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!