With the home entertainment industry’s tool for converting DVDs and Blu-rays into cloud-based online video copies slow cooking for the last five years, Vudu has finally released a smartphone app that will perhaps make the service more convenient and popular.
The Walmart-owned transactional online video service has released iOS and Android apps that let users scan a disc’s barcode with their mobile device, authenticating it for conversion to cloud-based copy. Users previously had to visit a Walmart store with their discs in tow; or increasingly inconvenient, find a way to put their disc into their personal computer.
Vudu is charging $2 to convert a DVD into a standard-def copy, or a Blu-ray into a 1080p HDX copy. DVD owners who want to upgrade to HDX pay $5 a unit.
The so-called “Disc to Digital” service is hardly new. It was launched in 2012 by a consortium of more than 80 studios, consumer electronics companies, retailers and other home entertainment industry denizens in an effort branded as UltraViolet.
Walmart and its Vudu unit have been among the most ardent backers of Ultraviolet, which is now firmly situated in the back seat—Vudu is branding Disc to Digital as its own service.
According to Vudu, Disc to Digital can now store 8,000 movies and TV titles in the cloud, meaning that most major studio titles are eligible.
Ultraviolet, however, has not released usage data on how many discs have been converted to date.
Now that the conversion service has the convenience of a smartphone app, will consumers rush to convert their libraries?
It might still be a tough row to hoe for the home entertainment industry, with SVOD and pay-TV on-demand services offering free smorgasbords of HD titles.