iTunes: Redeeming DVD Digital Movies

| TMO Quick Tip

It's pretty easy to find DVD movies that include digital copies you can play on your computer or iPod, but there's a couple of hoops you need to jump through before you can get the electronic version of latest blockbuster on your hard drive. Unfortunately, the digital version of the movie isn't actually on the DVD disc you just bought, but with a little help from a fast Internet connection, it won't take long before you can start watching the opening credits.

Enter your DVD movie redemption code in iTunes.

Here's how to download digital movies that come with DVD and Blu-ray discs:

  • Insert the DVD movie disc in your Mac.
  • iTunes will launch and display a digital movie redemption page.
  • Enter your movie's digital copy authorization code. You can typically find it on an insert in the movie's case.
  • Click Redeem.

iTunes shows how much of your download is left.

Once the movie finishes downloading, you can watch it in iTunes or on your Apple TV, and you can transfer it to your iPod or iPhone, too. Of course, tools like HandBrake make it easy to copy any movie to your hard drive, but for those discs that include electronic versions, you're just a couple of mouse clicks away from an iTunes Store download.

Comments

Spider

Interesting you show Star Trek (2009), Jeff.

The copy I purchased (3 disc SE from Target) had the movie on the digital copy disc itself, for both Windows and Mac iTunes. The method for getting it into iTunes was a bit more involved then above.

You had to dig into the disc, find the .dmg, mount it, double click the app on there to open iTunes, input code, then it would transfer over. A bit much in my opinion.

The one thing I am hating on: I bought the Blu-ray version of the movie, why do I only get an SD copy of the film for the digital copy? I obviously purchased the Blu-ray for the best picture quality available, then I get saddled with an SD version of the film even though an HD version is right there for purchase on iTunes itself.

I have noticed this being a trend with digital copy on Blu-rays: you get the HD on the Blu-ray, but SD for the digital copy.

Hopefully this trend reverses and quickly. There are times I would rather watch a digital copy through my iTunes while working (HD monitor) and would like the clarity.

rsimonis

Jeff,
I have to disagree with your statement that the digital copy isn’t on the DVD.  My Blu-Ray copy of Star Trek (title shown in the article) has a DVD-ROM that DOES have the file contained on it.  If fact it has not only an iTunes file but also the Windows Media version.  Several other titles with the digital copy also contain the actual file on the disc.  This may or may not be the case with all titles but so far I’ve not seen iTunes “download” anything from the Internet when obtaining the digital copy.

Josh

Notice that he says “DVD” in the article, not “Blueray disc.”  Blueray has more than enough space to hold several copies of the film at different levels of compression and in different formats.  Traditional DVD’s do not, so you need to redeem them through the iTunes website. 

Blueray is gaining in popularity, but I doubt that they sell more blueray copies of any particular movie than DVD copies.

Spider

Notice that he says ?DVD? in the article, not ?Blueray disc.?? Blueray has more than enough space to hold several copies of the film at different levels of compression and in different formats.? Traditional DVD?s do not, so you need to redeem them through the iTunes website.?

Yes, but the digital copy that comes with a Blu-ray is on a DVD, otherwise how would the majority of users be able to put that disc into their machines and copy it over to their iTunes when Blu-ray is not the standard disc drive on computers?

Otherwise it would be as stated in the article, a download from the iTunes Store. Yet then, why even have a digital disc at that point?

vasic

The one thing I am hating on: I bought the Blu-ray version of the movie, why do I only get an SD copy of the film for the digital copy? I obviously purchased the Blu-ray for the best picture quality available, then I get saddled with an SD version of the film even though an HD version is right there for purchase on iTunes itself.

Just stick that Blu-ray movie into the Blu-ray drive on your computer and play it right there. Oh, you have a Mac? Well, then talk to Steve Jobs.

Studios and Steve Jobs are in this struggle over the validity of draconian DRM in Blu-ray. Jobs purposely refuses to put Blu-ray playback into Mac OS, because it requires digging deep into the hardware in order to respect all DRM requirements, which can severely degrade OS performance, and unnecessarily complicate everything. Studios have no reason to appease him by providing his customers with playback solution for HD Blu-ray discs that completely bypasses all the DRM they fought for so hard. Besides, that digital copy in HD that you’re asking for would be fairly large (by necessity, if it is to be 1080p), on the order of several GB, which makes it an automatic candidate for the Blu-ray disc itself, which Mac users can’t read anyway, unless they buy an external Blu-ray drive.

The purpose of the digital copy is to provide a much smaller file for playback on portable devices, which by design have a (fairly) low-resolution display. So, you have HD (Blu-ray), SD (DVD) and digital file (iPhone) versions in one package. Adding to that an alternative version of HD would be pointless.

Spider

Before I started having internet connection issues (stupid comcast) I was trying to append this to my previous post:


As well, the size of an HD movie isn’t prohibitive of putting it on a DVD-9. Depending upon the length of said movie a WMV and MP4 version can be placed on the DVD-9, while if longer there is no need for a WMV version since if you have iTunes you have Quicktime and can play the MP4 version.

The purpose of the digital copy is to provide a much smaller file for playback on portable devices, which by design have a (fairly) low-resolution display. So, you have HD (Blu-ray), SD (DVD) and digital file (iPhone) versions in one package. Adding to that an alternative version of HD would be pointless.

Tell that to AppleTV, which does play HD.

You aren’t going to get 1080p through AppleTV, but the ability to play HD through AppleTV and get an HD quality picture negates the digital copy SD version.

What I am saying is that if I spend the money on the Blu-ray version I should get an HD digital copy version. Within the scope of the iTMS when you buy an HD version (if you haven’t changed default settings) you also get an SD version, which then can be used for the iPhone/iPod, wherein the HD version is used for computer (desktop/laptop) and AppleTV.

Spider

Just stick that Blu-ray movie into the Blu-ray drive on your computer and play it right there. Oh, you have a Mac? Well, then talk to Steve Jobs.

As a point, Blu-ray isn’t standard across the board for WinPCs as of yet either.

This isn’t about the majority of PCs being sold now, but the majority of computers out there in use at the moment. Without hard data I would suggest that the percentage of PCs (including Macs with third-party add-ons) with Blu-ray drives, in the consumer sector, would equal perhaps at most 1% of the in use computers.

vasic

I would suggest that the percentage of PCs (including Macs with third-party add-ons) with Blu-ray drives, in the consumer sector, would equal perhaps at most 1% of the in use computers.

My guess would be that the number is somewhat higher (perhaps 10%), considering the much shorter life span of Win PCs, but the point is most likely valid.

However, the point is still irrelevant. As I said, movie studios have fought very, very hard to develop ironclad DRM for their HD content. SD DVDs are trivially easy to decrypt and copy, which explains why studios have given up on guarding it as fiercely. When you buy a Blu-ray movie, usually, you get both Blu-ray disc, as well as DVD version. It is these kind of packages that contain the digital copy. From movie studio’s point of view, when you bought this, they gave you a HD version of the movie, a SD version of the movie, and a portable, unencrypted low-res version of the movie. In their view, they have been very generous, giving you three things for the price of one. To expect another multi-GB file on these discs, just so that few of those who buy this package could watch it in HD on their computers, is unrealistic.

As much as your needs (an requests) may seem valid, it just doesn’t make much sense for a studio to do this. Again, this has everything to do with DRM. Blu-ray format is the result of years of arm-wrestling matches over DRM. There is no way studios are going to just circumvent it by providing unencrypted HD files just like that.

Within the scope of the iTMS when you buy an HD version (if you haven?t changed default settings) you also get an SD version, which then can be used for the iPhone/iPod, wherein the HD version is used for computer (desktop/laptop) and AppleTV.

And that is precisely at the core of the battle between Jobs and the studios. Digital downloads, with minimal, out-of-the-way DRM (and fighting on to totally eliminate that DRM), vs. physical media with draconian DRM (and fighting tooth and nail to fortify even further that DRM).

vasic

...the ability to play HD through AppleTV and get an HD quality picture negates the digital copy SD version.

No, it doesn’t. AppleTV has no issues with SD playback. It may not be 720p HD, but it will play back without problems. You just won’t get 720p, but 480p. Studio’s view on this is: “We have you solution for all your devices (iPods, Zunes, AppleTV or other set-top playback boxes, DVD players and Blu-ray players). If you want HD, it’s Blu-ray or the highway.”

William

One thing that is not being metioned, is that the digitial version of some, don’t know about all, movies that are included on the DVD or through itunes are region locked.

I am an Australian citizen, living and working in the USA, I am an Australian iTunes account. I purchased ‘Wanted” here in the US, looking to see how the supplied/downloaded digital copy worked etc. Everything worked fine until I entered the redeem code. ‘You are not authorised for this region” What the I thought. They have region locked the MP4 file. Don’t know how many people were aware of this? I would just as happy being able to purchase a DVD that just as a digital copy on it. I still get the backup on the DVD, but the movie is on my computer!!

Why isn’t the MP4 version through iTunes cheaper? You aren’t getting all the extra stuff that is standard when you buy the physical version? Protective cover, physical DVD, extras that my fit on a single disc etc

vasic

Did you actually get to download that MP4 file? Is that how you know it is locked? Or is it just that you weren’t allowed to download a file that was offered only on the US market using a non-US iTunes account?

In iTunes store, you aren’t allowed to redeem purchasing codes (or gift certificates) sold/offered for one specific market using an iTunes account from another market. The world is still a very segmented market place. Not to mention that the licensing agreements with studios are done individually for each country, based on the local IP and copyright laws.

konstantine

where is the insert code found on a blu ray case?? please help

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marah

A friend has lent me a DVD but they no longer have the redeem code. how do I just watch the movie- I don’t care about downloading it to my itunes. I just want to watch it like a regular DVD. is this possible?
thanks,
Marh

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