Vudu is expanding its Disc to Digital service to embrace a device most of us carry around all day: a smartphone.
Until now, Vudu offered an In-Home Disc to Digital service which allowed you to convert Blu-ray and DVD movies you owned into digital versions for a small fee. In order to achieve that, you needed to download the Vudu To Go app on to your Windows PC or Mac, insert the disc into a DVD or Blu-ray drive, and allow the app to verify the disc. Alternatively, you can visit a Walmart Store with the discs.
Both methods described above are a little cumbersome. An increasing number of new PCs don't even include a disc drive anymore, and who wants to travel to Walmart with a box full of discs? So, according to The Verge, starting today Vudu is embracing smartphones.
Using Vudu's mobile app on your Android or iOS device, it's possible to scan a movie's barcode using your phone's camera. If it's one of the 8,000 movies currently supported by the service you'll get the option to convert to digital.
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Pricing for the conversion varies based on the type of disc. Blu-ray to a 1080p HD digital copy (HDX) costs $2, as does a DVD to SD digital copy. But if you want to turn a DVD movie into a HDX digital copy, Vudu charges $5. A discount of 50 percent is available if you convert 10 or more movies, though, and every users gets one complimentary mobile conversion.
The resulting digital copy is an UltraViolet movie, meaning you'll also need an UltraViolet account and playback is limited to UltraViolet-compatible services and devices. UltraViolet simply acts as a digital locker storing licenses for movies you are allowed to watch rather than storing the movie data itself.
For anyone looking to rid themselves of physical media, these cheap movie conversions may be tempting. However, I suspect that $5 DVD to HD price is going to seem too steep for many people, especially when you consider the growing popularity of services such as Netflix for as little as $7.99 a month.