Walmart Asks Customers to Bring in Their DVDs to Make Them Digital
posted Sunday Mar 18, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo
We have another disc-to-digital story for you this week but I promise it's not like Sony selling CDs online, or the tried-but-failed Zediva or, our favorite new broadcast streaming service, Aereo.
This week, Walmart has announced that it believes DVDs are still relevant and that it will give customers a chance to further enhance their DVD viewing experience. How? For just $2, you can bring in your DVD to Walmart and you will get a copy on Walmart.com's cloud service, which is running on the UltraViolet software. That will get you the standard definition version but for high-def you will need to shell out $5.
For more on this project and why it's perfect for Walmart, click the break.
This move, while it may seem crazy to tech-savvy people who can figure out many others ways, both legal and illegal, to get this done, it makes sense on Walmart's behalf. The company serves everybody from Hollywood to Spunky Puddle and in villages like Hooker Hole, Louisiana, there are people who have never even heard of the cloud, let alone HDTV. It's a perfect opportunity for Walmart to do both physical media and online distribution.
For UltraViolet, they win as well, as now they have a physical store as a backing without needing to actually open up a chain of stores under their own brand. As it works right now, UltraViolet is already licensed out to cloud services and device makers, and when users take their discs into the Walmart photo center, the employee (and this is assuming the employee is competent) will get the customer's information and create a Vudu account for them, which is UV's web video service. Then the customer buys the HD or SD version.
Therefore, in reality, the customer wouldn't even need the disc to begin with, however Walmart is playing up the fact that they are here to help the customer who thinks that a DVD is needed to view the movie. In the end, the customer keeps the DVD anyway and they just have to log on to their Vudu account to see the movie on one of 300 devices that are Vudu-compatible.
Do you think this is a good idea for Walmart? I think they've hit this one on the head, and I don't say that for many of their projects. Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.