Movies Anywhere Multi-Studio Streaming Service Launches

It’s not every day that a streaming service with the potential to disrupt the entire AV entertainment industry has launched. But today is potentially such a day, thanks to the debut of Disney’s Movies Anywhere, which despite the association with Mickey Mouse (Disney owns it) is in fact a multi-studio affair.

The reason Movies Anywhere is such a big deal is because even though Disney spearheaded this service—and is folding Disney Movies Anywhere into it—now it’s been joined by Fox, Sony, Universal, and Warner Bros. Mind you, it’s not a movie retailer—you still have to buy the movies elsewhere. Rather, it’s a movie locker that acts as a central repository for movies purchased from the supported services and were made by participating studios.

Because the supported studios and streaming services are all major players, that instantly makes Movies Anywhere a force to be reckoned with. The key selling point here is Movies Anywhere will synchronize qualifying titles from your accounts on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. That means you don’t have to repurchase eligible titles in order to use this service! For folks who buy popular movies on multiple platforms, the change to consolidate is surely welcome.

It so happens that I have purchased films from studios included in this venture. So, I took the opportunity to sign up this morning. At first, it seems the service was overwhelmed as there was a server error, but that had cleared up by 11 AM. Eastern time. After signing in with Facebook and agreeing to terms, Movies Anywhere presented me with a screen where I connected with the four “movie retailer” online movie streaming services it supports.

I started with Vudu, where my collection of HD and UHD films has grown to 245 titles over the years. Linking the accounts took seconds and just a couple quick button-presses to accomplish, and the same went for Google Play plus Amazon Video. iTunes took a few button presses, but that still took less than a minute to accomplish. When I was done, I found a whopping seven titles in my new collection. Hmmm. It turns out Vudu linking was not working at first.

 

Update: Vudu linking now works and 167 out of 247 titles I own on that platform are now available through Movies Anywhere. Not bad!

My first attempt to stream Jason Bourne with a PC resulted in an HDCP error in Chrome…

 
Looks like Movies Anywhere wants you to only have a TV connected to a PC—monitors are no good. I did get it to work right away in Chrome on my laptop, so there’s that. However I was not impressed with the quality, as compared to streaming with Vudu (or any other service I use for that matter). Even letting it stream for several minutes did not get it to look better than standard-definition Netflix. In a bit, I’m going to go install it on my Roku and see how that works and update this piece when I’m done.

Anyhow, once it’s set up, Movies Anywhere lets you watch flicks on PC or Mac using a browser, or using a free app that’s available on Google Play, iTunes, Amazon App Store, and Roku. But also, and much to my surprise, it looks like the linked accounts also cross-pollinate. For example, my Amazon Video account now shows Vudu purchases as well.

Given that this is day one for the service, hiccups are to be expected. Are you trying out Movies Anywhere? If so, please do post your first impressions in the forum comments.