updated 02:45 pm EDT, Wed October 10, 2007
Warner Portable Video DVD
Warner Home Video today used the DVD Forum conference in California to announce the the first DVD to explicitly provide multiple formatted versions of the same video on a single disc. The release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on December 11th will include both the full-size DVD video as well as separate copies for playback on computers and on portable media players. Doing so will let viewers officially transfer copies to their computers without having to discover and use a DVD ripper or else buy a separate copy at an online store. It should also future-proof the release for users who abandon dedicated DVD players, said Warner senior VP Jim Wuthrich.
No mention was made of which format will be used for the digital copies, though Warner has traditionally resisted unprotcted media and so is likely to opt for a readily available copy protection scheme such as the optional DRM embedded into Windows Media Video files. Such a move would all but lock out non-Windows users as Microsoft has so far declined to port the format to other platforms or to other programs besides Windows Media Player.
Wuthrich also noted that his studios and others were soon to begin using a legal form of DVD burning on demand that would bridge the gap between in-store buying and downloading. Developed last year, the technique can legally burn a DVD while applying the same CSS copy protection as a retail disc to prevent bootleg copies; viewers can visit a retail shop knowing they can get a physical copy of a movie without having to first check the store's stock, the Warner executive said. Although the new buying option will be available primarily in drugstores and other outlets where companies can rarely offer a large catalog, future releases would not be platform-specific and would let Macs, Windows PCs, as well as Internet-connected DVD or HD recorders produce a physical backup copy of a movie alongside a digital download.