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Details of Initial "Disc to Digital" Program Emerge

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the digitize-your-digital-video-disc-today dept.

DRM 201

MojoKid writes with an excerpt from an article at Hot Hardware: "Walmart's burgeoning partnership with the Ultraviolet DRM system backed by major Hollywood studios and their plans to 'assist' customers in registering DVDs with the Ultraviolet system, made headlines not long ago. Walmart has also since announced additional details to the program and it's a clever attempt to drive more users to Vudu, Walmart's subsidiary movie streaming service. Here's how the service works. 'Starting April 16th, 2012 in more than 3,500 stores, Walmart customers will be able to bring their DVD and Blu-ray collections to Walmart and receive digital access to their favorite titles from the partnering studios. An equal conversion for standard DVDs and Blu-ray discs will be $2. Standard DVDs can be upgraded to High-Def (HD) for $5.' Anyone who doesn't have a Vudu account will have one created for them as part of this process. That's part of the genius to the plan. If customers embrace the offer, Walmart signs up hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of people for Vudu. Even better, from Walmart's perspective, is that first-time users who pony up $2 for a digital version of their DVDs are effectively paying to create Vudu accounts."

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201 comments

Possible High "Parental Factor" (4, Insightful)

ossuary (1532467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353207)

I can see this being aimed at tech-dumb parents/grandparents. Might be huge for my "business-smart but tech-dumb" bro-in-law who doesn't mind paying a fortune for a mobile data plan. I don't see how this gives any halfway tech-literate person anything better than what they can do on their own with a good ripper and a NAS. If they also provided a local DRM-Free file for home/traveling non-streamed viewing when you take your disc in, I could see it being more popular, but as is, I am not interested in the slightest.

Re:Possible High "Parental Factor" (5, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353347)

I'm not so sure... I got a couple big hard drives and started ripping my stuff and storing it on a NAS. It's pretty time consuming. I got about 30 or 40 movies done, but haven't done any in a while. There's a lot of messing around that I had to do to get it work right. I find that I have to use separate programs for ripping and conversion, because many discs have bad sectors (intentionally) to try to throw off less intelligent ripping programs. Not only that, but I found I got varying results. Some videos have audio out of sync even if I used the same settings that worked for all the other discs. A couple bucks a disk isn't that much when you consider how much work is involved. A technical person who also happens to make a lot of money (not uncommon) who doesn't want to waste a ton of free time converting DVDs could easily go for this. Although I'd think it would be much more palatable if you could also bring in a hard drive and get copies of the movies for your own use, and not restrict the viewing to online only.

Re:Possible High "Parental Factor" (5, Informative)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353587)

You must be using windows to try to rip the movie.

I set up a FreeNAS server to share the drive. I then set up a second system to do the conversion.

Both my desktop and the conversion server (Linux) use dvdbackup to backup the dvd to the NAS. I can share it as is, but it takes a lot of space to store the whole backup (4 to 8 gb) So I queue the backup for conversion to xvid/avi on the conversion server. The xvid conversion is done with omgrip http://ogmrip.sourceforge.net/en/index.html [sourceforge.net]

It processes about 10 dvd's a day with no cropping and no down scaling of the movie and the file size fixed at 1024m. I can fill the drive holding the dvd backups in an afternoon and have it rip the whole week with out adding to it. I have no sound sync issues and only a small number of really new DVD's will not read and backup. I have reported the errors to dvdbackup so I assume they will get it fixed.

I have 169 of my dvd's ripped and still have 580 to go.

All in all, I spend my spare time on Saturday doing dvdbackups (About 7 hours total for the day) and then spend about an hour a day moving the completed movies to the Movie directory and removing the dvd backup once it is done.

With those two pieces of software I have almost no messing around to do, simple set up a profile to set the xvid size, audio settings (Dolby 5.1), and turn off cropping.

All of my streaming is done to a Boxee Box.

Simple, easy, works almost every time (Total failure is about 10 dvd's so far.), no 2$ and no need for the internet connection to watch a movie.

Re:Possible High "Parental Factor" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39353773)

Thanks for the instructions. You know, I always wondered how to waste my free time on the weekend and now I know. I can't wait to spend 7 hours this Saturday ripping movies!

So what will you be wasting 7 hours on? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39354233)

Posting pointless bollocks on slashdot some more?

YOU haven't said you wanted to rip your movies because of the time taken. The GGP said they did. GPP gave how to reduce that dramatically.

In short: Who gives a fuck what you do on Saturday?

Re:Possible High "Parental Factor" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39353783)

All in all, I spend my spare time on Saturday doing dvdbackups (About 7 hours total for the day) and then spend about an hour a day moving the completed movies to the Movie directory and removing the dvd backup once it is done.

I think this quote reinforces GP's point - why spend free time fiddling about with all of this when you could pay somebody else a few dollars to do it for you? My Saturdays are probably my most precious resource, I am very careful about how I spend them, as I'm sure most working people are.

I mean seriously, 14 hours per week simply to amass a collection of video files you probably don't have any remaining free time to sit down and watch? You're mad...

Re:Possible High "Parental Factor" (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353907)

...or you could just feed disks into the machine whenever.

If you're talking about movies then that's the single biggest issue. Even with TV shows, most of your time "wasted" is going to be spent swapping disks.

Beyond that, if you are spending a lot of time on this sort of thing then you are simply using the wrong tools. Once a movie is a file on your hard drive, things like Handbrake and mencoder should be doing all the work and they can run unattended for as long as the task takes.

Of course a big pile of disks is going to take time. It will also take a non-trivial amount of money if you decide to take them all to Walmart.

Re:Possible High "Parental Factor" (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353993)

Thanks for this.. I need to look into doing this. I have a two year old that loves Shrek (and all her movies) so much she carries the discs around the house...

Re:Possible High "Parental Factor" (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39354287)

(About 7 hours total for the day)

Goodness... I don't know how many Saturdays that is, but your whole collection of 580 movies would be done for $1160 (if they were really all worth scanning). At $25/hr you'd make that in 46 hours of work. That's under 7 of your 7-hour Saturdays.

And of course, now you need to buy server hardware, drives, and pay for electricity to keep the movies. And of course you have to back all of that up or lose all your time when the drive or server crashes.

I guess us hourly guys just think about our time differently!

As an aside, it is too bad that hard drive prices went up. Pre-Thai-flood, you could have had the 8TB array needed to redundantly hold the original DVDs at full-res (assuming a mix of single and double sided/layer disks) for under $300.

Re:Possible High "Parental Factor" (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353635)

Very few DVDs have extra copy protection that something like mplayer can't handle. For the rest, stuff is pretty simple actually. Movies are especially trivial.

A "technical" person should be embarassed to consider this service.

A non-technical person would likely find trying to use the associated online services to be outside of their comfort zone.

Re:Possible High "Parental Factor" (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39354177)

I wouldn't use this particular service (the streaming requirement is simply a deal breaker), but for the time invested I'd totally use something similar that gave me viewable files. It's took me days to rip the 50 or movies I have done to a hard drive. I'd much rather have been doing something else and paying someone to handle it. I could have been hiking, or jogging, or watching a movie, or.. well.. lots of stuff. It takes just long enough to rip a movie that you can't really just leave it and go. Not if you want to achieve any level of efficiency.

Obligatory XKCD: http://xkcd.com/951/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Possible High "Parental Factor" (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39354303)

What does "efficient" really matter? What's your rush? So what if the physical ripping part takes awhile just because you do it "whenever" and don't "dedicate time" to it?

You are sabotaging the process and then complaining that it's not working.

Until any of these services can offer me what Target plus a DVD ripper can, then the whole point about "my time is valuable" is entirely moot. I can't buy a suitable replacement at any price.

I get something I can take anywhere and play on any device.

I get the largest selection of content available.

I get all of that stuff at competitive prices because you have multiple merchants selling the exact same item.

I never have to worry about companies going out of business or coupons "expiring".

I can copy this stuff at will and keep it forever.

Re:Possible High "Parental Factor" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39353751)

I'm not so sure... I got a couple big hard drives and started ripping my stuff and storing it on a NAS. It's pretty time consuming. I got about 30 or 40 movies done, but haven't done any in a while. There's a lot of messing around that I had to do to get it work right. I find that I have to use separate programs for ripping and conversion, because many discs have bad sectors (intentionally) to try to throw off less intelligent ripping programs. Not only that, but I found I got varying results. Some videos have audio out of sync even if I used the same settings that worked for all the other discs.

Or... you could just download the scene releases of the movies you've already paid for, and take advantage of someone else's already having gone through that hassle. But of course that's illegal (even though you're ending up with the same damn movies on your hard drive), and of course they refuse to provide a legal equivalent.

Really, it shouldn't be surprising by now... just when it looks like they're getting it, and addressing one of the use cases for piracy, of course they botch it up by tying it to some streaming service, because that's what arrogant oligopolies do.

Re:Possible High "Parental Factor" (1)

webheaded (997188) | more than 2 years ago | (#39354275)

Honestly, I don't see the issue with this. Especially if you aren't torrenting (which requires you to share). If I hop on Usenet and download a copy of a movie I own...all I'm doing is taking advantage of the scene ripping the movie FOR me. Hell, they're better at it than I am anyway so there we go. The funny part here too is that it takes me less time to download a digital copy than it would to rip it. The only times I have to rip my own media is when the thing I'm looking for simple isn't on the internet (example: Drinking show called Three Sheets...I got the DVDs and had to rip them myself).

The only really illegal thing I see there is people downloading things that they don't own and the scene people getting busted for making it available, but I hardly see what that has to do with ME. :p

Re:Possible High "Parental Factor" (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353847)

Why are you converting, though?

Storage is pretty cheap - I've got 200 ISOs of full DVDs (ripped, only things stripped are the region codes, etc.) - and that's not counting the ones that are just the files not stuck into an ISO container yet (no need, VLC will play them back regardless).

Conversion might make for smaller files, but you also incur a loss of quality - and more often than not you'll lose things either because you choose to or because the program chooses for you (where'd my DVD extras go!? - what do you mean the only subtitles are German? why is this movie in the French dub rather than its original Japanese that was on the DVD!?).

In addition, converting video takes a long time without a dedicated piece of hardware (yes, GPUs can help - dedicated hardware, on the other hand, blasts through it).

This is also what makes me wary of the initiatives in this story - so I pay $2 for content that I already have, in lesser quality, with less stuff - for the convenience of not having to rip it myself? I think I'll save the $2 and just occasionally swap DVDs after the software is done ripping it (can continue working, gaming, whatever while it's doing that).

Maybe if the $2 was an upgrade to HD material for the main movie, at least... then it might be more attractive.

Re:Possible High "Parental Factor" (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39354191)

You can do either depending on your preferences and the content in question. For something where the quality matters, you can just plain buy the BD and rip that. For other stuff, the degredation gained by re-compressing in a more modern format may not be such a tragedy.

If you can get more stuff on one disk, then that simplifies storage management. Plus, you can just have more stuff.

Re:Possible High "Parental Factor" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39354211)

Meh. I just use the free version of DVDFab HD and rip to the hard drive without conversion (just removing the stupid FBI warning and previews) - one folder per disk. VLC plays the folders just like a real DVD, menus and all. Almost no time required beyond dropping in a disk and hitting "rip."

Re:Possible High "Parental Factor" (2)

jader3rd (2222716) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353823)

I can see this being aimed at tech-dumb parents/grandparents.

It could also be for parents who don't like re-purchasing DVD's. I've never had a DVD break in my household, but periodically it'll be in a story I read that some poor mom has to keep on re-buyin her kids favorite DVD because they keep on stepping on it (apparently that's what kids do to things they love). So they pay $2 to get something that can't be stepped on. Now instead of paying $60 for a movie over a three year period, they've paid $22.

Now I know what you're thinking "She should just rip it and burn copies." That requires extra hardware and software, which she may not have, and therefore would be an extra expense. Plus the time it takes her to do the ripping, storing, and managing, may be worth more than $2 per movie to her. To me it's not, but I realize that different people in the market have different costs than I do.

Re:Possible High "Parental Factor" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39354305)

$22 assumes their internet connection is unlimited and cheap.

With tendency to introduce limits shown by ISPs, it might become less interesting: "No, kids, you watched it this month already, mommy's data plan ran out"

Rebuy your media, now at Wal-Mart! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39353209)

Studios continue to charge again and again for the same media... Lucas pioneered this and we're sheep to continue to pay and repay for movies/music/etc.

Re:Rebuy your media, now at Wal-Mart! (2)

chinton (151403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353287)

You had me up until "Lucas pioneered this". The LP->8-track->cassette train had just about the time Lucas came along.

Re:Rebuy your media, now at Wal-Mart! (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353453)

"This is gonna replace CD's soon; guess I'll have to buy the White Album again."

Agent K

Re:Rebuy your media, now at Wal-Mart! (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353673)

I have a copy of Star Wars on 70s-era videorecord (RCA CED). Then I bought VHS. Then rented the Laserdisc and copied it over to Super VHS.

And finally DVD (the original non-altered version). I decided to stop there because buying the same movie over-and-over sucked, and frankly I got bored with the story, plus making Lucas richer.

Re:Rebuy your media, now at Wal-Mart! (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353957)

I stopped because I was not in fact buying the same movie over and over again. I was buying subsequent derivative works based on the same original movie.

I would have less objections if I could actually pay for the originals in new formats. I could go for BD versions of the special editions. I just have no interest in versions that were never released theatrically.

Re:Rebuy your media, now at Wal-Mart! (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353703)

"blue rays", "ultraviolent", "voodoo"... I can't really put my finger on it, but there appears to be something sinister about it!

Let me get this straight... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39353219)

They'll let me pay them for the privilege of watching something I already own in a different format? How magnanimous of them.

Re:Let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39353373)

They're charging a fee to give you access to a copy of the movie data that isn't dependant on that disc you already own. Yes, it's a rip-off, and everyone who has the basic know-how can get their own portable versions, with the cost of just a little time and attention.
The market is mostly people who don't know how to rip a DVD, but it's actually a smaller set of those who don't know how to rip a DVD and want to be able to watch the contents of their DVDs on some other tech toy.
Aside from iFans, I'm not sure what other demographics fit that more accurate scope.

Re:Let me get this straight... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353423)

And the set of people who could rip a DVD, but know that doing so is illegal and... what? I'm sure they must exist somewhere!

Re:Let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39353759)

How does this tripe have a positive score? Ripping a DVD or BD is perfectly legal in the US, even though some of the software that helps with that has been under legal attack and libelous misrepresentation by Hollywood lawyers.

Re:Let me get this straight... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353983)

It's illegal but it's not the sort of thing anyone is going to persue you over.

OTOH, there is a statue of limitations on it.

Some of my older rips are old enough for that to be the case.

Re:Let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39353515)

What's the state of blu-ray drives/software on PCs nowadays? Can we rip those Blu-ray discs yet?

At least they're giving a discount for already owning the disc, rather than requiring payment in full like you need for upgrading from VHS to DVD or DVD to Blu-Ray

Re:Let me get this straight... (0)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353573)

Why would an apple user use this? iTunes is leaps and bounds better in the content selection and availability across devices than this Vudu shit. Oh right, this was a "hurp durp apple users are itards" post.

So you pay for what you already own (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39353245)

no point in doing this when you can rip your bought dvds at home for free.

Re:So you pay for what you already own (0)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353275)

And potentially go to jail for doing so, at least in Slashdot's home country. Kaleidescape isn't even allowed to repair existing devices.

Re:So you pay for what you already own (3, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353611)

This is nonsense. You won't go to jail for making private use rips. Stop spreading FUD.

Disc to digital? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39353293)

So this is only for analog discs? Walmart will convert my old Laserdiscs?

"Digital delivery" defined (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353375)

I've come to believe that the term "digital" to describe paid downloads over a computer network is an extrapolation of the copyright law term "digital phonorecord delivery", as defined in 17 USC 115(d) [cornell.edu].

can you download the digital copy to keep? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39353295)

I'd pay $2 for that.

Call me when... (5, Insightful)

OliWarner (1529079) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353297)

... they let me trade in a DVD for a DRM-free 10-15GB h.264 MKV with the digital HD audio track. I'll happily pay money for that because it adds value for me. I could just buy the Bluray but this would save me filling up my house with those infernal things and would save me a fair chunk of transcoding time. I don't even care if you watermark the hell out of them (if the watermarks aren't visible) - just as long as they're DRM-free, so I can use them how I like.

I'm not going to spend extra money so I can trade one crappy format for another.

And just remember TPB offers this service for free. That's who you're competing against.

Re:Call me when... (1)

OliWarner (1529079) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353329)

To clarify - I hand them a DVD and some cash, and they hand me back a USB drive with the video on it. Bonus points for being able to give them a USB HD to fill up with DVDs you give them.

Re:Call me when... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353527)

they're not competing against tpb.

they're competing for the money of people who think it's a good deal to buy access to something you already have for two bucks. that two bucks is the business.

besides, the studios have a perfectly good reason why you can't be allowed to have the material without drm. because they're contractually obliged to keep the drm. by their own contracts. inked by them(wait what??).

Re:Call me when... (1)

crackspackle (759472) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353965)

Hollywood has finally realized they stand a better chance protecting their content, even if only for a short while, by getting rid of all physical media and going with electronic distribution only. Yes, nearly every DRM scheme will probably be hacked but that doesn't happen instantaneously and when it does, all they have to do is change to a new scheme. What surprises me is that Walmart is charging for this service. They are simply authorizing your account to view a movie based on whether you own the disc. They should give you the best available HD copy for free on the likely chance you will start to buy or rent other movies through them. More importantly, people would probably use the service because it's "free" and that would help the studios make the digital only transition.

Digital access... (1)

ThisIsAnonymous (1146121) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353301)

Paying to gaining digital access to something that you already own in a digital format and already have digital access to is pretty ridiculous...If you mean paying for online access, well that is another thing. That being said, since you already own a digital copy on DVD, you should be able to make your own digital copies that you can play on your PC, iPhone etc. Of course, that requires a little more intelligence of the customer and our legal system. I don't see either of those changing.

Re:Digital access... (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353385)

According to fair use rights already in place, you can do this. There's a law (DMCA) that conflicts with it, but it is specifically against breaking encryption and not necessarily copying..even though breaking the encryption is a necessary part of copying the DVD in accordance with your own fair use rights.

It's kind of like saying that you can legally get gas for your car from any gas station, but it's illegal to put any brand besides Ford gas through the gas hole in your car. Also Ford gas is 3x the price of normal gas for the same product.

Re:Digital access... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353733)

It's kind of like saying that you can legally get gas for your car from any gas station, but it's illegal to put any brand besides Ford gas through the gas hole in your car. Also Ford gas is 3x the price of normal gas for the same product.

But it's not like that at all, because the above behavior is expressly prohibited by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, whereas the DMCA is a law designed to deprive you of other legal rights.

I actually like this idea. (4, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353337)

For as many problems as UltraViolet has [livejournal.com] I actually think this is a good idea. I would prefer $1 a movie as a token gesture, but $2 still accomplishes that. Considering I've paid $3 to $5 dollars for a large portion of my DVD's as outlets $2 is rather steep.

Ultraviolet has the potential to be the DRM system (they hate it when you call it that) that actually benefits consumers as much as it does the companies. It's hard to pirate an Ultraviolet movie - good for the studios, the movies are theoretically (though not in actuality see above link) accessible on everything you own, without lock in. The problem with the current digital copy system is you're stuck with Sony, Microsoft, or Apple with limited ability to copy/transfer in between the three. With Ultraviolet platform neutrality is the name of the game, except for Sony and Paramount. Sony refuses to allow Linux clients to log in, Paramount insist on Silverlight so everything but the last step - actually watching the movie - works.

I as concept don't like DRM, but if they address all the reasons I don't like it I don't have a problem with it since I'm not a pirate. I would gladly pay $2 each to have all of my DVD's accessible online so I didn't have to worry about storing the files or yet another theft. Ultraviolet comes close, enough people making fun of Sony might get them to fix their crap and Paramount to it's credit doesn't appear to be intentionally excluding anyone, it's just their crappy choice of streaming software.

Re:I actually like this idea. (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353485)

You've still got the dependency issue, though: What is Ultraviolet ceases to exist some day? A lot can happen in a decade or two. Key companies could go out of business, a key member might break away to start their own service, or it might be shut down to push customers towards a successor service. When that happens, customers may well find their libraries vanishing, and what copies they have unplayable with the DRM servers disappeared. It wouldn't be the first time such a thing has happened.

Re:I actually like this idea. (2)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353633)

This thought has crossed my mind.

Ultraviolet is rather decentralized, as a whole that sort of strengthens it, but it doesn't stop branches from dying off, individual media companies doing crappy things etc...

If it becomes successful enough and they decide to terminate it they will have to address the issue for paying customers, way too much lawsuit potential. Yes there is potential to get screwed, but under this particular setup you still have your disk and you're only out $2 each for those. It's the ones you bought on Ultraviolet you have to worry about the most. As it stands I have two movies on Ultraviolet only, they were freebie bonuses from Paramount and Flixster for activating their services. In those two cases I didn't pay for them anyways.

Remember, it's not necessarily the movies that are the products of the service, but the customers that can be seen as products. The dependent customer base can be sold along with the movie rights to another company.

I'm not a DRM fan, and Ultraviolet has problems which I have gone into detail mapping out in my link, but it really does seem like they may have found the customer/company balance here, especially if they work the problems out.

Re:I actually like this idea. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353705)

I apologize, it was Universal that gave me a freebie, not Paramount, though it was a Paramount movie I registered on Flixster that got me another freebie so I should have said Universal and Flixster or Universal and Paramount - I need to give credit where it's due.

Re:I actually like this idea. (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353829)

...customers may well find their libraries vanishing, and what copies they have unplayable with the DRM servers disappeared. It wouldn't be the first time such a thing has happened.

Indeed. [wikipedia.org]

Re:I actually like this idea. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39354167)

I was thinking more Yahoo! Music Unlimited, Rhapsody, MSN Music Store, the Wal-Mart music store (didn't know they had one? Maybe that's why it failed)... probably a few more I'm overlooking.

Re:I actually like this idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39354133)

Better yet what if you have a movie and they decide to change it? Such as maybe more unskippable commercials, remove a controversial scene, court order...? Cable TV was commercial free at one point (one of its main selling points). All of the things I mentioned are not pie in the sky. Some have already happened even with physical media...

Sounds like they are trying to upsell to existing customers (it is easier/cheaper to resell to your existing customer than make new ones). Many newer DVDs/Bluray are coming with 'digital copies'. If you look at them most are time limited (on the order of 6 months to 2 years). I have bought a couple where the digital copy was already broke as the key had expired.

I do not get the skizo way the studios are working its like they want to sell us something but then turn around and say 'oh not really, it was a rental'. Its like they are trying to put the 'buy a movie market' back into the 'goto the theater market'.

Someone who has 10-20 movies probably would not care if their library disappeared. It was not that big of a deal in the first place to them. Someone who has 200+ *WILL* care. Someone who has 200+ dvds will be spending 400+ dollars to do this? Plus whatever additional hardware they now need to buy (as their dvd player is junk now)... For someone with a small collection of discs this will be 'meh why not' for someone like me who has 1500 of the things I will be giving it a skip... I can buy a shit load of new material for 3k.

This system is Divx all over. Can you still watch your Divx movies? No, the severs are long since turned off.

Re:I actually like this idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39354055)

Not sure, but it sounds like you are saying it's $2 to get a movie. It's $2 to get the DVD you paid $20 for to be copied to a file and locked into their service.

Pay Twice? (1)

multimediavt (965608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353349)

Even better, from Walmart's perspective, is that first-time users who pony up $2 for a digital version of their DVDs are effectively paying to create Vudu accounts.

No, users are effectively paying $2 more for the same content they already paid for. Eff You!

Re:Pay Twice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39353921)

How long does it take when it is 2 dollars/month??. And that is the first step.

Brilliant Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39353353)

Now if Walmart can tie Vodo to gaming consoles and content streamers (Roku), they will make a killing.

Stop Hurting America: don't shop at Walmart (-1, Flamebait)

dbialac (320955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353407)

I'm tired of seeing everyone's wages go down because of it and places like it.

Re:Stop Hurting America: don't shop at Walmart (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39353601)

I'm tired of seeing everyone's wages go down because of it and places like it.

You're telling the truth. Ever talk to a former wal-mart employee? They REALLY treat their workers like shit.

It was much better back when Sam Walton was still alive. After his death, the employees gradually became more and more like disposable furniture. For whatever reason they seem to strongly desire high turnover. By "turnover" I mean soon as the poor sap finds an escape route with another company, he jumps on it.

Wal-mart: I would put up with the shitty service in exchange for the low prices. I'm not like the Baby Boomers who need everything spoonfed to them - I am a very low-maintainence customer who can read what's in front of me and figure out basic things and discern on my own that dog food is probably on that isle labeled Pet Care without asking for help.

What I won't put up with is the way they treat their employees and the local area where they build their stores. I don't work for a living just so I can purchase more of that with my dollars. In my opinion they are the most exploitative company in existence, at least since the early Industrial Revolution. They would probably hire child labor and institute 18-hour shifts to make another 0.001% profit if they could get rid of those pesky labor laws.

Re:Stop Hurting America: don't shop at Walmart (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353793)

But being able to buy a computer for only $250 plus other lowcost items helps the people save their money for other purposes (college for the kids, or retirement for the parents). Would you prefer that Mac or IBM PC-compatible computers cost $4000* like they did in the 80s, and few can afford them?

*
* inflation adjusted

Re:Stop Hurting America: don't shop at Walmart (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39354155)

But being able to buy a computer for only $250 plus other lowcost items helps the people save their money for other purposes (college for the kids, or retirement for the parents).

PFFFFT HA HA HA HA HA HA ha ha ha ha... woooooo. Ha. Man. Imagine, a typical Wal-Mart shopper saving money for their kids... for COLLEGE! HA ha ha ha HA HA HA HA ha ha ha!

Man, thanks. I needed a good laugh like that.

We're sorry for the..... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353413)

...incoinvience as we are currently suffering server cloudy day technical difficulty.

Hey, lets put everything in the cloud that way we can allow the authorities or hacker or the NWO powers that be control your life more than they do now.

Oops! Big sun spot at the same time we were under attack but military strength EMP cannon..... Can you show proof you ever existed in the cloud and did you make a backup you can send us to restore our service.... uh your account?

Anyone want to borrow my DVD collection so you can have digital access to movies you don't have?

Movie Studios: Why Are You So Stupid? (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353449)

Apple showed very well that allowing DRM gives a huge amount of power to the distributor, at the expense of the copyright holder. Why does the movie industry not learn the lesson that the music industry demonstrated? Requiring DRM does not do anything to reduce piracy, but it does do a lot to allow people further down the supply chain than you to control the prices that you can charge.

Re:Movie Studios: Why Are You So Stupid? (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353689)

Apple controlled the DRM scheme in iTunes, with Ultraviolet, it's the movie companies which own the DRM scheme and Walmart is just a service provider.

Control over the downstream supply chain (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353731)

it does do a lot to allow people further down the supply chain than you to control the prices that you can charge

The movie studios believe they still have more control over the downstream supply chain than the record industry had when iTunes Plus came out. And until Kickstarter financing of direct-to-video films becomes common, and until either "film festival" stops connoting snobbishness or there comes a better way to get indie films into theaters, they do have such control.

Questions (1)

Gavin Scott (15916) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353491)

So does their service provide every DVD and BluRay movie on earth, or if I go in with my obscure DVD collection am I going to be told "Sorry, don't have that one, sorry don't have that one, ...". I assume they're not actually ripping disks, just scanning the barcodes on the box or inserting the disc in a reader for a few seconds to ID it.

If you're too honest to download torrents, but not quite honest enough to pay full price, it seems as though there is a big opportunity to borrow your friends disc collections and stop by Walmart and get your own access to all of them for $2 each.

I wonder if their system can identify burned DVD and distinguish them from the real thing (image of dim Walmart employee happily feeding DVD-R disks with hand written labels into the system...

G.

Re:Questions (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 2 years ago | (#39354033)

I wonder if their system can identify burned DVD and distinguish them from the real thing (image of dim Walmart employee happily feeding DVD-R disks with hand written labels into the system...

Well, they'd likely be different. I don't know anyone that makes encrypted copies of their DVD movies.

What happens to the disk? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39353501)

Does walmart keep the original disk or somehow mark that it has been converted?

Or for two bucks a disk can I get a copy of my buddies movie collection?

What a BARGAIN! (4, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353503)

You mean if I pick up a $10 DVD it'll only cost 20% extra for a DRM-encumbered streaming copy that doesn't actually reside on my hard drive and can disappear at any moment the studio changes it's mind?

I'm IN!

NOT.

mod u4p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39353525)

posTs. Therefore Win out; either the

I'd do it, with VHS tapes (5, Interesting)

alispguru (72689) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353561)

That would be an actual content upgrade, worth a token payment.

Re:I'd do it, with VHS tapes (2)

hemo_jr (1122113) | more than 2 years ago | (#39354127)

The case can be made that not providing this service for pre-recorded videotapes is discriminatory and perhaps illegal. Possession of the tape is proof that you have purchased the right to view the content. Wal-Mart is providing the upverting of dvd to blu-ray, why not videotape?

Or could it just be the greedy, money grubbing, SOPA-loving, fascist MPAA ass-holes just want to soak the public for all they can get?

So it's like Netflix... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39353565)

...but with worse selection, less convenient, a lot more expensive, and a few years too late...

Guess the middleman is thrashing around a bit on its way out.

Trying to derail the DMCA Exemption process (5, Insightful)

ScooterComputer (10306) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353575)

The timing on this is WAAAY too coincidental...that's because the studios rolled this out now so that they could tell the Librarian of Congress [copyright.gov] that there exists a commercial ability to rip DVDs to digital files for use in the iOS infrastructure and therefore Exemption Class 10 [copyright.gov] and the position [copyright.gov] of Public Knowledge [publicknowledge.org] is unnecessary. Read the comments [copyright.gov] and replies [copyright.gov], you'll see.

Which makes this all the more insidious. They could have rolled this AGES ago, but they're doing it now to stop American consumers from exercising their Free Use rights for another 3 years...during which, I'm sure, there will be another shift in their business strategy that they will take advantage of to bilk consumers. Ironically, the reason they gave during the arguing of the DMCA for this provision was NOT anti-consumer; instead it was compliance with licensing of hardware manufacturers. How thin that veil was! Because now they're back transparently arguing against the consumer. This needs to stop NOW! The studios stood by and watched the revolution; their loss. Consumers have hundreds/thousands of dollars of DVDs and Blu-rays and capable hardware to do the conversions at their fingertips, just as with CDs and iTunes. Exempt the DMCA and give us the ability to exercise our rights without being labeled "pirates".

Sounds good to me (4, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353583)

I can bring in my Star Trek TOS, Stargate SG1, and Gattaca discs to walmart, get the upgrade to high-def versions online, and then sell the DVDs on ebay for cash.

Free market == win.

Aside - On the other hand some things don't really look good in HD. I imagine seeing Spock throwing foam spears and plastic rocks really takes away from the entertainment. Maybe TOS is best viewed in blurry SD quality.

Re:Sounds good to me (1)

klingens (147173) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353755)

No TV series. Only movies from selected Studios which are part of Ultraviolet.

Re:Sounds good to me (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353875)

Ahhh. In that case maybe I'd be better-off with Amazon Prime's rental service (view as much as you want for $80/year). Probably cheaper than paying $5 per DVD to upgrade to Walmart Vudu's HD service.

Re:Sounds good to me (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39354093)

That's kind of stupid.

Ripping movies is trivial. You basically have ONE main features on a disk. Ripping TV shows is a little bit more interesting and involves mapping multiple titles on multiple disks with the associated episodes.

It's like CD ripping but without any of the nice automated disk metadata to take advantage of.

The whole "inconvenience" argument works much better with TV shows.

Re:Sounds good to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39354073)

You're not wrong about Spock in HD - Netflix Canada has the old Star Trek movies (as a sop to Canadians not getting TOS/TNG/VOY/DS9). You can see the pancake makeup on Spock in the whale movie.

Original packaging? (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353637)

Does the DVD have to be in the original packaging or can I bring in my burned-at-home (or someone's home, anyway) copies?

Its actually a semi-serious question, aside from the "I downloaded a .iso and burned it" piracy aspect, how are they deciding if a physical DVD brought in is legit or gray market or outright black market?

Re:Original packaging? (2)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353709)

Or the $1 rental from the RedBox right outside the store?

Are they planning to physically mark the disks, so you can't sell them used, and then the buyer gets a $2 digital copy?

Perhaps their business model makes money if there are exactly N physical copies, and lots of people paying $2 again and again. Crazy like a fox?

Re:Original packaging? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353985)

yep, the business model is that if someone pays 2 bucks for nothing, they're going to be paying two bucks for nothing. it would be even a sound business to distribute dvd's if they knew that people were going to use those to bring in to pay the two bucks with. more is more.

Re:Original packaging? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353899)

I'm guessing they'll go by the IFPI Source Identification (SID) code, or perhaps the CSS player key block, or the reflectivity (stamped differs from burned), or something else that a burner can't easily replicate.

Re:Original packaging? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39354017)

well.. they're probably going to just scan the barcode from the dvd box, check if it's on the list of supported movies and bang two bucks kthxbye.

it's not like they're going to be doing actual disc reading at all you know, or offer this as a service to get your home dvd's to the cloud.

Copyright Laundering (1, Interesting)

bfree (113420) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353679)

You and your friends bring all your media to one house. Each person brings the stack to walmart (perhaps filtering out things uninteresting to them) to get them added to their account and then drop the lot off at the next persons house. To make it legal (possibly, T&C apply, IANAL etc etc) you all agree that you are giving the first person the disks (or sell them to them for 1c) and they give/sell them to the next person until finally all have their accounts setup and you gather again to get presents from the last person who now has more discs then they want cluttering up their home. End result you can buy a license to the parts of the collection you want for $2-$5 per disc.

Re:Copyright Laundering (2)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353811)

Perhaps this *is* the plan. That sold disk that you and your friends pass around is dead income, no more money is being made from it for anyone.
Say you have a disk you paid $18 for years ago. Now all your friends are paying $2 each for a digital copy, and they can measure usage. Not so completely insane. (Still probably won't work, but not as insane as DivX)

Can I bring in a friend's DVD's and say..... (1)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353699)

.....they are mine? nice relatively cheap way to add to my collection.

Re:Can I bring in a friend's DVD's and say..... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39354029)

yes. but you're still going to be paying two bucks for something you already have access to. it's a win for them.

so a digital movie worth $5 now (1)

zeldor (180716) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353727)

can I just give walmart $5 with no dvd and have them add a movie to my ultraviolet account?
not that I have one but it seems that the industry just claimed a digital copy of a movie can be bought for $5 in HD.

Walmart: Because you didn't learn the first time. (2)

The Moof (859402) | more than 2 years ago | (#39353797)

Ignoring the whole DRM is bad/repurchasing argument that will be covered to death in these comments, why would anyone trust Walmart with this? Didn't they learn when Walmart shut down their audio DRM servers [boingboing.net]?

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...

Re:Walmart: Because you didn't learn the first tim (1)

KillaBeave (1037250) | more than 2 years ago | (#39354045)

... Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...

"Fool me once ... shame on ... ... shame on ... you. You fool me but can't get fooled again!"

- G-Dub

Fuck you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39353891)

My DVD's are allready digital. And, as the MAFIAA keeps on repeating, i didnt buy the DVD, i did buy a "license" to view a specific movie, so screw you if you think i'm going to buy Terminator 2 an eleventh time.

Not in the TFA (1)

Ollabelle (980205) | more than 2 years ago | (#39354061)

Didn't see it in TFA, but I half suspect them of keeping the physical disks as they "upgrade" you to be able to see the streaming movie.
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