Today in Connected Consumer

The reviews are starting to roll in for Walmart’s in-store disc-to-digital conversion service and the consensus is…not terrible. BTIG Research analyst Rich Greenfield took some discs down to his local Walmart and said the experience “exceeded our expectations.” He also posted a seven-minute video of a walk-through. The video also be seen here for those who are not registered users of the BTIG site. Rob Pegoraro of Discovery News was also pleasantly surprised, particularly with the fact that for $5 you can bump up a standard-def DVD to a high-def digital copy. The reviews weren’t all good, however. Dave Zatz of Zatz Not Funny struck out at a couple of Walmarts in the Washington, DC area, where the in-store personnel apparently had not yet been trained in the process. Whether, or not, in-store conversion becomes a real business for Walmart, though, the program is certain to boost Vudu.

Today in Connected Consumer

Wal-Mart formally unveiled its in-store, disc-to-digital conversion service yesterday, which allows customers to take their DVDs to a Wal-Mart store to have them converted to an UltraViolet digital file stored in the cloud. As I speculated in a recent Weekly Update, the program seems designed in large part as a way for Wal-Mart to get the studios to fund a marketing campaign to promote Vudu, Wal-Mart’s digital movie service. Customers have to set up Vudu accounts first before Wal-Mart will convert their discs. Branding for the new service calls its Walmart Entertainement; Powered by Vudu. No mention of UltraViolet. Some analysts were cool toward the new service, citing the less-than-universal device support, lack of Disney movies and likely consumer resistance to the $2-$4 fee per disc. While the fees are likely to be a turn off for some, paying $4 to upgrade your SD DVD movies to HD digital copies could appeal to some.