Walmart Entertainment is launching a new disc-to-digital service for movie owners. Starting on April 16th, dads and moms can have their movie library placed in the cloud for viewing on Internet-connected devices like televisions, tablets, smartphones, and gaming consoles. The service is powered by VUDU, which is a video streaming service. The disc-to-digital service will be available at over 3,500 Walmart stores. The service is not free. It will cost $2 for each DVD or Blu-ray movie. It’s $5 if you want to upgrade a standard DVD to a HD digital copy. And yes, you get to keep your physical discs.
Converting DVDs for streaming is nothing new. There are already software for backing up and converting DVDs and Blu-ray discs to digital files that can be played on different devices. There’s even software for turning your computer into a cloud platform for video and audio streaming. Walmart’s new service will not appeal to people who are already doing this on their own. However, the Disc-to-Digital Service will probably appeal to people who are not tech savvy or don’t want to deal with the hassle of converting their discs. I’ve made back up copies of my kids’ movies. Those are the ones that tend to get all scratched up over time. Based on my experience, it takes time to convert a lot of DVDs. In some cases, the software can’t even make a back-up copy because of the disc’s copy protection or because there are too many scratches.
I’m not sure how the service works exactly, but my guess is that a Walmart employee won’t manually copy your disc and upload it to the cloud. That would be insane (too labor intensive). Instead, the service most likely will use VUDU’s online streaming library. According to the press material, a Walmart associate will help you create a free VUDU account as part of the service, and then Walmart will authorize the digital copies and place them in your VUDU account.
Paramount, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. are all supporters of Walmart Entertainment’s Disc-to-Digital Service. I guess that means you don’t have to worry about the major Hollywood studios taking legal action to shut down the down service. In fact, I think the studios are hoping this new service might even encourage people to buy more physical discs. With the new service, consumers can have a physical disc for their movie library and also a streaming version for watching anywhere, anytime. Of course, that means anywhere you have a good Internet connection. It isn’t any fun watching a movie pause a million times because of a slow or weak wireless connection.
According to the fine print, VUDU requires a broadband Internet connection of at least 2 Mbps. You also have to be at least 13 years or older to open a VUDU account. Movies are only available in the U.S. and not all films are available for disc to cloud storage. The service is probably limited to the five studios mentioned previously (Paramount, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios and Warner Bros.). HD/HDX is not available on all devices or films.