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DRM Entertainment

Details of Initial "Disc to Digital" Program Emerge 201

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the digitize-your-digital-video-disc-today dept.
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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Details of Initial "Disc to Digital" Program Emerge

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  • by ossuary (1532467) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @11:41AM (#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.
    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @11:50AM (#39353347) Homepage
      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.
      • by Anon-Admin (443764) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @12:07PM (#39353587) Homepage Journal

        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.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @12:20PM (#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...

          • by jedidiah (1196)

            ...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 d

          • It would if it was 7 hours of just sitting there. However, I put the dvd's in start dvdbackup, go back to what ever I am going that day then return in 20 min to swap them out. No different then when I converted all my CD's to MP3 several years back.

            Once all the conversions are done, that is it. Adding a new DVD is simply starting the rip to the HD then later adding it to the rip queue.

            This is a one time process that, IMHO, pays for it self 1000x over. The ability to simply pull up a menu from any TV in the

          • by JWW (79176)

            why spend free time fiddling about with all of this when you could pay somebody else a few dollars to do it for you?

            Three letters D. R. M.

            They can take their digital conversion service and stick it where the Sun don't shine.

            If I can't play the file you get from this on any device I want whenever I want, connected to the internet or not connected, then no thanks.

          • 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...

            Yep; mad. And free.

            • by Dahamma (304068)

              Ever hear of opportunity cost? For a busy person with a good income, that could be worth the equivalent of $1000 of labor just to rip a few dozen DVDs. Unless you really do have no life and nothing else you'd rather be doing than babysitting a computer on your weekends...

          • by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @02:32PM (#39355765)

            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?

            Why spend any money at all? Someone has already uploaded your favorite movie in your chosen language with your chosen subtitles in your chosen quality. The work was done probably before the movie was even out on DVD.

            You've already bought and paid for the disc. Why would you have anything but a clear conscience in downloading a movie you've already purchased?

        • 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...

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          (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!

          • by jedidiah (1196)

            Server hardware? Who needs "server hardware"? Just put drives into any PC that you happen to have lying around. You're intentionally trying to make this harder and more expensive than it needs to be just to prove a point.

            That might make you feel smug or something but it really has nothing to do with reality.

            If you really are an "hourly guy" then you are in no position to throw money around. All of your "my time is valuable" rhetoric is just wishful thinking and nonsense.

            Compressed, that amount of DVDs will

            • by MightyYar (622222)

              Server hardware? Who needs "server hardware"? Just put drives into any PC that you happen to have lying around. You're intentionally trying to make this harder and more expensive than it needs to be just to prove a point.

              LOL, sorry didn't mean for it to read that way - by server hardware I indeed meant a regular PC that would now become your basement server. I have the same thing in my basement: an old HP workstation (for the ECC RAM) loaded with four drives.

              If you really are an "hourly guy" then you are in no position to throw money around.

              Nonsense - I make good money as a consultant, and I could make even more if I worked weekends. While I don't "throw money around", I'm not so poor either. Time is indeed money for me, as I can trade one for the other freely.

              Compressed, that amount of DVDs will fit in your pocket on a single 2.5 inch bus powered USB hard drive. A large Archos will be able to store half of them.

              Minimum size for a compressed DVD to xvid is a

          • by Rasperin (1034758)

            While it takes 7 hours to do this, I'm sure you can do other things while this goes on. You don't just have to sit there and wait, you walk off and clean or program or setup another geeky setup. It's up2u, the only thing you need to do is periodically put in a new disc and click a button (heck! you could even walk away for a few hours and MISS a whole disc change over by several hours and your day still isn't ruined!).

            Moving to use car work as an analogy due to the fact that it requires constant time, not b

            • by MightyYar (622222)

              While it takes 7 hours to do this, I'm sure you can do other things while this goes on.

              Now THIS I can get behind... when I was working from home I would rip my CD collection in. Very little productivity loss just feeding the machine disks while I was working on it anyway. It took months, but no "real" time.

              However, are you able to work and get paid during those hours?

              I'm lucky enough to, yes. Or sometimes I'll use the waiting room time for a side project. However, I still have to consider the time it takes to drive to the dealer. I only do 2 services a year, and one of those is doubled up with state inspection, which I'm not allowed to do myself anyway.

        • So how hours minutes are you engaged on burning the 169 DVD's and multiply by what ever you value your time at (go minimum wage or make it $10 an hour to make the math easy or use your work salary or make it a premium as this is your weekend), call this X. What is the cost of the equipment plus install and initial troubleshooting (install = time x hour value), Y. Take X and divide it by 169, this is your expected OPEX cost per DVD. Divide Y by 580, this would be your assessed CAPEX per DVD (in your current
      • by jedidiah (1196)

        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.

        • 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

          • by jedidiah (1196)

            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

      • 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

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          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.

      • Sounds like you may as well just use bit torrent.
      • by FictionPimp (712802) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @01:35PM (#39354893) Homepage

        I've always just used handbrake...

    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      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

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      Actually, at $2 a pop, I might use it if it's fast, decent quality, and available in a centralized place on my Xbox 360 (like Netflix). Would be a handy place to stream DVD's on my Xbox without having to deal with discs. Of course, those are a lot of "ifs" and it would need to work pretty much exactly like Netflix's streaming on my Xbox.

      I can see that being useful for titles not available for Netflix streaming (again, assuming that it's as simple as and of similar quality to Netflix). $2 a disc is a trivial

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @11:41AM (#39353219)

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

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'd pay $2 for that.

    • I'd pay $2 for that.

      Well, even if you could it'll be a $2 DRMed copy. You can keep the bits, your player software will just refuse to play it after the DRM servers go down. The Pirates are the only ones that offer non-DRMed copies that you can transcode and format-shift -- I wouldn't recommend doing business with them though: Pirates are known to rape, plunder and party.

      You wouldn't want to end up in a Pirate Party now would you?

    • by JWW (79176)

      No. Why would they want to give you what they want?

  • Call me when... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OliWarner (1529079) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @11:46AM (#39353297) Homepage

    ... 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.

    • 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.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      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??).

    • Agree 100%.

      I am currently in the process of ripping my DVD collection on a 3 year old computer. Every day when I get up I take 2 DVDs out of the computer and put in the next 2 DVDs. When I get home I take them out and put in another 2 DVDs. Wake up the next morning and the process continues.

      Been doing this for over 6 months, and just now making a dent in my DVD collection. Slowed down my DVD purchases while I'm doing this, BTW.

      P.S. : Thank God I didn't buy Blurays. I couldn't just put those in the syst

  • by pecosdave (536896) * on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @11:49AM (#39353337) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @11:58AM (#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.
      • by pecosdave (536896) *

        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

        • by pecosdave (536896) *

          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.

      • ...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]

        • 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.
        • ...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]

          Excellent point! Although for me, DIVX worked out great! I bought a DIVX player on sale late into the experiment (just before they canned the whole thing) for about $40 more than a non-DIVX player. I paid for one rental, out of curiosity. Then they killed it all and sent me $100.

          • About 6 months ago, I bought a milk crate filled with DIVX discs from a flea market for $5. I thought, 'surely by now someone has cracked the encryption for this long-defunct format!'


            I would say the joke's on me, but 5 bucks isn't a bad price for an old school, sturdy milk crate, even if it was full of useless junk.
      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        I'd pay $2 just for getting it on my Xbox. It's a lot of hassle to rip a DVD and get it over to my Xbox (you have to stream it from a running computer and deal with conversion issues--and the quality suffers). I could put my whole regular catalog on there pretty cheap, never have to deal with the discs again, and stream it directly from their servers (like Netflix) with no hassles. I'm sorry, but that's actually a pretty good deal (for me at least).

    • It's still a streaming service. Can't put it on a laptop for a trip.

      I'm leaving the country in a couple weeks. Taking my laptop and a couple hundred movies on it. I'm not going to watch much, but at least I'll have a nice selection to watch from.

      • by pecosdave (536896) *

        I'm not sure of all the rules, but I do know you CAN download movies to played locally. I don't know if it's a call home DRM or not, but I do know in some cases downloading and playing back later is allowed.

        That being said I still rip my own disks.

    • by qirtaiba (582509) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @10:15PM (#39360249) Homepage

      I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned Digital Personal Property, which the IEEE P1817 [ieee.org] working group has been developing for the last couple of years.

      One of the main problems with DRM for consumers is that it offends the deeply-ingrained notion that when we purchase a book, album or movie – whether as a physical product or a download – we should own it, and use it however we wish within our social and family circles, without the oversight of the copyright owner. We feel this way while at the same time respecting the right of the copyright owner of a protected work to control its distribution outside our circle of family and friends.

      This insight underlies the IEEE Standard for Consumer-ownable Digital Personal Property (DPP), that will allow consumers complete freedom to lend, copy, sell or give away the digital works that they have purchased, whilst inhibiting them from sharing with strangers. In order to achieve this, the work is encrypted – which is just what DRM does.

      But unlike with DRM, the encryption does not prevent the work from being copied, nor allow its usage to be tracked or controlled by the copyright owner. It simply enforces two simple functions of every DPP-protected work: a “give” button and a “take” button. The “give” button ensures that every DPP-protected work can be shared, both by the original purchaser and by everyone with whom it has already been shared. The “take” button ensures that each and any of those individuals can take the work back from all the others, “collapsing” it, if you will, into the single unit that it was when purchased.

      The main difference between DPP and Ultraviolet is that there are literally no limits to how many copies you can make or what you can do with them. In fact, the copyright owner has no way of even knowing how many times the work has been shared, with whom, or who currently owns the work. The concept of ownership and who gets to receive copies are determined by social constraints, not technological ones - who do you trust not to use the "Take" button on you?

      The main problem that the Working Group faces at the moment, apart from buy-in from the major studios, is that it needs an experienced technical expert to take leadership of actually finalising the specification. If someone from Slashdot has any contacts who might be interested, please contact the Working Group.

      Disclaimer: I am a member of the P1817 Working Group, representing consumers' interests.

  • 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!

  • ...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

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @11:56AM (#39353449) Journal
    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.
    • 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.
    • 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.

  • 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 collecti

    • by omnichad (1198475)

      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.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    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! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msobkow (48369) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @12:00PM (#39353503) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by alispguru (72689) <baneNO@SPAMgst.com> on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @12:04PM (#39353561) Journal

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

    • by hemo_jr (1122113)
      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?
  • by ScooterComputer (10306) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @12:06PM (#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 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @12:07PM (#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.

  • Original packaging? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by vlm (69642) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @12:10PM (#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?

    • 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?
      • by gl4ss (559668)

        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.

      • by Alyred (667815)
        Or, you know, load up your cart on the way in and back to the electronics counter where they'll undoubtedly keep the equipment to do this. "Sure, Mr./Ms. Wal-Mart employee, I bought these last week and just never opened them..."

        For that matter, what's to keep Wal-Mart from claiming you did this on the way back to the counter when you bring in your collection?
    • by tepples (727027)
      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.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      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.

      • by vlm (69642)

        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.

        Good point... I have some DVDs that are all scratched up and I would imagine they are not looking forward to dealing with those issues.

        The good news is downloading scans of the package and UPC is a lot faster, cheaper, and simpler than downloading the entire .iso.

        Also I can replace the UPC with a more "interesting" UPC. So Tomas the Tank Engine gets scanned, the UPC indicates its pr0n, tada I've got pr0n.

        If they allow a "self checkout" then an app on the phone with a UPC generator might work too.

        Another qu

  • Copyright Laundering (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bfree (113420)
    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
    • 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)
    • by PhilipMckrack (311145) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @03:42PM (#39356731)

      From what I have read, they are planning on stamping the disks when you bring them in so they can only be brought in once. With what or how hard it will be to remove I don't know.

  • .....they are mine? nice relatively cheap way to add to my collection.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

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

  • by The Moof (859402) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @12:21PM (#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...
  • 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.
  • Ahahahahewaaha bwahahahahaaaaa ! Hahahaha!Ehahahahahahah!

    Oh corporations, you slay me...

    Nobody is stupid enough to pay *even more* for content they already own in this way. You can't even make people buy the media you have now.

    All you are doing is making pirating the videos that much easier than legitimately purchasing them.

  • I'd like to upgrade to a "wheeled version of my car." To find out if there is one, I'll use a "search version of Google" on the "internet version of the web" viewed on my "visual version of a LCD" connected to an "electronic version of a computer" while I sip a "liquid version of coffee."

  • as to when the Ultraviolet DRM servers are shut down.
  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @02:42PM (#39355897)

    If I already have the dvd, why would I want to stream it from the internet to watch on my ps/3, xbox, computer, etc.? I already own it, I can just put it in the device. As for watching it on my phone, forget it, battery life is terrible and the screen is really small. Tablet, possibly, but if I have 100 dvds in my collection, do I want to pay $200 to digitize them (btw, aren't dvd's digital to begin with??) in case I might want to watch them on a tablet? Wouldn't it be cheaper to pay amazon to stream it to me for that occasion?

    So, I ask, why would I want to do this?

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