If ordering DVDs through Amazon.com
Amazon is now beginning to sell a few of its titles as "Disc+ On Demand," through which buyers of a physical DVD or Blu-ray disc have immediate access to a digital version of the same flick.
In other words, if you buy The Wizard of Oz on DVD for $14.99, you'll have access to a digital rental from Amazon's Video On Demand. Buyers have 30 days to begin streaming the rental through their computer, TiVo
There are 313 discs available as "Disc+ On Demand" on Amazon.com, with many of them including permanent digital copies as bonuses instead of mere rentals.
This is still a great move for Amazon, as it tries to overcome the e-tail stigma of having to wait for physical deliveries. But this isn't the first time a company has bridged the digital divide to move physical CDs. The original MP3.com partnered up with a few music retailers to offer music-locker access for purchased CDs. That cutting-edge offering was squashed when the My.MP3.com service was deemed illegal because it wasn't the purchased copy that was being streamed from the virtual locker. Amazon, in contrast, is apparently making sure that the studios are onboard, even if it means a very limited initial selection.
Overcoming physical distance has been a big winner for Netflix
Even if "Disc+ On Demand" doesn't take off, Amazon will have exposed its digital video service to a broader audience. It's a win-win scenario, but investors are used to that, given Amazon's winning ways lately.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a Netflix subscriber -- and shareholder -- since 2002. He also owns shares in TiVo and is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.