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Disney Launches Disney Movies Anywhere Online Locker Service

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Disney has been the sole movie studio holdout to UltraViolet, and today the online video world learned why. Disney launched its own online locker service, called Disney Movies Anywhere, that lets shoppers stream their purchased titles from any computer or stream or download them to an iOS device.

To use Disney Movies Anywhere, shoppers need to create a Disney ID (if they don't have one), log in, and then link their Disney and iTunes accounts. While the website displays the collection (over 400 titles at launch), purchases are handled through the iTunes Store.

That's just one of the smart moves Disney made -- letting shoppers use a storefront they're already familiar with. Families can access and stream purchased movies from two different devices at the same time, which should help prevent sibling tensions. Using the free iOS Disney Movies Anywhere app, movies can be downloaded to up to eight devices.

Disney Movies Anywhere uses an authentication system called KeyChest that was created in-house and has been in development for several years.

While the public's reaction to UltraViolet has been lukewarm, Disney Movies Anywhere has two important advantages: One, since the early days of movies on VHS, people have enjoyed creating their own at-home Disney libraries, and this brings the idea into the online video age. Second, online movies are only worth purchasing if they're going to be re-watched, and parents know that children love to re-watch favorites.

The library includes titles as recent as Frozen and as classic as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Pixar and Marvel movies are included, but Touchstone and Miramax titles aren't.

As an incentive, Disney is offering a free copy of The Incredibles to people who link their Disney Movies Anywhere and iTunes accounts. While the service is limited to iOS devices for now, Disney plans to bring access to other platforms in the near future.

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