Disney has expanded its Movies Anywhere service to include the four biggest other movie studios. Now, you can share your movies purchases from the biggest movie studios among any of the top digital movie services. And you can do so Android and iOS, Apple TV, Roku, Kindle Fire, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast.
See anything missing? Right. Microsoft’s Movies & TV service, which is locked to Windows 10.
“Movies Anywhere is a massive step forward for the consumer digital media experience, bringing the incredible film libraries of five studios together in a virtual one-stop movie-watching shop,” Movies Anywhere general manager Karin Gilford says. “Movies Anywhere means that consumers never have to remember where they purchased a film or which device they can watch it on, because all of their eligible movies will be centralized within their Movies Anywhere library and available across platforms through the Movies Anywhere app and website and also available at their connected digital retailers. And as Movies Anywhere continues to add more studios, retailers and platforms, the entertainment possibilities are endless.”
That last bit leaves open the possibility that Microsoft could still sign up. But there is another dark possibility to consider. Sorry.
As you may recall, Microsoft Movies & TV was silently dropped from Movies Anywhere’s predecessor, Disney Movies Anywhere, last month. And with the recent killing of Microsoft’s Groove Music Pass, which the software giant had kept limping along for 11 long years, speculation now turns to Movies & TV. If Microsoft can’t support a music service, how on earth can it do so with movies?
Microsoft could surprise us. But my expectation is that this improved and more compatible Movies Anywhere service will be the impetus for Microsoft shutting down its own Movies & TV service. And app, which again only runs on Windows 10 for some reason. All it needs to do is partner with one of the compatible digital retailers—like Amazon or Apple—or with Movies Anywhere. And users will be able to move their existing libraries off of Microsoft.
So that is just speculation, of course. But it makes sense.
Returning to Movies Anywhere, this new service could solve my Apple TV problem: With its unusable remote, the Apple TV 4K has not met my expectations, but I was sort of stuck because I have so much content in Apple’s ecosystem. With Movies Anywhere, that’s no longer the case: Many—probably most—of my Apple movie purchases are now (or will soon be) available on Roku and Chromecast, and via Amazon and Google Play. So I can experiment more openly with a replacement. And will do so.
“Sharing your Video Data allows us to bring you the Movies Anywhere services, including enabling you to access, manage, browse, and watch your eligible videos across your accounts and devices, no matter where you purchase them,” a Movies Anywhere support document notes. That is exactly what I’ve been looking for. And it may be a nice out for anyone who (foolishly, sorry) actually purchased Microsoft content back in the day.
We’ll see how this evolves. But right now, this looks like a ton of good news. Movies Anywhere supports content from Disney, Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal and Warner Bros. That does leave out some heavy hitters, for sure, like MGM and Paramount. But it’s still pretty impressive.