Think UltraViolet, but much more useful. Disney, Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal and Warner Bros are all on board, alongside Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu. Movies Anywhere is Hollywood’ new digital movie locker service.
Your movies, together at last
The press announcement refers to the Movies Anywhere service as “unprecedented”, and in many ways it is. The service lets you store all of your digital movie purchases in one unified app that works across retailers and platforms.
What this means is that you can continue to purchase movies from your favorite online movie store but now also start to browse around for the best price. You can then combine and watch your movie purchases from within the Movie Anywhere app. Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu are all on board. Movies will also flow from Movie Anywhere to each retailer's platform.
- “Movies Anywhere is a massive step forward for the consumer digital media experience, bringing the incredible film libraries of five studios together in a virtual one-stop movie-watching shop,” said Karin Gilford, General Manager, Movies Anywhere.
Five of the six major Hollywood studios have committed to the project. These are Disney (including Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm), 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal and Warner Bros. Paramount and Lionsgate are not yet on board.
At launch, Movies Anywhere offers a library of 7300 movies, including catalog titles and new releases.
Movies Anywhere works across a number of platforms, including Amazon Fire devices, Android devices and Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, Roku devices, and popular browsers. The company added that “more platforms and retailers” will be added later.
- “Movies Anywhere means that consumers never have to remember where they purchased a film or which device they can watch it on, because all of their eligible movies will be centralized within their Movies Anywhere library and available across platforms through the Movies Anywhere app and website and also available at their connected digital retailers. And as Movies Anywhere continues to add more studios, retailers and platforms, the entertainment possibilities are endless,” said Karin Gilford.
Now, we are sure that there are some limitations here, apart from absent studios, but it hard to spot them. This seems like a major improvement over the ill-fated UltraViolet initiative. The companies said that you can also redeem digital copy codes found on eligible Blu-ray and DVDs. Starting next year, physical discs will feature a ‘Movies Anywhere’ logo. The service has generous device limitations and also supports up to six secondary accounts for family members in addition to the master account that can set access rights for each secondary account.
The only significant limitation at this point seems to be that Movies Anywhere is available in the US only. To make a universal movie locker work, it will have to become a global service at some point in the near future.
There is no mention of picture or audio quality either, which we take to mean that it will not offer 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos.
Users can receive up to five digital movies when signing up to Movies Anywhere. It requires that you activate your account and link it to at least 2 participating retailers; Amazon, Google Play, iTunes or Vudu. The five movies are the ones seen in the photo below.
Movies Anywhere is owned by Disney but operates as an independent entity. It will also replace the existing Disney Movies Anywhere service, meaning that all your movies will be transferred to the new service. Disney has never participated in the UltraViolet initiative but instead developed its own ‘KeyChest’ technology, which is the foundation for this new service.
Movies Anywhere is free and launches later today.
Studios: Sony Pictures The Walt Disney Studios Twentieth Century Fox Film Universal Pictures Warner Bros.
Retailers: Amazon Video Google Play iTunes Vudu
Platforms: Amazon’s Fire tablets, Fire TV and Fire TV Android mobile and tablet devices and Android TV Chromecast iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV Roku.