January 8, 2013
Walmart Expands Vudu To Include Disc-to-digital Conversion From Home
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Walmart announced new enhancements on Monday to its disc-to-digital service, saying it will offer customers the ability to add personal DVD and Blu-rays collections to the Internet cloud from the convenience of their home.
The retail giant launched its disc-to-digital program last March at 3,500 Walmart stores, charging customers between $2 and $5 to convert their DVDs and Blu-ray discs to a digital form stored in the cloud.
The service was part of an online initiative known as “UltraViolet,” which was supported by nearly every major movie company.
The studios are hoping that the simplicity of disc-to-digital from home services will give consumers more comfort with storing and watching movies online — something vital to the industry as it attempts to compensate for ongoing declines in DVD sales.
Walmart´s latest enhancements utilize the company´s online video service, Vudu, which it acquired in 2010. The new feature makes Vudu only the second online movie store to offer a disc-to-digital from home services. CinemaNow, owned by Best Buy, began beta testing such a service last month.
The enhancement means customers will no longer have to bring a physical DVD into a Walmart store to have them converted to UltraViolet digital copies. Instead, they can simply sign on to Vudu.com and convert a standard DVD or Blu-ray for $2, or upgrade a standard DVD to HD for $5.
Once the content has been uploaded to the UltraViolet digital locker, customers can access their movies by logging on to Vudu on any one of the more than 300 devices that support the service.
The new feature aims to promote continued DVD purchases while providing DVD owners with added freedom in how they view their content.
Walmart said it would begin rolling out the program later this month. It will apply to any film from DreamWorks Animation, Lionsgate, MGM Studios, Paramount Home Media Distribution, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
Last month, Walmart began offering downloading and streaming of more than 100,000 films and TV shows on Android devices. The retailer said the service would be available on Apple devices next month.
As an incentive to attract new users to Vudu, Walmart said it would give any new customer 10 free pre-selected movies when they sign up for an UltraViolet account, or link to an existing account.
Vudu users who upload their DVDs to the cloud will still maintain ownership of their physical DVDs. Although it´s theoretically possible that several people could use a single, shared DVD to convert multiple copies, studio executives appear willing to accept that risk in a bid to boost UltraViolet.