Walt Disney Studios announced this week that it would expand the availability of its cloud-based video service content to include Amazon and Microsoft this week, and then Roku and Android TV next week. The service has long been available to users of Apple’s iTunes and Apple TV.
The service is called Disney Movies Anywhere.
Basically, when you buy Disney videos from “participating providers”—today, that includes Amazon Video, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Microsoft, and VUDU—you can link those purchases to Disney and then access them all from a single location. (Or, you could buy the content through the Disney Movies Anywhere site, using one of those providers.) In doing so, you are linking a Disney account with one or more provider accounts. For whatever reason.
UPDATE: Actually, there is a good reason to do this. If you purchased qualifying movies on other services, they will be made available on Microsoft’s Movies & TV service (and vice versa). That is quite interesting, so I will be writing that up as a tip soon. –Paul
Since Apple has been doing this the longest—Apple and Disney linked up in early 2014—let’s see how they explain it.
“When you connect your Disney Movies Anywhere account to your iTunes Store account, eligible Disney movies become available to watch and download from either account,” Apple explains. “Access Disney Movies Anywhere on your computer through DisneyMoviesAnywhere.com or download the free app for your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Download Disney Movies Anywhere from the App Store.”
According to Disney, Disney Movies Anywhere is “an app and web site where you can browse, buy and watch your collection of eligible Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars titles across your favorite devices.” The service provides customers with access to exclusive content, special bonus features, and rewards points.
Frankly, this all looks horribly complex and pointless to me. But the reason I’m writing about this is that Disney actually included Microsoft in this scheme. And come on, that’s pretty impressive. As you may recall, the latest rendition of what used to be called Zune Video and then Xbox Video now goes by the lackluster name Microsoft Movies & TV, and it’s been an also-ran in the video space since day one.
When it comes to this tiny corner of the Microsoft empire, we’ll take our victories where we can find them.
Update: It appears that Disney Movies Anywhere isn’t really anywhere. It’s US-only.