You might think the digital locker services out there are confusing. Has there ever been a time where you saw a great deal on a title on Amazon but have an Apple TV? That’s a problem no one should have and Disney just threw consumers a bone.
It’s been over a week since Wavelength launched and it seems the new “social” Ultraviolet service is off to a rough start. I’m not sure you can call their beginning a start as I was never able to experience any of Wavelengths promised features due to their site having trouble keeping up with the high traffic once folks became aware of it.
The first somewhat alarming flag I noticed while registering was a prompt to enter your Vudu login. That seemed a little odd considering Vudu itself is just another gateway to the Ultraviolet service like Flixster and even M-GO. Why would Wavelength need access to my Vudu account if my Vudu account has titles that aren’t Ultraviolet?
Wavelength seemed to crop up out of no where and I suspect they may have put the cart in front of the horse. Perhaps an initial invite only launch would have kept their service, which seems to skirt around the terms of service for Ultraviolet, under the radar more.
Ulltraviolet could really leverage Wavelength as a marketing tool to help debunk myths that the nearly universal cloud service is as easy to use as its hard core users try to pitch it as. Until then, we’ll have to patiently wait for wavelength to sort, what I assume, its legality issues out.
It also remains unknown if Wavelength is planning any connected apps for devices like game consoles and the Roku. One of Vudu’s strengths as an Ultraviolet provider is their high bitrate video and surround sound that really makes watching movies immersive. While having access to our friends’ collections is swell, I’d much rather watch movies on an actual home theater than my computer screen.
In the meantime, don’t forget to link your Disney Anywhere account to your Vudu and Google Play account to maximize/consolidate your digital locker collection.
Disney is jumping on the early digital delivery bandwagon and releasing Wreck-It Ralph February 12, 2013, nearly a month before it’s retail disc date, March 5, 2013.
I’m not sure which services the download will be available from: iTunes? Amazon? VUDU? CinemaNow? Also unknown is what the price will be.
If Disney follows Fox, we’ll be able to buy from all those sources at $15. I watched Wreck-It Ralph in theaters in 2D and found it very entertaining. While watching CG on Blu-ray is undoubtedly the best way to experience this movie, I would definitely recommend owning this movie digitally if the price is right. You can also check out Eugene’s review.
How do you get people to purchase something that isn’t selling well? Lower the price, of course! That’s the strategy Fox is banking on to boost digital copy sales on services like Amazon, CinemaNow, iTunes, and VUDU.
Not enough? What if Fox sweetened the deal by giving the digital copy an advanced release date over the DVD/Blu-ray?
Starting September 18th, Fox will be serve movies to under the name Digital HD (DHD) and the first title is Prometheus, which will be made available about 3 weeks before the Blu-ray (October 11, 2012). Other titles such as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The Watch, Ice Age: Continental Drift will also be available for around $15 before their disc releases.
I am definitely a fan of the VUDU UltraViolet service and think this is a big step in the right direction. Blu-ray prices continue to drop but the sacrafice of sharability, extras, and nice packaging seems like a strong case for digital copies to be significantly cheaper. At $15 dollars, we can arguably call this a bargain. The Blu-ray for Prometheus is currently listed for $27.96 on Amazon. Sure, we get extras that we may or may not watch but at $15 dollars, we’re paying about the same price as one movie ticket.
Chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, James Gianopulos, said Fox would offer the new low price for forthcoming movies but what about catalog titles? Shouldn’t those also be repriced?
With plenty of titles in my Netflix/HBO Go queue, the window of theatrical and home video release has never been a big factor in my interest of purchasing digital copies. It’s always been price. Let’s hope the other studios follow or go a step further in releasing titles earlier or at a lower price.
I decided to try out the Walmart/VUDU Disc-to-Digital service. The experience turned out to not only be a first-time for me, but everyone involved.
I went to my local Walmart (Porter Ranch, CA) and brought 2 DVD’s: Goodfellas and Pulp Fiction. I knew Pulp Fiction was not a valid title but decided to bring it anyway just to see how well the folks at Walmart handled curve balls.
I went to the photo center and asked about the service. The associate confessed this was the first time he had been asked about the service and brought out a manual with steps to assist me. I was then given a form and after closely inspecting the instructions, I realized the form was supposed to be used by Walmart associates, not the customer.
After completing the form, I handed the associates (a team of two now) my DVD’s and they used a computer to validate my information (email/phone number). The associate noticed Goodfellas was already in a work queue (probably from my conversion movie list I setup on VUDU.com).
Once confirming Pulp Fiction was not available and quoting me $5 for Goodfellas, the process took a few clicks and the associate rang me up. Before I could escape, the associate said he needed my Goodfellas DVD and went back without notifying me why. When he returned, I opened up the DVD case to see he had stamped the discs (reads “WALMART ENTERTAINMENT”). He even stamped disc 2 although that was just extras. He noted the step was necessary because of licensing. Luckily the marking can easily be removed with a little rubbing alcohol (I’m guessing your mileage may vary depending on the image print type on your disc).
I came home and the title was added to my collection as expected. An overall easy process that will surely be quicker once the folks behind the counter get some experience.
Have a bunch of DVD’s you bought before the glorious HD DVD vs Blu-ray war ended? Surely, you stopped buying DVD’s once Blu-ray won, right? Either way, Walmart and VUDU are teaming up to bring your movies to the cloud for a small price: $2 for same video format streams (DVD to 480p or Blu-ray to HD) or $5 for the high definition stream of your DVD movie.
I can’t think of any arguments why you would want to convert your DVD’s to the same quality cloud version since that’s already possible to do on your own with tools like HandBrake. While VUDU has arguably the best streaming format for high definition AND surround sound home theaters, there’s no reason to watch a streaming version of a title if you already own the Blu-ray. Streaming video and audio quality pales in comparison to Blu-ray quality. The $5 fee to gain access to the high definition stream sounds like the most appealing service to me. If you’ve watched a lot of high definition content in the recent years and try to watch even a minute of those DVD’s you own, I’m sure you’ll cringe.
Naturally, since the service is new, not all studios are signed on although many of the major ones are: Paramount Home Media Distribution, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Warner Bros, and just recently, DreamWorks Animation.
The service starts today at 3,500 Walmart locations.
So is it possible to borrow a friend’s DVD and get the VUDU HD stream for $5? I hope to test out the process as soon as possible and report back!