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Walmart will turn discs into digital

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

A new service at Walmart lets customers stream movies they own to their devices, eliminating the need to keep discs.

ROSEMEAD, Calif. - Walmart Stores Inc. previewed its Disc to Digital service for converting DVDs into an online library on Wednesday.

The new service allows movie fans to walk into any Walmart, present DVDs, and get permanent access to an online version that can be streamed to a computer or mobile device. Each DVD conversion costs $2.

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With 4,000 titles available for conversion when the service is launched Monday, the retailer hopes to give customers another reason to visit its stores. Walmart also wants to take part in the shift in the way people watch movies: More and more watch on portable devices like Apple’s iPad.

Walmart’s category director for movies, Louis Greth, called the plan “the right first step’’ to ease consumers into owning movies online.

Five major studios are participating in the service, which gives them permanent access to their movies through Walmart’s Vudu online movie service.

Customers must bring in their discs, and an employee will search a database to see if the titles are available. For $5 per disc, movies can be upgraded from DVD to a high-definition online version. Blu-ray discs converted to HD will cost $2 each. Each disc that is converted gets stamped with indelible ink so it can’t be reused by someone else.

Vudu can be accessed by computers, Internet-connected TVs, video game consoles, and by way of a special player available on iPads and iPhones.

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