The rumored Movies Anywhere digital locker service that I wrote about yesterday has officially launched today. The service links together Amazon Video, Google Play, Apple iTunes, and Vudu, so that movies purchased from participating studios through any of those retailers will be available in one unified app and across services. A new Movies Anywhere app for Fire TV devices is already available.
Movies Anywhere is trying to achieve what UltraViolet set out to do but couldn’t. It’s trying to make it so that purchasing a digital movie from any retailer will make the movie available across all of the devices you own. The service has not quite achieved that goal yet, but it’s impressively close considering it officially launches today.
Amazon Video, Google Play, Apple iTunes, Disney Movies Anywhere, and Vudu are the digital movie retailers that are currently participating with the new Movies Anywhere service. Once you create a Movies Anywhere account you need to link your Amazon, Google, Apple, and/or VUDU account to the service. Once your accounts are linked, all movies, from participating studios, that you’ve purchased in the past from any of those four retailers will become available to stream from within the Movies Anywhere app and is supposed to also become available from all four retailers.
The idea is that Movies Anywhere acts as a central locker that keeps track of the movies you’ve purchased, regardless of where they’ve been purchased. The catch is that, while Movies Anywhere has managed to get all 4 major digital retailers to participate, not all film studios are currently participating. This means that some movies, even though they were purchased through a participating retailer, will not be available through the service.
Warner Bros., Universal, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, and Disney are currently participating with Movies Anywhere, with Disney being the company behind the service. That gives the service a launch library of more than 7,300 titles. Karin Gilford, general manager for Movies Anywhere, says that they’re in conversations with Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate to join the service.
The Movies Anywhere app is available on iOS, Apple TV, Android, Android TV, Amazon Fire Tablet, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku devices. Streaming is also possible through Chromecast and the Movies Anywhere website. Theoretically, you shouldn’t need the app and should be able to stream titles from any of the participating retailers, i.e., directly from the Fire TV main interface via Amazon Video, but it seems like there are either limitations or issues that are preventing this at the moment. I’m personally not seeing all of the movies in my various libraries show up correctly across all retailers.
If you have a large UltraViolet collection, you should be able to link it to Movies Anywhere via your VUDU account. I’ve also read that Movies Anywhere will support redemption codes that come with Blu-rays or DVDs, but I haven’t found any detailed information about it. I believe codes must still be redeemed through VUDU and then get incorporated into Movies Anywhere that way.
As an incentive for signing up with Movies Anywhere and linking your various accounts, the service is currently offering up to 5 free movies. If you sign up and link one account, either Amazon, Google, Apple, or VUDU, you will get the movies Ghostbusters (2016) and Ice Age for free. Linking a second account will earn the movies Big Hero 6, The Lego Movie, and Jason Bourne for free.
Movies Anywhere is a great first step to ensuring that a digital movie you purchase, regardless of where it’s purchased, will be playable on the vast majority of streaming devices on the market. While it doesn’t have all the retailers or studios participating yet, and there seem to be a few hiccups with the service, it’s a very promising initial launch.