iTunes Digital Copy is a new feature included with selected movies. When you buy one of these videos on DVD or Blu-ray, you'll also get a version of the movie that's compatible with iTunes and Apple's associated media players.

iTunes movie rentals grabbed the limelight, but that service wasn't the only digital-media announcement to come out of Steve Jobs' Macworld Expo keynote last week. Overshadowed by the news that users could download iTunes rentals from all of the major movie studios was an announcement made by 20th Century Fox chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulous when he joined Jobs on stage - another Fox-Apple collaboration called iTunes Digital Copy.

iTunes Digital Copy is a new feature included with selected movies. When you buy one of these videos on DVD or Blu-ray, you'll also get a version of the movie that's compatible with iTunes and Apple's associated media players.

The result? You'll no longer need to use time-consuming - and legally questionable - methods, such as ripping your own DVDs using HandBrake, to be able to watch your movies on your iPod, iPhone, or Apple TV. With Digital Copy, you'll have an iTunes-compatible version right out of the box.

Although Apple hopes other movie studios latch on to iTunes Digital Copy, Fox is the only one participating right now - and with only one specific movie at the time of this writing. And right now, only in the US. We plunked down $12.99 for a copy of 'Family Guy Presents: Blue Harvest', marked with a sticker advertising that it included the bonus Digital Copy.

Getting started

Movies with an iTunes Digital Copy - called just Digital Copy on the packaging - actually include two discs: one for the DVD or Blu-ray copy of the movie and one for the Digital Copy. When you insert the latter into your PC, the disc brings up a program that lets you chose whether to transfer the Digital Copy to the Windows version of iTunes or Windows Media Player. If you choose the latter, you'll then see a screen where you choose to which device it should be transferred: your computer or a connected Windows Media-compatible media player.

iTunes launches, and the Blue Harvest disc appears in the Devices section of iTunes' Source List. If iTunes was already open, you don't even need to double-click the icon on the disc; just switch to iTunes. Clicking on the disc in the Source List shows you a screen - new to iTunes - containing the movie banner, instructions for using the disc, an Enter Code field, and the iTunes terms of use for the video.

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