While streaming services and digital rentals make it easy to watch all the movies you want without actually buying anything, there are still film buffs who prefer to own their favorite movies, whether via digital download or physical media like Blu-ray. With so many different services that let you buy films, it can be tough to keep track of what you bought, and where you can play it.
Movies Anywhere aims to solve this problem by sharing films purchased via multiple services. Now, Comcast has joined the digital movie party as the service’s first pay-TV provider. It joins a comprehensive list of sellers, including Microsoft, which partnered with the service in August.
The Comcast partnership means that Comcast Xfinity TV customers will be able to sync all of their movies purchased from that platform with the titles they may have previously bought from Movies Anywhere’s other partners. Once the Comcast and Movies Anywhere accounts have been successfully paired up, Comcast subscribers will have access to the merged collection via the Xfinity X1, the Xfinity Stream app, and other supported Xfinity TV platforms, like Roku.
“Buying” digital movies has always been a bit problematic. Once purchased, you need to make sure you can play a movie on your desired device, which is not a given. Apple’s iTunes purchases, for instance, can only be played on Apple devices (though workarounds do exist). This makes the Movies Anywhere partnership a good deal for Comcast subscribers, as it not only allows their purchased movies to be played back on any device that Movies Anywhere supports, but also brings the entire Movies Anywhere catalog to Xfinity devices.
It might also be pretty lucrative for Movies Anywhere, as the Disney-owned service does its best to entice valuable Comcast subscribers into the fold by offering up a copy of Happy Feet as a reward for syncing. If you sync with two or more sellers on the Movies Anywhere platform, you’ll be treated to The Martian and The Fate of the Furious too.
Movies Anywhere allows purchases from select studios made through Microsoft’s Movies & TV store, Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, and FandangoNow to be watched via the Movies Anywhere app, including movies you have previously purchased via these services. Studios that support the service include Sony Pictures Entertainment, The Walt Disney Studios (encompassing Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm), 20th Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures (including DreamWorks and Illumination Entertainment), and Warner Bros.
By connecting your accounts for each of these services, you will be able to watch your purchased films from any of the aforementioned studios on the Movies Anywhere app at any time. This also applies to physical purchases: Blu-ray and UHD Blu-rays from the involved studios often include a digital download code, and while you could just download the file, registering it with one of the above services makes for a more portable experience. As more studios join Movies Anywhere, you may even find the codes included with older purchases are now compatible with the service.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because the concept has been done before with Ultraviolet, which offers similar functionality. Many major studios support Ultraviolet, but one longtime holdout was Disney, which spurned the service in favor of developing its own service in Movies Anywhere. While the service did well enough when it was Disney-only, the addition of other studios is seeing more customers using it.
Movies Anywhere is supported on Amazon Fire devices, Android and Android TV devices, Chromecast, iOS, Roku devices, Windows 10 PC, Xbox game consoles, and popular browsers. For more information, see the Movies Anywhere website.
Updated on December 6, 2018: Added information on Comcast joining the Movies Anywhere service.