Amazon tests UltraViolet-like service that offers free digital copies with Blu-ray and DVD purchases

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Amazon is testing a new service that automatically gives customers a free digital version of Blu-rays and DVDs they purchase from Amazon. Two members of a German Blu-ray forum have reported receieving an email from Amazon informing them of the test program after purchasing Blu-rays and DVDs. Digital versions of the titles they purchased were added to their Amazon Video library and were available to stream immediately. The email from Amazon makes it clear that the service is only being tested and that access to the free digital copies may be revoked in the future.

Amazon already offers a similar service, called Amazon AutoRip, for music where customers who buy select CDs from Amazon automatically receive a digital version added to their Amazon Music library. This new Blu-Ray and DVD service from Amazon is the video equivilant of AutoRip and is no doubt an answer to UltraViolet, a similar program that provides access to a digital version of content in a cloud locker which is unlocked by entering a code included with physical media. Amazon, as well as Google, Apple, and Disney, are notably not members of the UltraViolet alliance.

The Amazon Fire TV and Fire tablets, lost all access to UltraViolet content a couple months ago when Flixster, the only app that streamed UltraViolet content on those devices, dropped all streaming capabilities. While a competing UltraViolet-like service from Amazon would not restore access to the content that owners of Amazon’s hardware once had, it would at least provide feature parity for future physical media purchases.

It’s unknown if Amazon is testing this new service in countries other than Germany. It’s also worth noting that the two individuals who have received the free digital content are both Amazon Prime members, so membership may be a requirement for the service.

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18 comments
  1. Will G says:

    Cool news, but Amazon actually going UV would be so much better. One of the biggest perks of UV is that you can share your UV library with four other UV accounts (family or friends).

  2. Craig says:

    Yeah. They need to actually get UltraViolet. I don’t know what the heck is taking so long to get it? It is really that hard to sit a few lawyers down and sign on the dotted line? I want my Vudu purchases mirrored on Amazon Video and I’m not repurchasing about 100 movies to do it.

    Elias? Can you reach out to anyone in Amazon and figure out why this hasnt happened yet?

    • Drake says:

      It’s not difficulty, it’s greed. The major holdouts all feel like they have a broad enough reach that they can scam you into buying digital content from them, where you are then locked into staying with them if you want to be able to watch your stuff.

  3. Joe says:

    Both Amazon and Google need to join UV

  4. Ohiomedic says:

    This sounds more like what Walmart is doing with Vudu. If you buy a compatible movie from their website it shows up in Vudu if your accounts are connected. If you buy in store you just scan your receipt in the Walmart app. The codes you get with the disc still work also.

  5. Y2Bogus says:

    This is the epitome of dumb. There’s already an existing, platform independent, studio-backed service for this, with a pre-existing customer base. Why not join that instead of trying to re-invent the wheel an compete against it?

    • keiichi000 says:

      Besides the obvious reason that UV is damn near awful. If anything, I wish the various UV studios would drop UV and go with Disney’s Movies Anywhere approach. Works so much better, and I get my movies on all the platforms (Vudu, Amazon, Google Play, and ITunes).

      • YouAreDumb says:

        UV is the same as DMA, if you think they are different you’re an idiot.

        • obidawsn says:

          UV is not the same as DMA. DMA is Disney’s own thing. However, they allow you to link your movies in DMA to other platforms like Vudu, iTunes, Google Play, etc. Not all services link, though, including some of the UV services, but I’m sure Disney is working on that. Why would you even think UV is the same as DMA? If you’re saying they’re similar (not necessarily the same thing), then you’re only partly right. Some studios will allow you to have a UV copy in one and it link to other UV services, but that’s it, and some movies won’t link to all UV services. It’s slightly better than just being a proprietary like iTunes, but still not as good as DMA which links to not only some UV services, but iTunes, Amazon, and other services as well.

          I used to be mainly iTunes since we had an Apple TV and didn’t have a good device hooked to our TV that did Vudu well (we had Vudu apps on our TV and blu-ray player, but they weren’t ideal). We also used our Apple TV more, so it was just easier to use iTunes. However, our kids have Fire tablets. The first tablet we bought, we were able to sideload VUDU with no problems, so we started putting any digital copies on UV and we eventually got a TV that had a better VUDU app. But now VUDU isn’t working ideally how we want. I finally got it to install, but the new tablets Amazon sells are only 8GB with the option for a microSD card. But the VUDU app won’t allow movies to download to the external card, so space is very limited. If all studios had something similar to DMA where their movies linked up to different services, I could not only watch movies on my Apple TV, but also my son’s Roku we recently put in his room, and through Amazon on their Fire tablets. And it would also be nice to then be able to link all the movies we unlocked through iTunes to be able to watch on those other devices.

          • Shaun says:

            @obidawsn, while I realize this response is late you may want to make sure that you have the latest update for the VUDU app. After reading your post I verified that within the VUDU app you have the ability to set the storage location to either internal, internal & SD, or just SD. This was verified using version 5.1.15643804_23_1
            I hope this helps

  6. Ujn Hunter says:

    Disney Movies Anywhere is the best, I agree… so great to be able to choose where and how I want to watch my movies. This is good news regardless, as having access to the movies I buy (buy 99% of my movies from Amazon already…) instantly is great.

  7. Drake says:

    Screw Disney and their price fixing.

    We need to get behind UV in greater numbers. It’s the only digital option that *every* single company can participate in equally and that gives consumers every possible choice… not stranding their content in one place if it’s service declines in quality. You want to buy on iTunes? Or Google Play? Or from a studio directly? Or a brick and mortar? Great, buy anywhere… watch anywhere. They just need to get on board with UV. They don’t because the biggest of them each thinks they can monopolize your dollar, or at least get a bigger chunk of it, by forcing you into their narrow offerings. Don’t support anyone who doesn’t play nice with UV and you’ll quickly see just how amazing things could be with everyone on the same footing.

    Anyone who says Disney movies anywhere is best because of the options it gives them doesn’t understand how UV works… or is an Apple person.

    • JL Montague says:

      “Anyone who says Disney movies anywhere is best because of the options it gives them doesn’t understand how UV works… or is an Apple person.”

      I’m not an Apple person…well, I use a macbook pro but I don’t own an iDevice. I do own two different Fire tablets, and a Fire stick, and the lack of vudu and the inability to access the google store was a pain, but at least I could access most of my UV titles on the flixster video app. Now that app is no longer offered. I’ve been able to sideload UV-compatible apps (vudu doesn’t work but Flixster video and Fandango and Cinemanow all do), but for people who aren’t tech savvy, yet own a lot of UV movies, if they want to watch them on a fire device, they can’t. But their disney movies will show up in their amazon library. And if someone else in the house owns an iphone/ipod/ipad, they can also access their disney library in itunes. The Disney Movies Anywhere model affords the most “freedom” (as much freedom as you can get from digital copies of movies).

      I know it’s unlikely but I’d love for Google and Amazon to embrace UV. I only own a few titles from each of those platforms, but I own hundreds of UV titles. I’d love to be able to see my entire catalog of “cloud movies” whether I go to a fire device’s video library column, or on google play, or on vudu or flixster. I’d love to see one title I purchase on one platform be available on those others, the way it works when I get a good deal on Disney titles on any one platform. It’d be extremely consumer friendly

    • obidawsn says:

      I completely understand how UV works and DMA is better. Disregard it being Disney. The point is that other studios should do something similar. Disney has always tried to make it so that you could have options for watching your movies digitally. If you bought a movie that came with a digital copy, you could unlock it on both iTunes and UV. Then they came up with DMA, where you only needed to use the code once and it unlocked in all services you had linked to your DMA (iTunes, Amazon, VUDU, Google Play, etc.). Although UV is less restrictive than iTunes or Amazon, it’s still more restrictive than DMA.

  8. Clint A says:

    Everyone should embrace UV now that you can buy early online access to movies through VUDU that updates to you UV library up to a month before they release in stores. The sweetest part is that you also have the option to pay a few bucks more to have the Bluray/DVD combo delivered to your home two days after it comes out in stores. I share my UV library with 5 family members who also buy movies, if they buy UV, those titles show up on my list to watch. Super awesome deals on VUDU all the time. Just bought entire Matrix trilogy for $12!!! The most options, and by far better than Disney Anywhere, Google, etc!!! You Apple Cattle don’t know what you are missing!!!

  9. Vincent Clark says:

    Imagine if you purchased a Bluray disc from one store and could not play it on a device purchased at a rival store? Nobody would do it. However, this is the current state of play that Amazon, Apple and Google Play seem to be forcing us into. I only bought the firestick because it supported Flixster, until it didn’t. I now use the Google Chromecast. If we all vote with our feet and stop supporting these greedy platforms, perhaps we can starve them into compliance? We know the technology is there, they just need the corporate will to make it happen.

  10. Candice says:

    Any new news on this? This is the only catch in my live for Amazon.

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