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Links 09/12/2008

September 12, 2008
  • They’d better look fast. Not because RealDVD represents any kind of meaningful technical breakthrough; any number of software programs have been available online for years–many free–that will do what RealDVD does without tethering the copy to a particular hard drive. But because it represents a widening crack in the CSS licensing system that has long held together the DVD ecosystem and was responsible for much of the format’s success.

    tags: standards

  • The RealDVD announcement this week is big news, in that the software’s DRM might actually convince Hollywood to let ordinary people back up their DVDs to their hard drives. Unfortunately, the resulting movie files are locked up tighter than Hannibal Lecter; you can play them on up to five licensed PCs, but you can’t watch them on your iPod or other device. As such, RealDVD doesn’t really give users what they want: a way to put their purchased movies on their PCs and move them to iPods, iPhones, PSPs, and network-attached devices. (PC Mag Editor-in-Chief Lance Ulanoff griped about this last year.)

    tags: standards

  • As a technical matter, RealNetworks’ RealDVD does nothing you couldn’t already do using AnyDVD or one of the many other DVD rippers widely available online. In fact as many commentators have pointed out, it does less: The copy it makes is tethered to a particular hard drive or designated storage device and cannot be recopied or reformatted. By virtue of Real’s market profile and familiarity among consumers, however, RealDVD is doing something AnyDVD could never do: planting the idea firmly in mainstream conciousness that copying encrypted DVDs is legal, at least the ones you own.

    tags: standards

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