Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Apple, Disney connect iTunes with Disney Movies Anywhere for UltraViolet-like experience

Longtime UltraViolet holdouts Disney and iTunes have combined to launch Disney Movies Anywhere, VentureBeat announced on Tuesday.

UltraViolet is used by every major studio except Disney. Disney Movies Anywhere uses KeyChest, a technology developed by Disney which has long languished. Disney Movies Anywhere will only offer movies released by Walt Disney Studios, including those from Marvel Studios and Pixar Animation Studios. Another limitation: For now, the client app will only be available on iOS devices and Apple TV.

Despite these limitations, the latter two studios listed above should ensure many consumers will be interested in the service.

In addition, Disney is in talks with the purveyors of other platforms, such as Android, about carrying Disney Movies Anywhere. While it currently requires an iTunes account, we'd expect that to expand to the Play Store, soon. Linked to a user's iTunes film library, users can stream, not just download videos as they can with iTunes content. Users can also stream films by logging into the Disney Movies Anywhere website.

Disney Movies Anywhere launched with over 400 titles, including the recent animated blockbuster "Frozen," whose digital video home release was synced to the launch of Disney Movies Anywhere on Tuesday. Note that films released by Disney's Touchstone Pictures and former Miramax Films label are not available on Disney Movies Anywhere.

It's unclear how long this promotion will last, but those who act swiftly and activate a Disney Movies Anywhere account and connect it to their iTunes account will receive a free digital copy of Pixar's "The Incredibles." That's a pretty good deal, as that digital copy would go for $19.99 otherwise.

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