Release Date: September 23, 2008.
Anywhere is Possible with Easy, Fast, Safe Film Transfer To Portable Devices
In 2008, Fox Home Entertainment has taken their DVD and Blu-ray releases one step further to give consumer the flexibility of enjoying their favourite movies anywhere at any time. With Fox Digital Copy, consumers can have a quick and easy transfer of a digital movie file. No more hunting over the internet for a movie file. No more long waits during downloads. No more unknown and questionable picture and sound quality. With Digital Copy, one can take the movie file from disc to desktop to portable device.
Fox has been packaging a Digital Copy with select Blu-ray disc releases (see top for all current and new titles from Fox). The keepcase had the 1080p HD BD as well as a DVD containing the digital copy. Proving to be very popular, now Fox is adding Digital Copy to 20 best selling DVDs as the first wave of releases. I think this is a great packaging strategy as it allows the consumer to be flexible with their media needs. Have you a long commute to school or work? Do you teenagers feel the need to take your favourite movies on the go in your portable game devices? Take the Digital Copy disc and you’ll find it quick and painless.
Using it is easy. First it’s good to know that Digital Copy is designed for both PC and Mac computers. It’s also compatible with Apple iPod, iPhone, widescreen TVs with Apple TV, and Windows Media based portable video players. You can put the file into your iTunes digital library. I put the DVD containing the Digital Copy in my computer’s DVD drive and window of the film comes on screen prompting me to “Transfer Digital Copy” “Quit” or “Help”. Being curious, I clicked on “Help” first and was taken to Fox’s website Fox Digital Copy where the homepage shows just how easy it is to insert, transfer, and go. The website also gives some support, FAQs, as well as a list of titles Digital Copy available.
Back to the transfer: I had different experiences with iTunes and Windows Media options. I clicked on the “Transfer Digital Copy” and was first asked if I want to transfer it to iTunes for Apple devices or Window Media player for their compatible devices. As a first time user, the Windows Media option was the easiest. At first I was told to upgrade my windows DRM and I was quickly linked to a Microsoft Upgrade page and the upgrade was quickly installed. When that was over, it asked me to type in the serial number (found on an insert inside of the keepcase), select the folder I want to put it in, and then transfer. The WM file is just over a GB and I can send it to any portable device and play it to my heart’s content. My installation experience using Windows gets 5/5.
But since I use iTunes for streaming music that I don’t seem listen to anywhere else, I selected that. My iTunes came up on the screen, but not the prompt for the key. I wanted to see what the deal was with iTunes. After taking about 15 upgrading my iTunes to the newest 8.0 version (ok, maybe it wasn’t that long but it certainly felt like it) I took another crack at it. Still, the same thing happened. Now I’m not completely computer dumb but kind enough to look out for those who might need every step by step instruction for the first time, I will say that you need to look at the left hand toolbar on your iTunes screen. Here you will see the movie title listed under “devices”. Click on that once and then success! (none of this is mentioned on the insert) You will see an “allowance screen” asking you for the serial number so you can “redeem” your digital copy. A little different from what I saw with windows, but I proceeded to input the code.
The code is found on an insert inside the BD/DVD package. Once typed, in my case I saw “Accessing iTunes store”. I don’t have an iTunes account, so I was then prompted to create one. Hmmm…ok so from here I was asked to supply my personal information…since I don’t plan on buying anything, why should I? But then, I am creating an account, so this is the normal routine (If I read the fine print at the bottom of the leaflet, I would have known this). I was also prompted to fill out credit card info too. What?? To access my free movie?? Now way! Thankfully I saw a “none” option, but it was put to the side of the screen in such a way that it I felt like it was almost mandatory to fill out credit card info.
Proceeding with my personal information in order to continue with the account (although mine gave me an error notification when creating it), I shut the program down and tried again. This time it went without a hitch and my account was ok. All that was now required was my password and I began redeeming my movie.
Here is the link to the steps you need to take: Transferring video from DVDs with iTunes Digital Copy Too bad I didn’t have this info before hand or I would have found it less frustrating as a first-timer!
So the movie was finally downloaded…but I had to authorise it through my iTunes account to play it back. iTunes will also only allow it to play on 5 computers, but I guess that’s enough, right?
My total iTunes installation experience gets a 3.5/5 since I seemed to have had quite a few errors on my PC just getting it to work (problems upgrading iTunes and the account), but maybe, just maybe, if I had done this on a Mac and had an account already, it would have been a breeze and I could have given it a 5/5 too.
IN THE END...
The video quality seems to be the same on both iTunes and Windows. It is acceptable quality on a computer and portable devices, although it is not intended for large screens. It is free from compression artefacts, etc. so in the end it looks much cleaner than the mess I usually see from compressing DVD-9s to DVD-5s and the garbage I’ve seen downloaded online. The transfer took me less than 1 minute on my computer, and my time is very valuable.
One caveat: the digital downloads may have an expirey date of up to one year from release date. On all of the digital download leaflets I have, they all give an expirey date of some sort with the words "may expire." Sounds a bit wishy-washy to me and I think any expirey date is a bad idea. I, for one, do not need a digital download at this time. But, as a consumer who purchased the product with a digital download, I "may" own a portable video device in two years and I may use it. So am I SoL in two years? At this time it appears so. ...and what about product that sits on store shelves for a year? What happens when a consumer buys the title for the digital copy only to find the leaflet serial number expired? We all know there are no returns on opened software. So what then? I hope Fox will reconsider keeping the downloads accessible for the years ahead even if they have to invest on their side just to keep those serial codes active.
As I look into the future, I can see many DVD and BD releases being released with a Digital Copy. It would be foolish not to since portable media has become a part of life for many and is only getting more popular and demanding with each younger generation. When purchasing a title with Digital Copy you get the high rez HD BD or the SD DVD as well as the files for portable devices. I would hate to see the world move to downloading movies as the only option. I prefer physical media with the option for a digital copy. This is accommodates people with both interests and keeps the consumer and the movie studios satisfied with the product and its uses.
September 14, 2008.
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