Some time back, I downloaded the Disney Movies Anywhere app to my devices. That means I had it on my iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV. I didn't use it a lot, but I could use it. That's the point.
I liked it because it allowed my to purchase Disney content on one service and play the content on a device that didn't support the service. Let me explain so you can see why this is a big deal.
Device and Service Fragmentation
Note that I'm only focusing on set-top boxes, not phones and tablets, although some of what I'm saying would apply to those devices. There is less fragmentation in mobile devices. However, I generally do not use a mobile device to watch TV.
So, if you buy something on iTunes, you can only play it back on an Apple TV or an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod). You can't play it back on a Roku.
If you buy something on Amazon, you can only play it back on a device that supports the Amazon Video app. That means you can't play it on Apple TV, since there is no Amazon Video app for Apple TV.
If you buy something on VUDU, you can only play it back on a VUDU app. And that meant no Apple TV until they released the updated device two years ago (I've been streaming for almost seven years).
And, if you bought something on Google Play, you could only play it back on a device that supported Google Play. There's still no Google Play app for Apple TV.
Even when the service has an app for all the devices -- something that only VUDU had -- you had to open that particular app to play the content. For example, I bought Forbidden Planet on Amazon because Amazon had it for a good price. That meant I could not watch it on Apple TV, but I could watch it on Roku or Fire TV. But, on Roku, I had to open the Amazon Video app to watch it.
I bought Raiders of the Lost Ark on iTunes, because they had it on sale. That meant I could only watch it on Apple TV, and not on Roku.
I bought Star Trek movies on VUDU. I got them for around $2 each at the time, which was a deal I didn't want to pass up. However, I could only watch them on the VUDU app and that was only on Roku.
So, depending on what I wanted to watch, I would have to switch devices, or apps within the same device. I was not able to have all my content on the same device and in the same app library.
Disc to Digital
Oh, one thing that I really like about VUDU is their feature called Disc to Digital. That's a program that allows me to take a DVD that I had purchased and add it to my digital library. You can find more about it here.
Not everything I own on DVD will convert, but a lot will. It's $2 per movie, or $5 if you want to upgrade to HD (keep in mind that DVDs are not in HD). That's where most of my VUDU content comes from, actually.
Disney Enters The Picture
A little while back, Disney launched an app called Disney Movies Anywhere. That meant I could buy Disney content on a service limited to one device, but watch it on an otherwise unsupported device. For instance, I could buy Cinderella on Amazon Video and watch it on any device, even a device that didn't support Amazon.
This was only true for Disney content, but that was at least better than it had been before. I had purchased Disney content through both Amazon and iTunes, but the Disney Movies Anywhere app let me watch it on any of my devices. I liked that.
Shortly afterwards, it got even better. Disney content purchased through Amazon began showing up in my iTunes library. And Disney content purchased through iTunes began showing up in my Amazon library. It meant that I could simply go to my regular content library on a device and watch any of my Disney content.
The only way it could get better would be if it also worked for other studios.
Now it does. Not all, but there are now more studios supported.
Disney Movies Anywhere becomes Movies Anywhere
The change to the app is more than a name change. Movies Anywhere expands to include more studios.
Movies Anywhere features a wide range of films from Disney, Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., Universal and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. At this time, movies from non-participating studios such as Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM are not eligible and will not migrate to your Movies Anywhere library. As Movies Anywhere evolves, we will continue to add more content partners.This means that I now have a lot more of my content in one place. Not everything. Not most, in fact. But a lot.
Putting It All Together
Under the new Movies Anywhere setup, my content for Disney, Sony, Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros. is now available in my iTunes library and my Amazon library. That's very convenient.
Now, to be sure, not everything gets combined in the libraries. I have several hundred iTunes purchases, but less than half actually are available in Amazon. That's because the studios for those aren't part of the Movies Anywhere service. This is also true of the Disc to Digital service.
Recently, I pulled out 14 DVDs I had purchased and added them to VUDU through Disc to Digital. Only eight of them were added to Movies Anywhere. The other six? Non-participating studios.
So, if you have purchased content from multiple sources, and would like to be able to access the content from a single source, I'd suggest trying Movies Anywhere. The app is free, and after you set it up, the content libraries will merge -- with the caveat being participating studios.
I like it.