HOWTO: Convert your old DVD collection into HD-quality online streams

Do you have a big collection of old standard definition DVDs sitting in boxes collecting dust?

I do.  In fact, I’ve given away more than 250 DVDs just because they took up too much storage space.

Then one day, I discovered VUDU.com and everything changed.  This revolutionary service is a complete “game changer”:  I hate the term “game changer”, but in this case the shoe fits.

WHAT IS VUDU?
It’s an online movie/TV streaming service.  Just like iTunes or Xbox Video or Amazon Video, VUDU sells & streams video content to it’s users.

But it’s different… as in, BETTER.  One of the major differences is it’s “In-Home Disc to Digital” service.

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WHAT IS VUDU’S “In-Home Disc to Digital” SERVICE?
The “In-Home Disc to Digital” service (D2D for short) allows you to get access to movies streams on the service by proving your ownership of the physical DVD.

You put the physical DVD movie into your computer’s DVD drive & the D2D service verifies that the disc is an original copy.  For $2, you can get rights to stream the same movie on-demand from VUDU.

UPGRADING TO HD QUALITY
But it’s better than just that.  Remember that your standard definition DVD will get you a SD quality stream of the movie.  For $5, you can get the rights to stream the HD stream.  And if you convert 10 DVDs or more in a single batch, the upgrade-to-HD fee is dropped to $2.50/disc.

And it’s even better than that.  Because if you upgrade to HD, you’ll also get free access to the HDX stream, which is 2x the resolution of a standard HD video stream.

NO PROPRIETARY “LOCK IN”
Never fear – you’ll never be locked in to VUDU.  When you obtain the rights to the online stream of a movie on VUDU, those rights go into an independent catalog called “Ultraviolet” (located at UVVU.COM) which is funded by a consortium of movie publishers including Paramount, Warner Bros, 21st Century Fox, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures, Dreamworks, Lionsgate, MGM, The Weinstein Company, Relativity… basically every major & most minor Motion Picture Studios… except Walt Disney Company. (More on that later)

If you decide to try a different streaming service, you have your choice of any number of other services that support Ultraviolet, including CinemaNow, Flixster, blinkbox, Cineplex Entertainment, & JB Hi-fi.  This means your entire Ultraviolet movie catalog that you amassed on VUDU is also available on, say Flixster.

That’s right.  You can switch services anytime you like.  Or use multiple services at the same time.  This is hugely important because unlike Apple’s iTunes, if you don’t like one service’s web site or support, you can just up and LEAVE without fear of losing your content.

BTW: ULTRAVIOLET SERVICES DO IN FACT DIFFER
Don’t think that there aren’t differences between services that support UV.  Just because they all deposit your rights into a central database doesn’t mean they don’t differentiate themselves. 

For example: (And this is just my own experience & opinion)

  • VUDU.com – Flawless user experience.  Everything works smoothly from sign up to playback.  It easily has the most device support as well with VUDU ‘playback software’ for Xbox 360/One, Playstation 3/4, iOS/Android.  But supported in the United States ONLY.
  • FLIXSTER.COM – Marginal user experience.  Things tend to freeze or not work on the web site some times.  It has near parity device support with VUDU but also supports some devices like Amazon Fire TV and Windows Phone that VUDU doesn’t.  Supported Internationally in most countries.

Again, you can use both services with your UV catalog of movie rights.  VUDU for XBox One streaming, Flixster for Windows Phone streaming.  VUDU for use in the United States.  Flixster for outside the US.  etc.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
Assuming that you’ve signed up for an account on both VUDU (VUDU.com) as well as Ultraviolet (UVVU.com) and linked the together, which is part of the VUDU registration process:

  1. Download the VUDU To Go application.
  2. Click the “Disc to Digital” option tab in the application.
  3. Insert a disc.
  4. Pick your quality (SD or HD).
  5. Repeat step 3 for another disc.
  6. Complete the checkout process.

imageWHY VUDU & ULTRAVIOLET?
There’s a lot of reasons why VUDU & Ultraviolet make a lot more sense than other services like Apple iTunes, Amazon Video, or even Xbox Video.

  • Players are freely available on Windows, MacOS, iPad, Android, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 3  & 4
  • Owned movies are downloadable for offline playback at either SD, HD, or HDX (2x HD) resolution
  • The stream auto-throttles to accommodate for varying network conditions & bandwidth, giving you SD over slower 750kbps links and HDX for 4.5mbps+ connections.
  • Licenses are stored in an independent Ultraviolet database – therefore there is no lock in to VUDU or any specific provider.  Users can move to Flixster, CinemaNow, or any other service that connects to the Ultraviolet database at http://uvvu.com.
  • Rights/access to Ultraviolet content is forever; i.e. “in perpetuity”.  This is distinctly different from iTunes, Xbox Video, Amazon, etc. where the user usually has a limited “15 year license” to the content.
  • VUDU connects to DisneyMoviesAnywhere as well as Ultraviolet to provide a SINGLE visual catalog of your VUDU purchased content, your Ultraviolet movie catalog, and your Disney Movies Anywhere catalog – all from one page.

There is virtually no downside to using VUDU & Ultraviolet.  You can leave VUDU anytime you want and your Ultraviolet catalog will follow you to any other service that connects to UVVU.  You can access the content via live streams from any major device/platform.  You can download the content for offline playback at either SD or HD. 

To start converting your dusty DVD collection to on-demand digital streaming, go to:

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One Response to HOWTO: Convert your old DVD collection into HD-quality online streams

  1. […] HOWTO: Convert your old DVD collection into HD-quality online streams | Kurt's Thoughts […]

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