Since 2014, if you had purchased a digital copy of a movie from Disney (or one of their studios, like Pixar or Marvel), you redeemed the code at Disney Movies Anywhere. This unlocked the movie not only on their app, but added it to your iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and Amazon accounts as well, making streaming it to your favorite device insanely easy.
In contrast, if you purchased a movie from Sony Pictures, Universal, or Twentieth Century Fox, you’d get the choice of redeeming that movie on iTunes or, if you hated yourself, redeeming it on UltraViolet. Warner Bros., in their infinite wisdom (and because they’re an investor in the technology), only let you redeem movies on UltraViolet.
This sucked. Your digital movies could be awkwardly spread out amongst any number of providers and, unless you purchased a variety of set-top boxes, you might not be able to get everything in one place. Add the cognitive load that is trying to remember where the hell you purchased Elf that one time, and digital movies hardly seemed worth the trouble.
A partnership between Disney, Sony, Fox, Universal, and, much to my shock and delight, Warner Bros. was announced this morning, launching a new platform based on Disney Movies Anywhere, cleverly called Movies Anywhere. Using Disney’s “Keychest” technology, the service syncs your purchased movies between iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, and Vudu1, making life about a million times easier.2
Additionally, it appears as if movies you might already own in standard definition might be upgraded to high def — this was the case with the aforementioned copy of Elf I got on Google Play as a promotion. I would also imagine that iTunes upgrading of HD to 4K UHD at no additional charge will be done, too, but I don’t have any anecdotal evidence of that at this point, so ¯\(ツ)/¯.
- Although, at this moment, trying to connect to Vudu isn’t working whatsoever, which is starting to annoy me considerably. I want my Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them in iTunes already, dammit! ↩
- Sure, Paramount and Lionsgate aren’t part of it yet, but if they could convince freakin’ Warner Bros. to join up, I’m sure they’ll come around in no time. ↩