20th Century Fox has announced that the special-edition DVD for “Live Free or Die Hard” will include a “DRM-free” computer file of the movie, playable through Windows’ PlaysForSure software. We suppose you can call this DRM-free, but it obviously doesn’t mean it’s not restricted. To access the file, you will have to insert the disc into your computer, then enter an authorization code that’s included in the DVD case. Once it’s copied over, you can play it on your PC or portable media players that use the PlaysForSure software.
Although novel, we’re not sure how much of an added value this really is since special edition sets are more expensive than regular DVDs anyway. (Amazon reports the list price for the Special Edition “Live Free or Die Hard” DVD is $34.98, discounted to $23.99. By comparison, they list the regular old ugly DVD release at $29.99, discounted to $15.99.) And yes, the semi-tech-savvy can rip DVDs and compress them for playback without the studio’s help. Still, they win points for convenience, and we’re impressed and surprised that a studio isn’t running screaming from a movie file for once.
We’ll reserve final opinion until after we hear more about how easy the process is, and just what “DRM-free” really means to a movie studio, but here’s how Hollywood Reporter describes the process:
To utilize the Digital Copy feature, consumers can insert Disc 2 of the “Live Free” DVD into their computer. A menu will pop up, giving users the choice of either executing the Digital Copy application or launching the DVD special features. If the Digital Copy application is selected, the computer will verify the proper requirements and ask the user to enter a 16-digit serial code, found inside the DVD case. After selecting a destination — either the computer’s hard drive or a connected PlaysForSure video player — the transfer will begin, and the program will be ready for playback after about five minutes.
Not to be outdone, Warner Video is also planning on releasing the latest Harry Potter movie this way later this fall.