Tip: Convert physical Blu-ray and DVD discs to iTunes with Vudu and Movies Anywhere

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited October 2017
The expansion of Movies Anywhere to new studios and services has, in a roundabout way, enabled a new capability: You can now scan physical DVDs and Blu-rays that you own, and for a small fee convert them into authentic, legitimate iTunes Store purchases. AppleInsider explains how to do it.




Last week, Disney's Movies Anywhere service greatly expanded to include Sony, Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros. The service links to major digital providers, including Apple's iTunes, to allow film purchases to be accessible regardless of where they were originally bought, as long as it's through one of the five participating studios.

For example, if you bought a digital movie on Amazon, linking that account and iTunes to Movies Anywhere will allow the same film to be downloaded or streamed from iTunes.

Things get even more interesting, however, when Walmart's Vudu service is brought into the mix. As discovered by AppleInsider reader Joe Piervincenti, Movies Anywhere also recognizes films purchased through Vudu's unique "Disc to Digital" program.

How it works

Vudu Disc to Digital lets users scan the barcode from any DVD or Blu-ray they own. If the film is recognized and is supported through the program, the purchase can then be "converted" to digital for a small fee.

Vudu charges $2 to take a high-definition Blu-ray and turn it into a digital copy.

For a standard-definition DVD, Vudu charges $2 for an SD digital copy. Customers can also pay $5 to upconvert a standard-def DVD to an HD digital copy.

While the Vudu Disc to Digital service is not new, the cross-syncing support via Movies Anywhere is. That means you can take your old, physical movie collection and convert them to legitimate iTunes purchases (or Amazon, or Google Play, if you prefer). Simply search the Movies Anywhere site ahead of time to make sure the film is included in the cross-platform syncing service.

For customers looking to convert their film collection from physical to digital, it's now easier than ever.

How to do it

Presumably, as an AppleInsider reader, you already have an iTunes account. You're already well on your way.

You'll want to make a Vudu account through the service's official iOS app. Using the Disc to Digital feature requires not only a credit card, but also that you share location data.

Once you're set up and logged in, tap the Menu button in the Vudu app and scroll down to the very bottom, where you'll find Disc to Digital as the second to last option. Tap it, and then choose the Scan Barcode button.




Scanning your movie collection is easy, though not every film will be supported. Our tests found that collections of films sold in one package are usually not compatible. Don't expect to take your Star Wars original trilogy box set DVDs and put them on iTunes.

We also had trouble with some limited and collector's editions, which sometimes lack barcodes on their packaging. We encountered this problem with a Blu-ray collection of four Alien films, as well as with unique packaging for Evil Dead and Akira.

Unsurprisingly, rare and obscure releases were not supported. Similarly, don't expect your TV collections on DVD and Blu-ray to work.

The Vudu app lets you scan in bulk, so you can have a number of films lined up to convert at once. Once your films are scanned, the app sends an email to complete the purchase.

Authorize the purchase and the films will be in your "My Vudu" section of the app.

Your films are now in Vudu, but the next step is to convert them to iTunes. That's where the new Movies Anywhere app comes into play.

Open the app and register an account, then choose More from the bottom menu. Next choose Manage Retailers.

Here, through a very simple process, you can authorize the app to tap into both your iTunes and Vudu accounts. If you have them and want to connect them, you can also authorize Amazon and Google Play.




Once you add both iTunes and Vudu, you're done. Vudu purchases -- including those Disc to Digital scans you bought -- will now show up in your iTunes library. That includes the new TV app for iOS and tvOS, and it allows you to both download and stream the films directly from Apple's iTunes Store.

Notably, all HD purchases on Vudu show up as high definition on iTunes as well. 4K, however, is another story.

A 4K question mark

At the moment, how Apple presents 4K movies in your library, and how it streams them, is something of a mess.

For example, in my own library, I own an iTunes copy of Ex Machina -- a film that Apple has used to promote 4K support on the new Apple TV via Twitter ads. And yet the film shows up in my library as HD-only.

Then consider Logan -- a film I bought on Blu-ray and then added to my digital collection via an iTunes digital copy redemption code. The movie shows up in my library as 4K, and when I stream, swiping downward with the Apple TV remote shows that it is, in fact, streaming in 4K.




But then with Vudu, I converted a Blu-ray copy of Pacific Rim to iTunes. The film shows up in my library as having 4K support, and yet when I swipe down while streaming, it says the film is playing in HD -- not 4K.

Three different 4K films. Three different purchase methods. Three different outcomes, without any clear understanding of why.

This is Apple's own store on Apple's own hardware, not a third-party service or device. The lack of clarity is inexcusable, and needs to be addressed.

Notably, legacy standard-def movies I own from old digital copy redemptions remain SD, and do not list as HD in my library. For example, I have redeemed versions of Back to the Future that remain in SD -- and they accurately list as SD in my iTunes library.

If Vudu conversions are not eligible for 4K, that's fine -- just don't display them as being 4K in my iTunes library.
jahblade
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 90
    Sounds great - but is US only I guess? (I am in UK)
    mobius
  • Reply 2 of 90
    MrWellington07MrWellington07 Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Hmmmm... What's to stop someone from going to Best Buy and scanning every movie in the store???
    sdw2001
  • Reply 3 of 90
    Hmmmm... What's to stop someone from going to Best Buy and scanning every movie in the store???
    Probably that it requires you to share location data when you're using the scanning feature.
    jahblade
  • Reply 4 of 90
    dws-2dws-2 Posts: 238member
    I don't get this. This seems too good to be true. I have literally a hundred plus DVDs and Blu-rays that I'd gladly convert, but without a way to verify ownership, this seems like it's going to have some huge downside.
    potatoleeksoupstantheman
  • Reply 5 of 90
    Hmmmm... What's to stop someone from going to Best Buy and scanning every movie in the store???
    I’d assume that’s why they collect location information. If you are scanning in retail environments, that probably flags you for investigation.
    potatoleeksoup
  • Reply 6 of 90
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    Sounds great - but is US only I guess? (I am in UK)
    Vudu is only available in the U.S., as far as I know.
  • Reply 7 of 90
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    Hmmmm... What's to stop someone from going to Best Buy and scanning every movie in the store???
    Hopefully their conscience.
    netrox
  • Reply 8 of 90
    Great idea but five bucks per DVD is still too high IMO. Two bucks sure what the hell, but five bucks is what feature DVDs cost in the pallet bins at Best Buy. 

    Any idea how long these digital rights last in itunes, say even after if this program were to be discontinued?
  • Reply 9 of 90
    I connected my accounts the other day when I got the email annoucing the new service. It does show my movies from Vudu in the new Movies Anywhere service, however not all of them moved over to iTunes and not all of my iTunes movies show up in Movies Anywhere.
  • Reply 10 of 90
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    Jeff.H said:
    I connected my accounts the other day when I got the email annoucing the new service. It does show my movies from Vudu in the new Movies Anywhere service, however not all of them moved over to iTunes and not all of my iTunes movies show up in Movies Anywhere.
    Not all studios support Movies Anywhere. Odds are the ones that didn't transfer over are not under the five participating studios I mentioned in the story — Disney, Sony, Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros.

    For example, I scanned the film Crank — which was distributed by Lionsgate — and it didn't transfer to iTunes.
    edited October 2017 stantheman
  • Reply 11 of 90
    nhughes said:
    Jeff.H said:
    I connected my accounts the other day when I got the email annoucing the new service. It does show my movies from Vudu in the new Movies Anywhere service, however not all of them moved over to iTunes and not all of my iTunes movies show up in Movies Anywhere.
    Not all studios support Movies Anywhere. Odds are the ones that didn't transfer over are not under the five participating studios I mentioned in the story — Disney, Sony, Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros.
    Harry Potter is WB and none of them came over. 
  • Reply 12 of 90
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    Jeff.H said:
    nhughes said:
    Jeff.H said:
    I connected my accounts the other day when I got the email annoucing the new service. It does show my movies from Vudu in the new Movies Anywhere service, however not all of them moved over to iTunes and not all of my iTunes movies show up in Movies Anywhere.
    Not all studios support Movies Anywhere. Odds are the ones that didn't transfer over are not under the five participating studios I mentioned in the story — Disney, Sony, Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros.
    Harry Potter is WB and none of them came over. 
    Hmm. That is odd. I don't know the answer to that one.

    That made me curious if certain franchises are excluded, so I just checked Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a film I bought on Blu-ray but added to iTunes through digital copy. I went to both Vudu and Amazon, and both say I own the film, so at least in that instance, my iTunes digital copy of Star Wars played nice with Movies Anywhere. Considering Disney created Movies Anywhere, perhaps that's not surprising. Maybe WB is more stingy with their properties.
    edited October 2017
  • Reply 13 of 90
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    polymnia said:
    Hmmmm... What's to stop someone from going to Best Buy and scanning every movie in the store???
    I’d assume that’s why they collect location information. If you are scanning in retail environments, that probably flags you for investigation.
    Nothing stops them. This isn’t new.

    scammers have been selling movies this way for years. Look up posts for “D2D sales” ok GooglePlus. Movies Anywhere is gonna fuc* Apple so hard in so many ways. 
  • Reply 14 of 90
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    cali said:
    polymnia said:
    Hmmmm... What's to stop someone from going to Best Buy and scanning every movie in the store???
    I’d assume that’s why they collect location information. If you are scanning in retail environments, that probably flags you for investigation.
    Nothing stops them. This isn’t new.

    scammers have been selling movies this way for years. Look up posts for “D2D sales” ok GooglePlus. Movies Anywhere is gonna fuc* Apple so hard in so many ways. 
    I don't agree with that line of thinking entirely. If anything, this makes me even more committed to iTunes, ensuring I can have my entire collection in one place. But it's also consumer friendly — if Amazon has a good deal on a digital copy, I can buy there and transfer to iTunes. Best of both worlds (for me, at least).
    lorin schultzboltsfan17jahbladestantheman
  • Reply 15 of 90
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,160member
    From what I'm seeing and others I know as well, any movie purchased in 4K from Vudu will transfer over to 4K in iTunes. On some 4K blu rays I've redeemed in Vudu, those are only streaming in 1080 on iTunes even though I have a 4K digital copy in Vudu. 
  • Reply 16 of 90
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,160member
    Hmmmm... What's to stop someone from going to Best Buy and scanning every movie in the store???
    I'm not saying you should do this but you can get the bar code for any movie easily online. 
  • Reply 17 of 90
    Despite being an Apple household, I've been collecting my movies via VUDU for a while now.  A few reasons why: 1) I own a TiVo which has a VUDU app and can play movies at 24fps 2) I liked the fact that VUDU was a cross-platform app, just in case I ever decided to change from an Apple household to Android or whatever. 3) The Disc-To-Digital program allowed me to convert a large number of my DVDs to digital for an affordable price.

    When the new Apple TV 4K came out and Apple announced free 4K upgrades I was starting to second-guess not going with iTunes, but with this new Movies Anywhere service it looks like I may be able to have my cake and eat it, too.  I'm still not happy, though, with Apple lack of support for 24fps.  Hopefully that's something they can (and will) fix/add via a software update.

    The D2D program only works on movies that came out before the digital codes started getting added to discs. And even then, a lot of movies don't work with D2D, either because a particular studio doesn't support it, or for other unknown reasons. I had a large chunk of my disc collection that I couldn't convert to digital using D2D. But I'm still happy about the ones that I *was* able to convert.
    jahbladeZooMigo
  • Reply 18 of 90
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,160member
    cali said:
    polymnia said:
    Hmmmm... What's to stop someone from going to Best Buy and scanning every movie in the store???
    I’d assume that’s why they collect location information. If you are scanning in retail environments, that probably flags you for investigation.
    Nothing stops them. This isn’t new.

    scammers have been selling movies this way for years. Look up posts for “D2D sales” ok GooglePlus. Movies Anywhere is gonna fuc* Apple so hard in so many ways. 
    I disagree. Movies Anywhere is great for consumers. It's stupid how some movies, you can only redeem at Ultra Violet and others you can actually select iTunes. For people like me who still buy physical media, Movies Anywhere is great. I can redeem my digital codes and movies show up both in my Vudu and iTunes libraries. 
  • Reply 19 of 90
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    scott r said:
    Despite being an Apple household, I've been collecting my movies via VUDU for a while now.  A few reasons why: 1) I own a TiVo which has a VUDU app and can play movies at 24fps 2) I liked the fact that VUDU was a cross-platform app, just in case I ever decided to change from an Apple household to Android or whatever. 3) The Disc-To-Digital program allowed me to convert a large number of my DVDs to digital for an affordable price.

    When the new Apple TV 4K came out and Apple announced free 4K upgrades I was starting to second-guess not going with iTunes, but with this new Movies Anywhere service it looks like I may be able to have my cake and eat it, too.  I'm still not happy, though, with Apple lack of support for 24fps.  Hopefully that's something they can (and will) fix/add via a software update.

    The D2D program only works on movies that came out before the digital codes started getting added to discs. And even then, a lot of movies don't work with D2D, either because a particular studio doesn't support it, or for other unknown reasons. I had a large chunk of my disc collection that I couldn't convert to digital using D2D. But I'm still happy about the ones that I *was* able to convert.
    have no idea why Apple doesn’t support 24fps. I wish they had an automatic native feature where movies play in 24fps if the user chooses. Are you thinking of switching from Apple?



    nhughes said:
    cali said:
    polymnia said:
    Hmmmm... What's to stop someone from going to Best Buy and scanning every movie in the store???
    I’d assume that’s why they collect location information. If you are scanning in retail environments, that probably flags you for investigation.
    Nothing stops them. This isn’t new.

    scammers have been selling movies this way for years. Look up posts for “D2D sales” ok GooglePlus. Movies Anywhere is gonna fuc* Apple so hard in so many ways. 
    I don't agree with that line of thinking entirely. If anything, this makes me even more committed to iTunes, ensuring I can have my entire collection in one place. But it's also consumer friendly — if Amazon has a good deal on a digital copy, I can buy there and transfer to iTunes. Best of both worlds (for me, at least).
    Doesn’t matter it’s already happening. I’m part of various Digital movie communities and many of them are talking about getting cheap devices this holiday to play iTunes content on like the 4k Fire TV.

    The Disc to Digital thing might be new to iTunes users but everyone else abuses the system to get cheap or free movies. People with large collections sell their movies for cheap it reminded me of the burnt CD market. 

    Edit:

    If anyone is interested go to googleplus and search “ultraviolet” and you’ll see all kinds of dirty things going down but most of the community are nice people. You’ll also see talk about ditching the “evil” Apple because of Movies Anywhere.

    Unless Apple takes gaming seriously or begins releasing a large catalog of iTunes exclusives these people have no reason to stick to Apple devices.
    edited October 2017
  • Reply 20 of 90
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 907member
    polymnia said:
    Hmmmm... What's to stop someone from going to Best Buy and scanning every movie in the store???
    I’d assume that’s why they collect location information. If you are scanning in retail environments, that probably flags you for investigation.
    Vudu states:
    "Why do you I need to allow the app GPS access to my device? Why do I need to add billing information?

    We take fraudulent activity seriously, so we've implemented a number of security measures to ensure none takes place. Asking that users enable GPS helps ensure Mobile Disc to Digital is used from a customers' billing address on their own collections. We have also set a cap of 100 discs that can be converted per account per year via mobile."

    https://support.vudu.com/?supportPage=home

    I was wondering how well the upscaling works on an older movie, such as Aliens which was filmed in 1979. Did they remaster HD content from film cellulose or was it simply upscaled digitally? Can anyone attest to a much better picture/sound quality?


    randominternetpersonpolymnia
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