Shop Talk: The Cloud Part V: Disc to Digital
By David Mumpower
August 22, 2012
I mention this because there is a decent chance you have the same issue. When you enter the store, your first step should be to notify that annoying greeter that you have discs you will be carrying through the store. If you fail to do this, Wal-Mart security will tail you for the entirety of your trip.
Carrying these discs through the store on three different occasions was less than optimal. After the third rejection, I pointed out that I had a printed list from the Vudu Disc to Digital site. I politely but pointedly mentioned that they should have the ability to handle the entire conversion using only the list. After some debate on their part, the Wal-Mart employees agreed to keep the list to show the daytime manager.
This brings me to a second important point. The daytime managers at Wal-Mart are more competent. Go during the day if at all possible. If not, for the love of God be sure to call ahead and verify that someone working there will have the ability to perform your upgrades. Should you fail to do this, you will have nobody but yourself to blame. I speak from experience when I say that you will get quizzical looks from people who cannot tell you which aisle is where the pillows are stocked, much less how to upgrade your digital library.
When we were finally lucky enough to find someone who could facilitate the transaction, the process was absolutely painless. All the Wal-Mart employee needs to do is check a box on their computer. From that moment forward, you have access to the film for the cost of $2 per title. I am not exaggerating when I state that a competent employee could add 100 titles to your library in five minutes. Because you have already created the checklist in your Vudu library, all that the Wal-Mart representative has to do is confirm that you have the discs and ask for your payment.
Note that there is another step wherein the employee stamps your discs with a notification that they are ineligible for further upgrades. This is a countermeasure against the used DVD/Blu-Ray marketplace. No one in Hollywood wants people to acquire multiple $2 HD licenses for a single Blu-Ray. In discussing the matter with friends, I will state that nobody I know has actually had their discs stamped, though. Score this round for lazy employees. Stamping a bunch of discs is aggravating busy work for all involved so only the most detail-oriented members of Wal-Mart’s staff explicitly follow this rule. Even if they do, I’m told that the stamp is easy to rub off the disc.
I recognize that upgrading hundreds of discs is a process that you are unwilling to try all at once. I would not suggest that. Instead, what I would recommend is that you pick out your 20 or so favorite titles from your disc library. Determine which ones are eligible for the Disc to Digital program and start with those. Print out your list on Vudu.com (I cannot stress enough that this is a requisite step for a seamless transaction) and take your titles to Wal-Mart. I’m guessing that maybe eight to 10 of your titles will be available for upgrade. That’s a $16-$20 investment.
With those titles seeding your cloud, you can begin to test the Vudu app on your television/Blu-Ray player/videogame console. In this manner, you will be able to determine how much you enjoy having your favorite movies available in the cloud. I would also note that both Vudu and Flixster have apps for the iPad as well as most smartphones. This means that you will never be separated from the films you love from now on. And the beauty of permanent ownership is that you can stream to your heart’s content without ever worrying about losing your digital license.
Next week’s column will touch on a few other cheap solutions for seeding your movie cloud beyond the Disc to Digital program. I will also collate the shared experiences of a couple of other BOP staff members who signed up for Ultraviolet at my request. Spoilers: one of them will sound quite angry. I mean like Hulk going after Loki angry.