RealNetworks: Rip those DVDs (with a dash of DRM)

RealNetworks: Rip those DVDs (with a dash of DRM)

Summary: RealNetworks on Monday launched RealDVD, an application that allows you to rip DVDs to your hard drive with limits set by digital rights management software. The company announced the software along with the opening of DemoFall in San Diego.


RealNetworks on Monday launched RealDVD, an application that allows you to rip DVDs to your hard drive with limits set by digital rights management software. The company announced the software along with the opening of DemoFall in San Diego.

realdvd.pngRealDVD (Techmeme, statement, site) is supposed to make it easy to save DVDs to a PC or portable hard drive in a way that satisfies the entertainment industry and its concerns about piracy. That's short hand for saying that RealDVD preserves the encryption that limits you from distributing the content widely and uses digital rights management software, or DRM. DRM puts limits on what you can do with content. Consumers can get RealDVD for $29.99 on sale (it'll run you $49.99 usually). Additional licenses will run you $19.99.

RealNetworks is hoping that its software puts the company in the center of your desktop. If you begin digitizing your DVD library via RealDVD RealNetworks could create a decent halo effect for RealPlayer 11 and the music service Rhapsody. I might be exhibit A: I avoid RealPlayer in general, but would certainly give RealDVD a spin.

Among the key points about RealDVD:

  • The software saves an exact copy of the DVD (it takes 10 to 40 minutes and 4 to 8 GBs) and you can watch and save a DVD at the same time;
  • The DVDs you rip are encrypted so they can't be shared or stolen;
  • The ripped DVDs can be saved on a portable hard drive and played on 5 PCs with a copy of RealDVD;
  • Watching a ripped DVD will save on battery power.

The catch: You're limited to 5 licenses for RealDVD and Real Networks tethers your ripped DVD to its software and only a handful of machines. In other words, there's a serious digital rights management component to RealDVD. That said RealDVD's DRM model is similar to the limits that Apple deploys with iTunes. The big question is whether RealDVD's user interface will be easy enough to allow folks to overlook the DRM worries.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Security

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  • Scam for your money


    Since most companies are going Media Center
    style, this is a stand alone product.

    Facts do not say anything about HD resolution.

    Only thing this would be good for is laptops and travel. Buying licenses for multiple pc's is not my idea of relaxing while watching a DVD on a small screen.

    If they are going to offer this then they better make it media center compatible and or Windows Home Server compatible with the extender option, that way you can watch it on a Big Screen and your PC's.

    RealNetworks has Good Idea but limited usage.
  • Can you rip to a Windows Home Server for network viewing?

    If not, what's the point?
  • pointless

    This solution is no more legal than anydvd/clonedvd. You circumvent CSC protection, evn if real add new DRM behind the scene you still have ripped DRM from original copy. You DMCA forbid standard DVD ripping, it will also forbid this one. Even If Real obtained agreement from the majors, they cannot change the sales done without real as a party, even to the benefice of buyers, that simply doesn't work that way. They can say eal is immune from prosecution, that that doesn't make it leagal. As a result better use a technique that is as legal as that one, but that give you the opportunity to watch ripped DVD with your dvd player on your tv set.
  • Just another money maker

    for Real. Who has a reputation of shadey practicies. Especially the concept of paying them another $20 a rip? You could almost buy a new DVD for that!

    I'll just rip DVDs and strip the DRM off. Then I can back it up right, and play it where I want. Doesn't mean I'm going to share it but if I pay $20 - 30 for a DVD it's because it's worth it (Thnk LOTR), and I want it to last.

    - Kc
  • RE: RealNetworks: Rip those DVDs (with a dash of DRM)

    My solution for DRM - charge such a low price that it would not be economicaly feasible to create pirated copies.

    Sell DVD movies @ $5.00 - $8.00 per copy. Who would want to waste an hour downloading/ripping a movie when you can buy one this cheap.

    The lower price would more than be made up by the increase in units sold.
  • Where have I seen this before

    Oh, right. Telestream just released this EXACT SAME PRODUCT last week. It's funny how things work. Their app, Drive-In, has been in beta for a while, and now that their app comes out Real has to go and completely steal their idea. You can see it for yourself:
  • lame RealNetworks gimmick

    There are many tools that do real ripping for free.
    Hey, Real let's get 'real'!
    All you want is to colllect an ignorance tax and push your crapware on the desktop.
    Linux Geek
  • DVD ripping

    dvd ripping has always been gray-area for piracy. That's why you won't find the software in a brick-and-mortar store. It's one of the only things that has never been ruled upon in piracy lawsuits... so called "digital backups"

    One camp (people/pirates) pitch it as a valid way to make sure that even if they lost their DVD they don't lose the movie. I've also seen these "digital backups" used to create media servers with hundreds of movies on them so that you never have to change disks again.

    The other camp (RIAA, MPAA, et. al.) claim these "digital backups" are unathorized copies of their copyrighted material, and that the "backup" is really only going to be used for distribution.

    Both camps are right. It does technically violate the copyright (Real barely won the right to release this software to the public in a court battle). But it is a great way to simplify watching a movie.

    Real is trying to fill the valid-semi-legal portion of the first camp. People who really do want to back-up their DVDs, and just hook up a basic computer to their TV instead of switching movies. This won't HURT anybody, but it WILL help the average person.

    I'll stick with "Magic DVD Ripper" for DRM-free content, and the joy of having exactly zero Real products on my computers (and all the crap-ware that comes with)... But for the average person, RealDVD will be great if only for simplicity and a pretty interface.
  • Real is smoking crack

    There are too many ways to rip a DVD for free
    (DVDFab, anyone?) to make a sensible person want to buy this. If said sensible person is really copying for legitimate reasons then they don't need to pay Real Networks for the privilege. If they aren't, they REALLY don't need Real Networks...
  • This is ridiculous ...

    I can already make an exact copy of the DVD including all of the menus and extra content to an ISO file, then play the file directly from my hard drive or MythTV server.

    So tell me why do I need this product again? ;)