Walmart Unveils DVD-to-Digital Streaming Movie Service
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
March 14 2012 03:26 PM ET
Time to dust off your DVDs and Blu-ray discs and take them to Walmart. For $2 each, you can add a digital copy of movies and TV shows that you own on disc and then stream them on Internet-connected devices like HDTVs, iPads and computers.
Beginning April 16, disc-to-digital kiosks will be available at Walmart Photo Centers, staffed with trained helpers to walk customers through the process. Not all movies are eligible. Paramount, Sony, Fox, Universal and Warner Bros. are the only studios participating in the program.
You'll access titles through Vudu, Walmart's video streaming service, which works similarly to Netflix's online program. In addition to your own titles, you can "rent" movies from Vudu without leaving the couch.
How is this possible without all the uproar around digital movie rights? For some time, entertainment companies have been working on a universal standard called UltraViolet — also known as a digital content locker — that would allow people who have purchased movie discs to access a streaming version as well.
Walmart won't actually be copying and uploading your discs. Rather, it will verify that they are legit and authorize access through your Vudu account. Discs must be owned by the user and cannot be rented or borrowed. Walmart will stamp the disc at the store to prevent other people from using the same disc.
If you don't already have a free Vudu account, you will be able to create one at the store or sign up online before you go. For $5, customers will also be able to upgrade a standard DVD to Blu-ray if an HD version is available. Vudu is accessible from most Internet-connected HDTVs and Blu-ray players, a handful of media streaming boxes such as Boxee, the iPad , Xbox 360 and Sony PS3 game consoles, and PCs and Macs.