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Disney Finally Announces an UltraViolet Alternative
March 1, 2014

Disney has been the biggest holdout from participating in UltraViolet, the movie studio digital copy system. UltraViolet isn’t available on iTunes — from this observer’s perspective, it appears to have been set up to purposefully take customers away from that preferred outlet — and Disney and Apple have long-standing connections through Pixar.

Now comes news that the studio is launching Disney Movies Anywhere, a digital copy system using iTunes and iOS devices. The goal, of course, is to allow you to access digital copies you purchase from more locations by using a central permission server. Except by setting up yet another service, my collection is once again split. I have “owned” digital films in Flixster, Vudu (both with underlying UltraViolet), iTunes, and now DMA. My DVDs, on the other hand, all go on the same set of shelves. Plus, in this case, these movies are already available to me in iTunes. Installing the Disney Movies Anywhere app just shows me a filtered list to that one company. I suppose parents might like that. An Android version is promised to be coming, although with no date yet.

Right now, if you set up an account and connect your iTunes account, you get a free copy of The Incredibles, the Pixar superhero movie (which I already had). I was surprised, once I signed in, to find a number of movies in my collection. It appears that they’re loading things I previously had digital copies of (from DVD purchases). Weirdly, my legal (obtained with the Blu-ray) Thor copy didn’t register.

Digital copies are now widely available for purchase (at a typical price of $15, which is a lot for a bunch of bits) long before the home video version on disc can be bought. For example, Frozen, which comes out on DVD March 18, is now available through Disney Movies Anywhere. Companies love selling them, because they make more profit with fewer costs.

5 Responses  
Augie De Blieck Jr. writes:  

And Apple is now also pursuing the music industry to have more short-term exclusives like they did with Beyonce a couple months ago. That one was so super successful that the record companies will likely try it more. It’s a similar model to what Disney is doing with “Frozen”: A very short term digital exclusive, then wide release.

But, yeah, I still like my Blu-ray shelf. I’m an old fuddy duddy.

You’re right about the parents thing, though: I know my daughter is likely to use this, even if I only have a couple of movies in there right now. That’ll grow with time…

 
JK Parkin writes:  

I downloaded this last night and tried inputting my digital codes for several movies. Avengers and Iron Man 3 were added just fine, but it didn’t recognize the codes for Captain America and the first Thor movie. None of the Disney movies we own in digital format were added, but that’s probably because they’re tied to my wife’s account … which makes me wonder if there’s an easy way to tie them together so I can access her stuff.

 
Johanna writes:  

No, there isn’t. If you delink your iTunes account, you have to wait 180 days (6 months) to link up another one, presumably to avoid easy sharing. I don’t think they considered families very well.

Did Cap and Thor come out before Disney fully took over Marvel movie-making or something? Those are the two I’m having trouble with as well.

 
Ralf Haring writes:  

I’ve also seen digital codes that can now be redeemed at iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon (choose one). So … yay for more bifurcation? Apple always only played with Apple products, but with Google and Amazon increasingly getting into hardware themselves, having to own a dongle of some sort – Apple tv, Chromecast, some sort of Kindle eventually – for each provider is the ever-more-likely (and consumer-unfriendly) expectation.

 
Disney Premieres New Cars Cartoon on Disney Movies Anywhere ยป DVDs Worth Watching writes:  

[…] Disney Movies Anywhere, the company’s UltraViolet alternative for digital movie access, is now expanding into original promotional content. Right now, those with […]

 

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