So, for a service that launched only a few weeks ago, Movies Anywhere has been… well, it borders on Just Working, which is amazing considering all the normal drama that comes out whenever the motion picture industry intersects with the internet.
I still have a couple of films refusing to move from my iTunes library TO Movies Anywhere, but I have a ticket open with the MA support team and they’ve said that their mysterious “Tier 2” support group will get those taken care of for me, and Blade Runner: The Final Cut finally synced over from MA to iTunes on Thursday, so really the only outstanding issue that’s all that confusing is Superman: The Movie.
Of course, one of the biggest things helping my digital movie library expand is that Vudu is one of the partners. It turns out that they have a couple of programs that are really very consumer friendly, and now that they’re no longer tied to Ultraviolet I can take advantage of them.
I’ve already raved a bit about Disc to Digital, which has let me upgrade a bunch of films that were only ever released on DVD to high definition versions, but I decided to give their Instawatch program a try as well. Instawatch is a service where you buy a movie from Walmart – not every movie, mind you, it’s limited – scan your receipt with the Walmart mobile phone application, and you get a Vudu license for that movie. This then ports to Movies Anywhere etc.
So, I bought this thing for $9.96:
Then I scanned the receipt while I was putting the rest of the groceries in the trunk of my car, drove home, and checked the various movie services to see what exactly I’d wound up with and where.
My Vudu library just had this sort of generic placeholder art. Not very exciting:
…but, expanding it showed that I now owned the three Mad Max movies worth mentioning (OK, I’ve never actually seen the first film in its entirety, so I shouldn’t be too flippant about that), but only in SD quality. I could upgrade each to HDX, but at about 15 bucks a movie I wasn’t likely to do that.
Likewise, streaming Fury Road from the Movies Anywhere app also played back at SD quality.
On the other hand, when I brought up my iTunes purchase library, all three movies showed up with HD versions available, and I was able to download nice 1080P versions. Since my primary media library just happens to be iTunes, this is the most desirable result.
Mind you, even if I hadn’t gotten the upgrade during the push from MA to iTunes, this still would have been a deal, and the ability to just scan a store receipt and get the licenses automatically pushed to digital movie lockers is pretty futuristic, but the bonus upgrade to HD? Two thumbs up.