At a press conference today, Walmart announced a new disc-to-digital service that will let customers bring in their physical DVD and Blu-ray libraries and convert them to digital movies that can be accessed via Vudu, the online video service now owned by Walmart.
You can bring in any disc you own, not just those purchased from Walmart. Once they're digitized, you'll be able to watch the movies on a variety of Internet-connected devices, including televisions, tablets, smart phones, and game consoles.
To use the service, you simply bring your DVDs or Blu-ray titles into a Walmart retail store, where an associate will help you create a free Vudu account (if you don't have one). A standard digital DVD or Blu-ray conversion will cost $2 per disc, or you can pay $5 to get a high-def version of a DVD. Walmart will then authorize the digital copies (there are no uploads, and you get to keep your discs) and place them in your Vudu account. You can view the movies any time by logging into your account at Vudu.com.
The program, which rolls out in 3,500 Walmart stores on April 16, was launched in partnership with the five major Hollywood Studios: Fox, Paramount, Sony, Warner Bros., and Universal. Walmart says the new program will be compatible with UltraViolet, Hollywood's new copy-protected, cloud-based digital locker system, currently in beta.
It's unclear at this time whether the disc-to-digital program covers only movies, or whether it will also apply to TV shows created by or owned by the studios and their affiliates.
—James K. Willcox