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Wal-Mart launches disc-to-digital service with 4000 titles; DreamWorks is in

Giant supermarket chain Wal-Mart launched its UltraViolet-compatible, VUDU-based disc-to-digital service in earnest yesterday when it made 4,000 movie titles available for cloud-based conversion.

Customers can bring their DVD and Blu-ray discs to more than 3,500 stores and receive digital access to their titles from the partnering studios - Paramount, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. DreamWorks Animation joined in yesterday so that such titles as Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon will be included in the offering.

Consumers chose the format in which they want the content on their disc converted. A DVD and Blu-ray disc can be converted into a digital file in their respective definition format for $2. Standard DVDs can be upgraded to high-definition for $5. A 'Walmart Entertainment' stamp in indelible ink is placed on a disc, preventing any further conversion, but allowing it to still be played. Users can then access their content over Internet-connected devices, including television sets, tablets, smartphones and gaming consoles.

All ten BD discsHome Media Magazine brought in to be transferred to digital were available in the high-definition format, except for The Godfather, only available in standard-definition. The magazine noted that Avatar, Platoon and The Untouchables were not on the list.

Wal-Mart's category director for movies, Louis Greth told Computerworld that the retailer has not yet cleared the rights for all the titles from participating studios. It means some titles not being available. Also, some actors and directors have not agreed to sign over digital rights to movies they took part in. In the case of director George Lucas, that includes all six Star Wars movies. Fox confirmed that the digital rights for Water for Elephants have not been cleared.

Story filed 17.04.12

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