Microsoft (finally) joins Movies Anywhere, lets you watch digital films across services (Update)

After months of anticipation, it looks as though Microsoft is finally joining Disney's "Movies Anywhere" service, according to a page on Microsoft's site (via WalkingCat on Twitter). With Microsoft jumping on the bandwagon, you should soon be able to watch most movies you've purchased through the Microsoft Store across a number of other major services as well, though the feature does not appear to be working just yet. This also means Microsoft's Movies & TV apps will now allow you to access movies you purchased from other supported services. However, the service is restricted to use in the U.S.

Updated August 6, 2018: Microsoft appears to have pulled its Movies Anywhere landing page for now, but you can go ahead and start linking up your Microsoft account via the service's mobile apps.

Movies Anywhere, which launched in late 2017, is a digital locker service that gives you access to your movie purchases across a variety of major services, including Google Play, iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and now Microsoft. As long as you own a movie on one of those services, it will be available on all of the others, in addition to the dedicated Movies Anywhere website and apps for Android and iOS.

There is one major caveat to this portability, however. The service is reliant on agreements with major movie studios, which means movies from studios that haven't struck a deal aren't available across platforms. Currently, the list of studios that have signed on to Movies Anywhere includes Disney, Fox, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and Universal. Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM are still holding out.

Movies Anywhere

Movies Anywhere (Image credit: Windows Central)

When it debuted, Movies Anywhere was seen as a big win for consumers because it knocked down the barriers surrounding the walled gardens of some platforms. As long as a given store supports the service, you don't have to worry about where you buy your movies, and that's a big deal if you're looking out for sales.

As for Microsoft, this solves a major pain point for anyone who wanted to use the company's store for movie purchases. Without a version of its Movies & TV app on other platforms, consumers were previously restricted to watching their purchases on Windows 10 devices and Xbox One.

As Windows Central Executive Editor Daniel Rubino opined not long after Movies Anywhere launched, Microsoft Movies & TV would be dead if it didn't embrace the service. Well, it appears it ain't dead yet.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Great news!! I had so many movie purchases during WM10 days. Hopefully I can watch them on devices other than my SB2 now
  • I'm really more and more getting fed up with that US Only ****... I know it's not a Microsoft restriction but why does it seem so that the entire world revolves around the US?
  • But it does. America is the best.
  • LOL. Sure, Joanne.
  • Blame the corporations and their reliance on copyright law. Copyright law, plus regional pricing are the main reasons for situations like those in the article.
  • Not copyright law.... regional pricing, licensing, release schedule and more. Not all movies are available world wide on the same day, theatrically or in stores. Follow up with that not all studios publish their own movies worldwide and rely on other publishers in other regions. lifehacker has a decent explanation of this and yes, it's annoying, frustration, and for the most part, easy to get around, but there is a reason for it.
  • I had no problem making an account while using VPN. Connected my Google and Amazon accounts, not from US, without an issue. Yes, they may ban me eventually, but not before I got all my movies tied with both accounts.
  • I got blocked when trying to do it with a VPN. What was your setup?
  • Not sure what setup you mean. I just used VPN Unlimited set to somewhere in US. I also linked the account to my fake Facebook account, on which I set the location to some middle of nowhere in US, for what it's worth. They may have upped their security in the meantime tho, as I made that account on the very beginning (when they were giving some five movies for free)
  • They can only block by IP address, so generally, they block particular services when their IP address blocks are known. Less well known VPN services or VPN services that are able to have more randomized IP addresses are less likely to be blocked.
  • When Europe or Asia makes the next Silicon Valley, then we will orbit around them. Until that happens, American companies that make deals with other American companies will, shockingly, offer services in America first.
  • Not true, and does not even sound right. Europe has numerous Silicon Valleys, and all their products actually managed to hit the US as well. It's really a matter of intention and care. I don't even know what the actual Silicon Valley has to do anything with this. Either regarding Movies Anywhere or orbiting.
  • 10 of the 13 most valuable companies in the world are American companies. The top 5 are all American tech companies. Yes, the world will revolve around the US while those top 5 companies remain the most valuable. Feel free to ignore the fact that it is a limitation of the American studios that prevent's usage outside of the US. This is not unique to Microsoft.
  • I suppose the operative word here is "when."
  • And Hans, this is an American company and the deal was between two Anerican companies. So damn straight we come first and you evolve around us (these American companies give you these services) Sorry if the truth hurts your feelings
  • Wow. You just sounded just as ignorant as your muppet president with that comment.
  • Yup. The fact that it's an American company and uses American copyright laws explains why. NOT some random arrogance about America being the best. "You evolve around us" - I'm guessing you meant "revolve" because people like you don't even like science, but that's false too. Samsung is one of the biggest phone companies, isn't American. Chinese people don't have access to much of American internet services and are doing just fine with their own. The truth is that we're all NOT at your mercy unlike you seem to think. Sorry if that hurts your feelings. :(
  • Other countries and regions also have different or more regulations and restrictions on digital content. That's why Google services aren't big in China, either.
  • Q: What will happen if Japanese living in Japan can buy US movie on day1? A: No one (a bit exaggerate) will go to theater, it hurts local businesses and no one (esp businessmen) will want to allow that. Q: Why apps on AppStore, PlayStore and MSStore can be released WW day1? A: Because no one was / is selling apps in any country. There was no traditional industry for app selling.
  • Is it hurting American movies and theatres that Americans are able to buy their own movies on Day 1? Why would foreign movies suddenly do that?
  • We're not able to buy movies the day they are released in theaters. It used to take YEARS, now its down to months, but if you're watching a movie at home the day it came out in theaters, its because you pirated it.
  • Movie release date in MS Store pretty much the same as the theater release date in Japan, sometimes faster. And we have much lesser movie selections in Japan. If we can buy or rent US original digital contents (not just movie) directly from US store in any country... How many contents or products' release date are synced? 95%?
  • Because China gets their grubby communist hands on everything.
  • It actually works outside of US too (FR here)
  • The world does revolve around the US. Particularly media wise. It's a fact. Deal with it.
  • Awesome! This is exactly what Microsoft needs to....wait, sorry...what did you say...oh, ok, this is USA only and...wait, say that again...likely to stay that way for months...probably years. Yes, yes, of course, I understand that the other 6.5 billion people on earth don't count..yes, I get that small minded...ignorant...why do we support them...yes, I understand. Yes, stupid does spring to mind. Ok, thanks for the call.
  • While I agree that Microsoft seems very US-centric, the decision to have Movies Anywhere be US-only is Movies Anywhere's choice, not Microsoft's.
  • I wouldn't blame Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM for not wanting to join in with Microsoft. So far, Microsoft hasn't exactly had the best track record of keeping their services on-going when it comes to entertainment. Last thing these studios want to do is give ultraviolet a bad rep thanks to Microsoft deciding they've had enough fun playing with the movie industry again and moving on leaving lots of disgruntled customers.
  • From the article : Currently, the list of studios that have signed on to Movies Anywhere includes Disney, Fox, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and Universal. Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM are still holding out. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MICROSOFT. Lol
  • What? Nothing you have wrote makes any sense whatsoever. Those studios are the only holdouts for Movies Anywhere which is not a Microsoft service. Them not joining has zero to do with Microsoft.
  • Smart move.
    Now you can watch your Microsoft store purchased movies on the other platforms without Microsoft having to write and maintain another MoviesTV app for iOS and Android. A bit like they transfered Groove people to Spotify and killed the iOS and Android apps.
  • Ha ha ha, US only... That's why I buy all my movies on Amazon and watch them on my Android devices... Kindle Fire and Roku... :-) Also movie prices are all too high on the Microsoft store... Guess it's all part of the plan to shun the consumer and concentrate on enterprise...
  • Amazon partakes in Movies Anywhere, the same as Microsoft. The Movies Anywhere part is the US only part.
  • But Movies Anywhere would mean that you could buy your movies on Amazon but then watch them through Microsoft Movies and TV on Windows 10 or Xbox One... You end up spending the same amount of money but get more devices to watch things on. I don't see what you're trying to say in your comment.
  • Good for US residents.
  • Netflix for the rest of us 😎
  • Can you access this right now.
  • The link in the article does take you to a Microsoft site that confirms that it's on the way, but when I tried walking through connecting it this morning, Movies & TV wasn't an option. I'll check again later today. As an aside, the Microsoft page says that as a bonus for connecting your Microsoft Account to Movies Anywhere, they'll give you a copy of Days of Future Past. So a little freebie is apparently being thrown in as well.
  • Wonder if it's 4k
  • Anyone know when this will actually work?
  • It's not working for me either, but I think I know why... If you look at the URL that the "Get Started" takes you to, it says at the end cmp=microsoft|landingpage|microsoft|landingpage|all|getstarted|2018-08-07 My guess is that it won't actually work until 2018-08-07. Today is still 2018-08-06, so I guess it will start working tomorrow.
  • I went to the MoviesAnywhere website and linked it to my MS account. Even had my movies show up in the Movies & TV app on Windows 10.
  • Great news ! Now with movies and tv apps coming to other platforms too. Microsoft will be the best place for buying your digital video media.
  • Except their UHD pricing being way out of line 9 times out of ten.
  • Except with movies anywhere, you can buy at a better price on vudu or
    prime, and still watch it anywhere. All the same collection.
  • Depends on whether or not that service has the UHD license for said content.
  • Which is it, their UHD prices are too high, or other services that are cheaper don't offer UHD? Your posts seem to contradict a bit.
  • I didn't Microsoft listed on my movies anywhere account. Has any else successfully connected their accounts?
  • Microsoft's page has been pulled.
  • It's still there, the page is still active. It shows up for me at random times. Like when I hit refresh, Microsoft's page shows up and then hitting refresh again results in the error everyone is getting. BUT don't worry because Movies Anywhere is not yet allowing linking of any Microsoft accounts. They might have to update the app and site.
  • I'm anxiously awaiting this. I will happily begin purchasing films through Microsoft again once this is completed.
  • "As Windows Central Executive Editor Daniel Rubino opined not long after Movies Anywhere launched, Microsoft Movies & TV would be dead if it didn't embrace the service. " Um, Microsoft was one of the original Providers, then Disney kicked them as they expanded out the service. I am curious what concessions/changes Microsoft had to make to get ADDED BACK. I'm would be shocked if Daniel didn't know about their initial involvement. Also, with his connections, I would be surprised if could not get answers to what happened originally and for them to be brought back into the group.
  • To be fair, Microsoft's involvement wasn't exactly the same as provider's involvement nowadays. Linking allowed you to watch Disney movies on Movies & TV. You couldn't watch your MS movies anywhere else other than Movies & TV. When "Movies Anywhere" popped up as a *separate* service to "Disney Movies Anywhere", Microsoft was not involved.
  • It is finally live and you can now connect your accounts.
  • YUP! just checked a few minutes ago and there it was!
  • "To register you must be a US resident located within the United States, its territories, or certain associated states at the time of registration." And they wonder why our piracy rates are higher than anywhere else.
  • I saw this, immediately signed up for Movies Anywhere, and bought Avengers Infinity War in UHD. To my massive disappointment, there's no way to download it at higher than HD on PC and no way to download at all on my Xbox One X. Argh!! It's not possible to get fast enough Internet bandwidth here to stream 4k/UHD. It takes about 12 hours to download a movie of that size -- well worth it for UHD quality. Maybe it's out of Microsoft's hands due to licensing terms, but they should at least provide some new buffering technology to allow it to buffer the whole movie in the background before playing. Even if it must auto-erase after that, it would still be better than nothing.