I was shocked recently. It was a rare occasion I had failed to DVR something and was forced to watch the commercials instead of fast forwarding through them. Although I tried to ignore them as much as possible, one struck me as weird.
Wal-Mart just introduced a “disc to digital” service. Take your movies into Wal-Mart, and evidently they will make them into versions you can watch on iPads or other lesser tablets, phones, etc.
I was like, “WTF? How can they get away with this?”
So I did a little research, by which I mean, I googled it. Apparently they have agreements with some studios that allow them to take some movies and upload them to their online movie service. Then you can stream your movies to your computer or tablet. Of course they charge you for this service, and you have to be online somewhere for this to work. So if you’re close to being out of data for the month, or driving through the back side of no where with a poor signal, you’re out of luck.
I remember the good old days. When there were no DVD players for the ten people that insisted on Linux, they came up with software to crack, copy, and play DVDs on multiple devices. Thank God for nerds. The code to one of the copyright-breakers was so simple, they printed it on t-shirts.
I had several older DVDs at one point. Some started cracking in the middle. A few were getting some scratches that would cause problems for DVD players, but didn’t bother the computer’s DVD drive. I also have a child. If you’ve never bought a kid’s DVD, they are Packed with BS extras. Some of them contain twenty MINUTES of commercials and crap that you cannot fast forward.
Enter AnyDVD. A great little piece of software. It’s made by some people over seas, and will let you break the copyright protection on movies you bought. The same company makes another piece of software called CloneDVD. It lets you copy movies that you own to your PC. You can even remove all the warnings, commercials, and menus that you didn’t want to sit through anyway. Start the moivd, and by the time your butt hits the couch, it’s playing. No waiting, no click this, select that, sit through forced menus, commercials, how much better this would be on blu-ray, etc.
So, you can copy your movies. Take them on vacation, put the slightly damaged originals away while you watch the backups, whatever.
But how does this have anything to do with Wal-Mart?
I will show you the light that is Wonderfox. Wonderfox is, among other things, a DVD converter. Once you copy the movie to your PC, you can convert it from it’s original mode, to an iPad or iPhone sized digital version, around a gigabyte or less. Drop the converted movie into iTunes, and TAKE your movie with you. Don’t try to stream it, copy it right to your device.
Yes, all these things cost money. I got wonderfox for free, when they did a promotion over a weekend. I paid for clone DVD and anydvd, many years ago. They do updates regularly, when Hollywood tries to screw with DVDs to prevent everything I just mentioned. But if you’ve ever had to buy a movie after it’s broken, or lost, or damaged, the software will pay for itself. When you’ve got a crying three year old because she really wants to watch Elmo, not ten minutes of BS before Elmo comes on, it will pay for itself. And when walmart wants to charge you to convert your own movies for you, and store them online where you have to go access them, it will pay for itself.
You own the movie, why not watch it how you want to?