Echo­ing the pro­longed HD-​DVD vs. Blu-​ray for­mat war (pre­ced­ed decades ear­li­er by VHS vs. Betamax), the duel­ing dig­i­tal lock­er” for­mats — Disney Movies Anywhere and UltraViolet — have arrived at a new path for­ward, and it promis­es to be a win-​win for every­one. Various sites are report­ing that Movies Anywhere” will become the new stan­dard for all the major stu­dios. The new site only teas­es the log and the hash­tag #any­whereis­com­ing.

To put this in nor­mal English, the UltraViolet con­sor­tium — Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. — have thrown in the tow­el and signed onto Disney Movies Anywhere, which will polite­ly change its name to Movies Anywhere in an act of noblesse oblige. But make no mis­take, Movies Anywhere is a Disney owned-​and-​operated endeav­or, a rebrand­ed Disney Movies Anywhere, that will sim­ply allow oth­er stu­dios to have input” via an oth­er­wise pow­er­less advi­so­ry board.

As we have report­ed many times on the DigiGods pod­cast, Disney Movies Anywhere was always a supe­ri­or sys­tem — bet­ter qual­i­ty, less has­sle — com­pared to the clunky, too-​many-​cooks-​in-​the-​kitchen sys­tem of UltraViolet which required users to sign up at one site, then choose anoth­er site as a play­er” — Vudu or Flixster — unless, of course, your code didn’t take, in which case you’d have to vis­it a sep­a­rate site — usu­al­ly the pro­pri­etary stu­dio site — to enter the code and have it actu­al­ly take. Unless you wait­ed too long and the code passed its expire date, in which case you’re out of luck or you have to reach out the stu­dio and plead with them to reac­ti­vate the code.

Just remem­ber that the orig­i­nal sell­ing point for UltraViolet was sim­plic­i­ty.”

Problems began when Fandango acquired Flixster last year. It was report­ed that UltraViolet was not part of the transaction.Though that even­tu­al­ly turned out to be lit­tle more than con­trac­tu­al minu­ti­ae, the bomb final­ly dropped at the end of August when the loss of a crit­i­cal ven­dor” result­ed in Flixster ter­mi­nat­ing their UltraViolet involve­ment. No details have been forth­com­ing regard­ing the details of this crit­i­cal ven­dor,” but the UV con­sor­tium appears to have seen the writ­ing on the wall with the depen­den­cy upon third-​party play­ers.” If VUDU had sim­i­lar­ly shut down, UltraViolet mem­bers would have found them­selves in an unfath­omably bad sit­u­a­tion. Another telling sign that some­thing was in the works was also not­ed in recent weeks on the DigiGods pod­cast as UV mem­ber stu­dios had begun releas­ing Blu-​ray and DVD titles with gener­ic Digital Copy” infor­ma­tion on the pack­ag­ing, but no UltraViolet logo or branding.

The Disney for­mat, con­verse­ly, uses a pro­pri­etary appli­ca­tion as a play­er that requires no third par­ty involve­ment — and, in addi­tion, your movies are also linked in your iTunes and Amazon accounts. Automatically. Hassle-​free. Like it’s sup­posed to be.

The Movies Anywhere app is avail­able for down­load effec­tive imme­di­ate­ly from Amazon, Google Play, iTunes and Roku or MoviesAnywhere​.com. The ser­vice can be linked to Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. Support for game con­soles is forthcoming.

The two for­mer UltraViolet mem­bers notably absent from Movies Anywhere are Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate. It is not clear how UltraViolet lock­ers will tran­si­tion over to Movies Anywhere or whether users will need a sep­a­rate Vudu accounts for for­mer UV mem­bers that do not belong to Movies Anywhere. The expec­ta­tion is that both Paramount and Lionsgate will even­tu­al­ly join.

Former users of Disney Movies Anywhere and UltraViolet will need to set up a new Movies Anywhere account, which offers up to five sub­ac­counts oth­er fam­i­ly mem­bers. Supported devices include Amazon Fire, Android an, Android TV, iOS and Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and major web browsers.

Movies any­where is offer­ing up to five free movies for new registrants.

Update: Your exist­ing UltraViolet™ titles from Fox, Sony, Universal and oth­er par­tic­i­pat­ing stu­dios will auto­mat­i­cal­ly be added to your new Movies Anywhere library when you choose to syn­chro­nize your UltraViolet™ account to Movies Anywhere through Vudu.”

Page Reader Press Enter to Read Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Pause or Restart Reading Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Stop Reading Page Content Out Loud Screen Reader Support