Best Buy Tests At-Home Disc-to-Digital21 Dec, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey
Best Buy Dec. 20 quietly began testing an at-home disc-to-digital program through its CinemaNow digital movie service, letting consumers unlock an UltraViolet-enabled version of more than 3,500 titles from several studios, including Sony, Universal, Warner and Lionsgate.
The launch of the first at-home disc-to-digital service could prove a major boon for UltraViolet, the buy once, play anywhere cloud-based digital movie service the home entertainment industry launched in October 2011. Currently there are more than 7 million household UltraViolet accounts.
Best Buy only recently began offering UltraViolet via CinemaNow, beginning with The Bourne Legacy and The Dark Knight Rises.
The disc-to-digital beta web page (cinemanow.com/disc_to_digital) offers downloads of a CinemaNow player for both PCs and Macs that allows users to insert a DVD and unlock an UltraViolet-enabled copy of the film. The CinemaNow application also offers access to a user’s UltraViolet collection. Blu-ray Discs are not currently supported.
Similar to the in-store disc-to-digital program launched by Walmart in April, CinemaNow disc-to-digital DVD owners can pay $2 to unlock a standard-definition version of a film, or $5 to upgrade the content to high definition. Rovi Corp. is providing the technology that enables the CinemaNow disc-to-digital service.
The CinemaNow player offers both streaming and download options, as well as a direct link to CinemaNow to buy or rent content. The Mac version of the player does not currently support high-def, and down-converts high-def titles to standard definition during playback.
Walmart’s disc-to-digital program — via its Vudu movie service — was heralded as a major milestone for the then-fledgling UltraViolet program, opening up more than 4,000 titles from major studios, and for the first time giving consumers access to UltraViolet titles not tied to new-release Blu-rays and DVDs.