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Wal-Mart using special ink to stop Disc-to-Digital cheaters

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Wal-Mart's Disc to Digital service launches Monday, and allows disc owners to access digital copies of their films for a small fee. The company is using a special ink to mark discs that have already been converted, preventing duplicate downloads.

dvds stock 1020
dvds stock 1020

In order to prevent multiple people from surreptitiously using its cheap digital movie conversion service to score cheap HD movies, Wal-Mart is using a special ink to mark discs that have already been converted (the ink doesn't affect disc playback). "Disc-to-Digital," which launches officially April 16th (Monday), allows owners of DVDs and Blu-ray discs to get digital copies of their films from Wal-Mart's UltraViolet-powered digital locker. The service costs $2 per disc to access a high-definition download or stream from a Blu-ray (or a standard-def one from a DVD), or $5 per disc to upgrade a DVD to HD. Disc-to-Digital incorporates Wal-Mart's Vudu front-end, allowing converted films to be accessed from mobile devices, gaming consoles, and Smart TVs.

For the service, Wal-Mart is partnering with five studios, including Fox, Paramount, Sony, Universal, and Warner Brothers, but that doesn't mean all of their films will be convertible — some actors and directors haven't agreed to sign over the rights to their films (George Lucas and the Star Wars movies, for example). While Disc-to-Digital is only launching with 4,000 films, the cheap price and prevalence of Vudu could finally give UltraViolet the push it needs to overcome its awkward start.