By now you’ve likely seen the commercials for “DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital Copy” combo packs for movies. It almost sounds like the people making it finally understand, that the digital version is as important as the physical one.
Don’t be fooled – the digital copy is still just an extra to them, doesn’t work every time, and doesn’t come on a data disc for you to store. You’re still better off just getting it from iTunes, or finding a decent DVD ripping tool to make a copy of your own.
When Inception was released last week, I jumped at the chance to have three separate copies of it. DVD for now, the Blu-Ray for when I am eventually forced to get a player, and the Digital Copy for my laptop, or PSP, or iPod, or whatever I happen to have on me when I travel.
These commercials insinuate that the Digital Copy comes on a disc of it’s own, but this isn’t the case. You get a code and a website. When you go to the website, you must download their downloading program, insert the code, and let it download to your machine.
When I tried this though, the results were mixed, to put it kindly. The iTunes version (.mov) would not load. Okay, on to Windows. (AVI.) The large version failed to download. I tried the portable version, which worked, but then the code stopped working – so I couldn’t get the larger, more crisp version of the file.
So why don’t they simply have a digital copy on a data disc, like their commercials suggest? Because this is the film industry’s own version of DRM (digital rights management) for their films. They know people aren’t just watching movies on their TVs anymore, but they’re scared to death of consumers sharing around their homemade digital copies of films. This solution with codes and websites means people have the opportunity to do this, but without a physical disc they can pass around.
The problem with that is I paid for the movie – so I should be allowed to do with it what I want.
The film industry sees things a bit differently. They believe they ALWAYS own the content – we just buy the little plastic disc on which to watch it.
This is why there are so many hurdles to jump in order to get a Digital Copy to work. I’ve been working with media files for years, so I have a bit of a leg up trying to get this stuff to work. The average consumer doesn’t, and would likely have given up early in the chase for a copy to play on their iPhone.
If you want a personal, travel-able copy, don’t bother with these combo packs. They still think of the Digital Copy as an afterthought, not something that needs to work spot-on every time.
Epilogue: In the end, I did not make my own digital copy of Inception. I did not use a program called DVD Decrytor to get the files off the disc, and I most certainly did not use another program called HandBrake (handbrake.com) to recompile these files into a video file I can play on any machine I feel like. I didn’t because it is illegal to do this with something I bought and own. So I didn’t.