Best Buy CinemaNow Disc to Digital pictures and hands-on
One of Rovi's major announcements at CES in Las Vegas this year was that DivX Plus Streaming digital rights management has been approved for UltraViolet use. This allows several of Rovi's back-end entertainment delivery services to add UV compatibility, including its recently launched Disc to Digital service, as seen on Best Buy's CinemaNow beta site.
Disc to Digital is best described as a sort-of iTunes Match for video and it's something we've been keeping our eyes on here at Pocket-lint since we saw part of the concept at last year's CES. Now in full service in the US, it allows you to pop a DVD or Blu-ray into a computer drive and the software will offer a digital version to add to your UltraViolet locker - if compatible - or download/stream through the Best Buy online system for a nominal fee.
Both standard definition and high definition versions of movies are available - with the latter coming at a higher premium - and there are plans to add the ability to read the discs through Blu-ray players rather than just PCs. Samsung is known to be in partnership and is looking to add a dedicated button to future decks.
It's a very simple system to use. As long as the software is open, you just pop the disc in the drive and it will tell you if a digital version is available. Thanks to clever Rovi DRM decoding, the system will recognise only original, shop-bought versions of the movies. No pirated discs will work, nor will - thanks to studio insistence - rental copies, so if you have a stack of pre-owned rental discs bought from places like Blockbuster, sorry.
Prices vary depending on the film, but we tried it with a DVD version of Batman Returns which offered the SD digital copy for $2 (£1.24), the HD one for $5 (£3.10). That's pretty reasonable, and less than it would cost to rent on some services. That digital copy will remain in our locker for as long as we hold an account.
Not all films are available, nor are they all UltraViolet copies, but the industry does seem to be moving quickly on standardising its digital strategies, so we'd expect more to be added all the time.
Pocket-lint was also told that the Disc to Digital system would be coming to the UK in the near future, with one or more partners this side of the pond currently in talks. Watch this space.