Updated 11/18/2014: Confirmed that Disney digital titles now appear in VUDU library but not in UltraViolet library.
Disney’s digital video locker service, Disney Movies Anywhere, will soon be partnered with Walmart’s VUDU streaming service. Disney Movies Anywhere competes directly with UltraViolet, a similar service created by a consortium of industry players. Disney and Apple have quite noticeably not participated in UltraViolet, with Disney instead launching this service of its own.
After partnering with Google Play earlier in November, this is a big move for Disney’s service, and it opens the door for consumers to watch their Disney-distributed digital video purchases on many additional devices. This partnership works the same way as their Apple and Google arrangement. You’re able to buy Disney movies on any of these services—Disney Movies Anywhere, iTunes, Google Play, and VUDU—then access and watch them through any other. With VUDU apps on so many platforms, including Xbox, PlayStation, Roku, and now TiVo, this brings your Disney library to many more devices.
What’s of particular note is that VUDU is also a partner of the competing UltraViolet service. Many have argued even that VUDU may have breathed some much needed life and simplicity into UltraViolet at a point when it desperately needed support. While this dual partnership is interesting, it’s likely it will cause confusion for users who now typically expect VUDU purchases to automatically become part of their UltraViolet library. For example, your Guardians of the Galaxy purchase will not appear in both your Disney Movies Anywhere and UltraViolet libraries.
Broad access is good, but burdening consumers with managing two separate libraries is not. We appreciate the expansion and improvements, but what we really need is one library with access to all content. Or a content sharing agreement between UltraViolet and Disney, creating two libraries with access to all content. And while we’re at it, now’s as good a time as any to ask the DECE, “how’s that common file format coming?”