Disney Movies Anywhere

I don’t usually pay much attention to movies as they’re released on Blu-ray and streaming services. Sure, we rent the occasional new release on iTunes or Amazon, but I can count on one hand the number of movies we’ve actually purchased in the last 5–10 years. (Ill-conceived ownership of Jurassic World not withstanding.)

Let’s just say that last week’s home video debut of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was an obvious exception. Episode VII is a movie I’ve wanted to own since I saw it in the theater back in December.

We don’t even have a Blu-ray player, and I’m not interested in the effort it would take to buy an external Blu-ray drive, rip an HD copy, and set up some kind of home media server. So, I was basically okay with the idea of buying the movie on iTunes or Amazon and then watching it through that service in perpetuity.

Then I remembered seeing something about Disney Movies Anywhere, which allows you to watch movies produced by Disney — ahem — anywhere. In the (admittedly paraphrased) words of the late Mitch Hedberg, “it’s just so darn… literal.”

My first thought was, great, I’ll have the privilege of watching movies I’ve bought through a special Disney Movies Anywhere app, but not so. Here’s how it actually works:

  1. I created my Disney Movies Anywhere account.
  2. I connected our iTunes and Amazon accounts.
  3. After that, I went to purchase The Force Awakens on Amazon ($2 cheaper than iTunes).
  4. After the purchase had gone through, I headed over to our Apple TV (the latest generation), and poof! There it was.

Yes, iTunes had already talked to Amazon and posted the same version of The Force Awakens to my purchased items on iTunes, including all of the iTunes Extras. So, so fantastic.

At the risk of overplaying this, I’d say Disney Movies Anywhere is about the most consumer-friendly media application I’ve seen, at least as it related to purchasing DRM-ed content. No, they don’t supply you with a DRM-free file, but they do give you immediate access to the purchased film on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and the Microsoft Store (whatever that is) — all with one purchase. I think they did a great job with this, and I’ll keeping an eye out for future Disney movie deals.