Warner Bros. DVD’s ‘Digital Copy’ excludes Mac, iPod users (but, you still get to pay for it)

The Special Edition DVD of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” and other DVDs from Warner Bros. include something they call “Digital Copy” which is a Windows Media-compatible copy of a movie which can be quickly and legally transferred from a purchased DVD to a Windows PC or “PlaysForSure” portable media device.

MacDailyNews Take: If you are a Mac and/or iPod user, it seems highly likely that you are paying Warner Bros. for this useless feature.

Warner Bros. Websites states that to use Digital Copy, you will need a PC running Windows XP or Windows Vista, Windows Media Player 10 or above, a DVD-ROM drive, Internet Explorer, version 6 or higher, and an Internet connection. No downloading is required but you’ll need to connect to the Internet the first time you run the disc to enter a special code to get your copy of the movie.

Warner Bros. is interested in hearing feedback regarding “Digital Copy.” You can rate your Digital Copy experience, let Warner know if you’d like this feature on other DVDs, and share any additional comments you might have here.


  1. I am a big fan of bundling a legal digital version with the physical DVD purchase, but not supporting iPods is just INSANE. It’s the #1 video player on the planet!

    They can argue that this will work for people’s PCs, but no one wants digital content there — they want it on their TV or their portable device (a.k.a. iPod). If someone wants to watch it on their PC, they can just pop in the DVD (which works on any computer instead of just Windows machines)!

    I wrote them:

    Since it does not work on Macs or iPods, it is utterly useless. I had planned to buy the new Harry Potter DVD, but I’m not paying extra for this kind useless stuff. Now I will wait six months until the disc is in the clearance bin at Wal-Mart to buy.

    You have killed a great idea.

    A better solution: talk to Apple and include a code with the DVD that will allow the user to download the movie for free off of iTunes. That would be far more popular — you could probably sell the DVD at a premium, too. I’d know I’d pay a few dollars more.

  2. I’m sure whoever is reviewing the incoming mailbox (or database) at Warner, is deleting all the bitchy, nasty comments before compiling the rest for the bosses. Bitchy/nasty comments will be disregarded. What we need to do is write comments that make sense. They all already know Mac heads are a cult and they scream bloody murder at anything anti-Mac. Therefore, if we wrote comments pretending to be Windows users and iPod owners (I know it’s a bit of a stretch, but it’s worth it), we would then come across as representatives of a mainstream (for now) majority. They would not ignore that.

    This is not about neglecting Mac (everyone does that). For Warner, someone could argue that it’s not worth catering to the Mac crowd. However, 100 million iPod owners is not the same as 20 million Mac owners. That would make a statement.

    Having said all this, Warner only has two realistic choices: either ignore iPod owners, or ignore everyone and just pull this content. Apple will never release FairPlay to others. Warner absolutely wants DRM on these files. Since PlayForSure is the only thing out there that will do what Warner wants, it was the only choice. Let’s see how short-lived this initiative will be.

  3. Basically this “Special Edition” DVD works only for people who want to watch the movie on their Windows PCs. Sure, I can transfer it to a PlaysForSure device, but who the hell has one of those? Are there any which play movies?

    And can any be described without using the word “beleaguered”?

  4. @JimO (and others)

    Have you thought for a second that perhaps Apple does not want a Fairplay version to be included on physical discs because (as mentioned above,) it would be direct competition to the iTunes store.

    For all we know Warner approached Apple and could’ve been given a big fat NO WAY by Jobs. It doesn’t seem like an Apple move.

    Furthermore, if Apple is indeed working with the major studios for an iTunes rental service, there is no way he’d want iTunes friendly formats to be included in physical discs.

    Steve wants physical media dead.

  5. zmarc:

    That’s probably the best solution (why didn’t I think of that!). Make it available on iTunes (for free with the coupon)!

    We should all write something like that. Put a bit more pressure on studios to understand that Apple is their only salvation.

  6. @Predrag,

    Actually, I can’t see zmarc’s idea working at all.. Could you imagine music CD’s coming with a coupon to download a free copy on iTunes? Of course not! Why? Because Apple wants you to buy music directly from the iTunes store.. Just like they want you to purchase/rent movies directly from the iTunes store.

    There’s a lot of slamming Warner going on for this move, but It just makes no sense for Apple/Jobs to contribute in any way towards the purchasing of physical media.

  7. Guys – I wouldn’t send any company a message saying you would be ripping their DVD content without buying said article. Because you may be getting a visit from our friends at the MPAA or whatever it’s called.

  8. “When I first heard of this technology I was quite interested, and was looking forward to viewing purchased DVD’s on my home computer and portable devices. However, upon further inspection, your “Digital Copy” technology requires Microsoft Windows and a “Plays for Sure” device. Too bad, because I guarantee that I would have purchased Harry Potter this holiday season otherwise. I can’t use your “Digital Copy” service because, like ~100 million other people, I have a Mac and an iPod. Instead of purchasing your product, I’ll be boycotting Warner Brothers products this holiday season, and encouraging everyone else I know to do the same. It won’t be hard either; the vast majority of people I know own iPods too. Try again WB, ignoring the largest installed base of media players on the planet can’t be that good for business.”


  9. If they would simply use H264 it would work for everyone…I imagine there is more to this then we will ever know. It makes no sense for WB to support WMV unless there is some kind of motivation coming from somewhere.

  10. I’m curious whether Flip4Mac would allow you to play that file.

    Otherwise, just don’t buy the Special Edition DVD. Or wait till it shows up used and cheap at Movie Stop. Hollywood must hate that store. I buy virtually all my movies there for $10 or less.

  11. doesn’t work on my macbook or ipod, i sometimes watch videos on the subway and i watch movies on my macbook. my girlfriend has a pc with vista and its compitable with that?! thats dumb. nobody likes vista, ive used windows since i was 11. and i hate vista, its why i went to mac. now u want to hold back technology to one system?! i bought the movie for this very feature. now im returning it for its flaws, even if i only get store credit.

    i posted that to wb.
    ill be honest. only maybe 1% that is true.
    ive used windows since 11, true.
    i hate vista, true.
    nobody likes vista…opinion.

  12. @MikeK

    You are right on. There’s not a chance Apple would allow a free coupon or include a fairplay file with the purchase of a physical DVD.

    Why would Apple want to strengthen the value of physical media sales when Apple’s future plans are clearly dependent on digital media.

    Most of you are directing your anger towards the wrong source. Apple’s philosophy with the iTunes store is a replacement to physical media not “in addition to.”

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