By Harry McCracken | Monday, September 8, 2008 at 4:06 pm
I blogged about Real’s RealDVD ripping software last night, and now the company has done its demo here at DEMO. The basics are as I mentioned last night: It’s legal, runs on Windows, costs $30, retains copy protection and lets you watch DVDs on up to five PCs but not iPods or other devices.
The most important new news in the DEMO was a look at the interface, which looks nice: Like a program such as iTunes does for CDs, RealDVD identifies your movies when you insert a disc and downloads a box image and movie details. You can browse your movie collection via those box images.
Real says you can store movies on an external drive or thumb drive, and the software will notice that you’ve attached the drive and show the movies on it. I’m not sure if you can store movies on a networked drive, but I’m not sure why you couldn’t.
Oh, RealDVD copies preserve menus and bonus materials, and you can record a movie to your hard drive at the same time you’re watching it.
RealDVD looks like it does a nice job of what it sets out to do, which is let folks copy and watch DVDs in a way that’s simple and designed to avoid being sued into oblivion. That doesn’t mean that Hollywood won’t sue Real over RealDVD–I can’t imagine that content owners are thrilled by the idea, since they’d much rather sell you all the movies you already paid for as digital downloads.
I also suspect that folks who use existing DVD rippers will sneer at the idea of paying for an application that retains copy protection and therefore lets you do less with your ripped DVDs. But Real is presumably hoping to sell RealDVD to large numbers of consumers who don’t know about existing tools, find them intimidating, or–hey, here’s a novel thought–stay legal.
I think the software might do quite well with that audience, and I’ll give you more impressions once I’ve had a chance to try it…