Hollywood partners with Wal-Mart to offer “disc-to-digital” scheme

Ben Kersey - Mar 8, 2012
Hollywood partners with Wal-Mart to offer “disc-to-digital” scheme

The movie industry have been scrambling to find the best solution to piracy lately. Last month Fox and Warner Bros. partnered with SanDisk and Western Digital to launch their “Project Phenix” initiative, allowing you to move DRM laced content via their hard drives. The digital locker service UltraViolet also launched back in January, and reportedly has 750,000 registered users so far.

Hollywood are hoping their latest idea will win hearts and minds. The Wall Street Journal first repoted that five out of the six major movie studios are looking to partner with Wal-Mart to create a “disc to digital” scheme. It would allow customers to go to Wal-Mart stores to register their existing DVDs and receive a digital copy in the cloud with UltraViolet, as opposed to buying content all over again. The service would however carry a small fee.

Most notably missing though is Disney, who have been cautious to jump on board the UltraViolet initiative. Last month during Disney’s quarterly earnings call, CEO Bob Iger said of UltraViolet:

I don’t want to sound too critical, but we’re taking a wait-and-see approach on UltraViolet. I’m not suggesting that we’re not open minded about it, but so far, I’m not sure that it’s proven to be as robust as we’d expected or as consumer friendly as we had hoped.

Disney are instead have been keen on developing their own KeyChest system, which would work in a similar way to UltraViolet, allowing content to be purchased and then stored in the cloud, where it could be played back on any device supporting KeyChest’s DRM. As of yet, there is still no release date or plans for KeyChest.

Frankly, we can’t see consumers rushing down to Wal-Mart to scan all their DVDs when they can already make their own digital copies free of DRM, despite the legalities. Although UltraViolet has reportedly racked up 750,000 registered users since its launch, it remains to be seen how many of those users are active, and how many devices the service will ultimately land on.

[via Home Media Magazine]

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