On Twitter, Jim Louderback @louderb pointed out that RealNetworks released a controversial new product called RealDVD. What is RealDVD? It will copy your dvd movie, bit for bit, on to your harddrive with the CSS encryption intact. For your enjoyment, it slaps on a DRM scheme as the dvd is being transferred to your computer. That’s 4GB to 9GB of space taken up by a single movie.
Does this mean you can take the dvd copy you made and put it on your iPod or video player? Nope. The iPod and most portable mp4 players have no way to interpret the dvd copy. So, what can you do with the dvd copy made by RealDVD? Well, you can play it on your computer and possibly burn it to a dvd blank. You can even play it on up to 4 other computers. Forget about copying to other people even if you are able to strip the DRM, the dvd copy is watermarked with your information.
There are several FREE programs that will allow you to copy a dvd movie, bit for bit, without the DRM being added. There are others, such as Handbreak, that will even rip the dvd and present you with a file ready to be uploaded to your iPod.
At this point, RealDVD doesn’t appear to be of any real value for us. It does bring a lot of attention on to RealNetworks though. Makes me wonder if this is nothing more than a marketing ploy.
The only way the MPAA will sanction this will be as direct competition to the iTunes movie Store.