BestBuy will now convert your discs to digital files from your PC

The retailer's CinemaNow feature can convert your DVDs to digital files from the comfort of your own PC.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

People who want to convert their physical DVDs to an online digital format can now do so via Best Buy, and without leaving home.

Now available as a beta program, Best Buy's CinemaNow service promises to convert your discs into an UltraViolet format that you can store and watch online. UltraViolet is a system that lets you house your movies and TV shows in the cloud and then access them from an Internet-enabled device.

To use Best Buy's CinemaNow service, you have to create an account and then download the CinemaNow Player for your PC or Mac. Choosing the Disc to Digital option prompts you to insert your DVD into your computer. From there, the conversion takes place, creating a standard-definition or high-definition version that you can watch from devices that support CinemaNow and UltraViolet.

The price varies, but most SD copies will cost you $1.99 to 2.99, while HD digital copies run $4.99 to $5.99.

So, is there a catch? Well, yes. You can't just pick any movie or TV show from your DVD library. Only certain titles from certain studios are supported. CinemaNow can handle a bit more than 3,500 titles from such studios as Sony, Universal, Warner, and Lionsgate. The full list (PDF), which Best Buy says is growing, is available on the retailer's Dropbox page.

Walmart offers a similar conversion option powered by Vudu. But that service requires a trip to your local Walmart store where an employee converts and uploads your disc.

With DVD sales on the decline, Hollywood has been pushing UltraViolet as a way for people to buy, store, and watch movies and TV shows in the cloud. But with a limited number of available titles and compatible devices, the format has yet to light a fire under the average consumer.

(Via Engadget)

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.


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