Ever wish you could access your Blu-ray or DVD library from almost anywhere you had an Internet connection? Good news: Walmart is expanding its Disc to Digital program, where you can go into a participating Walmart store and get UltraViolet digital versions of previously purchased movies—You can now do it at home too, using the new Vudu To Go app.
The retailer is also launching a new Facebook app that not only gives you access to exclusive movie content but also the ability to influence what movies and titles Walmart carries in its store and online.
Walmart, which owns Vudu, will use the streaming service to convert DVD and Blu-ray movies to UltraViolet digital versions that are stored in the cloud. To use the service, which kicks off this month, you first have to download the Vudu to Go app from Vudu's website. Then you search for movies you own that you'd like to convert from the libraries of the participating studios: DreamWorks Animation, Lionsgate, MGM Studios, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios, and Warner Bros.
Once you've chosen the movies, you pay $2 to convert each DVD or Blu-ray disc; or, for a $5 fee, you can upgrade a DVD to a high-def digital copy. The Vudu app will authorize the UltraViolet copies, and you get to keep the discs. The free app is now available for download in the Google Play and iTunes stores.
To sweeten the deal, customers who sign up for a new Vudu account will get 10 preselected movies when they create an UltraViolet account or link to an existing one as an incentive.
Walmart's Facebook app will encourage users to participate with the page by offering promotions, such as free Vudu movies. You'll be able to write family-friendly reviews, personalize recommendations, and get access to exclusive content, such as behind-the-scenes looks, trailers, and interviews. You'll also be able to vote on which movies the retailer should carry in stores and online.
After the show, we'll be trying out the service to see how well it works, as we did with the in-store program. The one question we have about the in-home service is how Vudu will authenticate that you've actually previously purchased the movie. We'll let you know what we find.
Check out the rest of our CES 2013 coverage.
—James K. Willcox