You know your prized DVD of "The Shawshank Redemption"? Wouldn't it
be cool if you could watch that movie on your phone, tablet, or
laptop? How about your Roku box or game console?
Last I checked, my iPad doesn't have a DVD player. However,
thanks to a new service from Vudu
, I can convert many of the
DVDs in my library to digital, cloud-accessible movies available
for streaming or downloading just about anywhere. And the first
conversion is free!
Vudu's Disc-to-Digital service originally required you to take
your movies to your nearest Walmart, but the new In-Home option
saves you the trip. Just install a small piece of software on your
Windows PC or Mac, pop in a DVD (or Blu-ray, if your system has a
Blu-ray drive), then follow the instructions.
It costs just $2 to convert a DVD to a standard-definition
(SD) digital file or a Blu-ray to a high-definition (HD) one.
That's certainly less than it would cost to buy a digital version
of a movie from, say, Amazon or iTunes.
Interestingly, there's also an HD option for DVDs--an upgrade
of sorts--but that costs $5 (and isn't offered as part of the
first-one-free promotion). Although it's still cheaper than buying
a Blu-ray or even an HD digital version, it strikes me as odd given
that Blu-ray conversions are only two bucks.
I should also point out that not all movie studios support
disc-to-digital conversions, and therefore Vudu's software won't
work with all your movies. It did work nicely with my copy of "The
Shawshank Redemption" (best prison movie ever), and I loved being
able to put the disc away for safekeeping while being able to watch
the movie on just about every device I own.
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If you want to learn more about the service, I highly
recommend reading CNET's extensive hands-on coverage
Ultimately, the reviewer found it "promising but lacking," a
takeaway I agree with. But you've got nothing to lose by taking it
for a test drive.Veteran technology writer Rick Broida is the author of numerous books, blogs, and features. He lends his money-saving expertise to CNET and Savings.com, and also writes for PC World and Wired.