Walmart Will Offer to ‘Upgrade’ Your DVD to Ultraviolet Cloud Movies for $2 on April 16th

Have you ever thought: I wish I was able to get digital versions of my DVD movies? I mean, without using HandBrake and feeling like the movie industry is going to have you star in their next ‘You wouldn’t steal a car …’ promo? If you are concerned about the legality making a digital copy of a movie, you are not alone.

Recent rulings seem to indicate a reversal in prior findings that came down to ‘it is legal to have a digital copy, but not to make one’. The new ruling says that being lawful owner of the disk means you can’t be guilty of circumvention if the digital copy is used legally. Here is a summary:

The DMCA has (at least) two distinct provisions: a prohibition on circumventing copy protection that controls access to a work, and a ban on “trafficking” in circumvention tools. Judge Marshall seems to have accepted UCLA’s argument that its lawful purchase of the DVD meant it couldn’t have run afoul of the circumvention provision, but she didn’t spell out her reasoning. She then ruled that merely purchasing DVD-ripping software didn’t constitute “trafficking” in the software.

Anyway, if you are concerned about making the copies, or don’t want to have to store them on your local computer, but would rather have a cloud copy to access through tightly controlled apps … Walmart and the movie studios have a deal for you!

Beginning April 16, consumers will be able to take their DVDs to about 3,500 Wal-Mart stores and have a digital copy stored in the cloud — a storage system offering access from a broad array of Internet-connected devices — for $2 each. Customers will have the option to upgrade standard DVDs to high-definition online copies for $5 each.

Wal-Mart — by far the nation’s largest retailer of DVDs — will be the only store that can offer so-called “disc-to-digital” until its period of exclusivity ends in the fall. The retail giant received exclusive rights from the studios in exchange for an aggressive offer to launch the service first, according to people briefed on the matter but not authorized to discuss it publicly.

The news came as part of an event held in Hollywood on Tuesday announcing Wal-Mart’s support for UltraViolet, the online movie technology backed by most movie studios and a coalition of technology companies. The previously expected news provides a major boost to UltraViolet, which has had a rocky launch and faces a formidable competitor in Apple’s iCloud film service.

As part of the announcement, Wal-Mart’s online video store Vudu is now part of UltraViolet and all movies that it sells will be compatible with that service’s online cloud, which allows consumers to access films they own from a wide variety of digital devices.

Home entertainment executives from 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. at the event said Wal-Mart’s backing was the biggest advance yet for UltraViolet. They were particularly excited about the disc-to-digital option, which they said would acclimate consumers with existing DVD collections to storing their movies online.

Customers can take their DVDs to Wal-Mart photo centers where employees will add digital copies to Vudu accounts. To make sure the same disc is not copied multiple times, store associates will stamp the discs after the conversion is done. They won’t accept DVDs rented from outlets such as Redbox, Netflix and Blockbuster.

Not every movie will be available to convert, however, as studios have not yet created digital copies of all their movies. Universal Pictures, for instance, currently has about half of its library of 1,300 titles online.

Studios are hopeful that the Wal-Mart deal will pressure other retailers that don’t yet back UltraViolet, including and Best Buy, to jump on board.

As for whether it plays nice with iOS devices, this is from the FAQ:

UltraViolet works fine with Apple iOS devices if you download an UltraViolet app. Flixster Movies, the first UltraViolet-compatible app (released in Oct 2011), can stream and download UltraViolet movies on iPhones, iPads, Macs, Android devices, and Windows PCs. Using Apple AirPlay mirroring, iPad2’s and iPhone 4S’s can play the movies through Apple TV.

UltraViolet could work with iTunes, but only if Apple chooses to participate in UltraViolet. Until then, UltraViolet movies will play on Apple devices but won’t show up in iTunes.

What do you think? Will you be paying for any of these copies?

Source: Consumerist

Categories: News

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4 replies

  1. I’m tempered by this, but Ultraviolet sucks. I’ve tried it with one or two DVDs and playback on ios devices is/was terrible. The only reason I want movies in the cloud is for my iPhone, iPad, or Internet connected Samsung tv. And at the time, I either couldn’t play it or it had terrible playback controls.

    • It is like they are trying to create something without actually knowing what it is they are creating … heck, if they just licensed things through Hulu or iTunes or Amazon that would be great …

  2. I would give anything for a legal and fairly priced service that could rip my DVDs and store them on a harddrive, similar to the CD ripping services that are available. If they could go a step further and store them in the cloud for me, it would be perfection.

    It doesn’t look like that will ever happen though. =/

  3. I have to agree with what Rodney said.  Ultraviolet sucks.  When I buy DVDs with a Digital copy I watch for Ultraviolet and then I avoid purchasing the digital copy included version.  I have, in fact, tried it and it regularly failed for me.  Additionally, requiring more proprietary software to obtain the copy is assinine.  It should work with existing solutions like iTunes or Google Play or Amazon.   At one point I read somewhere that Ultraviolet was working so poorly for Mac users and iOS users that if you complained about their process to them they were simply issuing you an iTunes Store code to download the movie.  I never did that so I can’t confirm it, but I do know that I avoid Ultraviolet because it was so poorly implemented and more work than it is worth.  It is easier to rip a copy of the DVD with Handbrake and then keep the DVD in storage as proof you own it than it is to use their insane process!