RealNetworks, makers of RealPlayer and the company that brought you the Rhapsody subscription music service are expected to announced a new product called RealDVD today
. What's RealDVD? It's a DVD ripper. But unlike most DVD rippers available today, RealDVD makes a complete copy of a disc right down to the menus, alternate audio tracks, and special features. Oh yeah, and the software only lets you play that copy on a single computer thanks to some heavy-handed DRM.
There is a way around this restriction. You can transfer the file to up to 5 additional Windows PCs by purchasing up to 5 additional software licenses at $20 a pop. The first license will cost you around $30.
Of course, there are plenty of other applications that let you rip movies for free. And they don't add DRM. A few of my favorites are:
Technically it's illegal to use the aforementioned apps to rip commercial DVDs. But if you plan to make a backup of your movie collection for viewing on your PC and don't plan to distribute those movies on the internet, odds are nobody will come banging down your door. And you don't need to pay $20 if you buy a new computer and want to move your collection from one PC to the next.