Blu-ray. The problem with UltraViolet is that it’s kind of a clunky system full of vague and complicated rights issues, it doesn’t utilize any of the content delivery systems that people are already watching their movies on, and it hasn’t done a good enough job educating the public on how to use it. After five minutes spent rooting around their FAQ section I still don’t know what the process of getting an UltraViolet copy of a movie onto my phone or tablet is. All of that is set to change due to a new partnership between those same five studios and Walmart, however.
Walmart’s Disc-to-Digital service looks to be a simple way for regular folk to convert a huge chunk of their DVD collections to digital copies, and it uses the Walmart owned video streaming service VUDU to make it possible. The only thing people need to get started are a VUDU account, a willingness to take a bag of movies into a Walmart, and $2 to get access to a SD version of a movie or $5 to upgrade your copy to HD. The company has made a handy Youtube video that explains the process:
The thing that makes this service more attractive than something like UltraViolet is that VUDU is a popular platform that people are already using on all of their devices. I know how to watch a movie on VUDU: it has an app on my Blu-ray player, my smart-TV, my phone, my tablet, and it’s easily reached through any web browser. All you have to do is log in and start watching.
Are many people going to want to rely on Walmart and VUDU to store digital copies of their entire movie collections though? Would you trust this service enough to go through the liberating process of tossing out all of the discs that are collecting dust around your place? Probably the answer to that question is no. But the launching of this service is still, undoubtedly, a huge first step toward that future. Now that Walmart is digitizing your old DVDs, how long will it be before companies that consumers have more permanent content storage relationships with like Amazon, Google, and Apple get in on the game? All it will take is deals with the studios, and now everyone other than Disney has shown a willingness to play ball. For me, it would take Apple allowing me to scan old purchases into their iCloud system in order for me to live a disc-free life. What would the tipping point be for you?
If you’ve been ripping all of your DVDs and storing your movies on external hard drives for years already, you can disregard that last question. [Walmart via Mashable]
Links provided by Zergnet, which sounds like a villain but is really quite helpful.
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