Updated at 1:50 p.m. PDT with more details.
SAN DIEGO--Imagine storing all your DVDs onto your computer like you do now with music CDs.
RealNetworks launched new software called RealDVD that lets people save DVDs to their PCs and create film libraries for watching any time, without needing the disc.
RealDVD, unveiled Monday here at DemoFall, saves an exact copy of the DVD and puts it on the PC, a USB hard drive, or thumb flash drive. For people who have very large DVD libraries, the software saves the DVDs to external hard drives.
It allows people to save the box cover art and special features, as well as sort the collection by genre, rating, or actor and set parental controls. Users can also save a DVD and play it at the same time. It works on computers running Windows XP or Vista.
The company says the software is "legal," but acknowledges that people will be able to make digital copies from any DVD, even if rented, because the software can't distinguish between rented and owned DVDs. However, the software won't let people post copies to peer-to-peer networks or send them via e-mail.
"It's a good story for studios. We have stopped the worst violations people can do (peer-to-peer distribution)," Eric Fox, senior product manager at RealNetworks told CNET News. "We're letting people get more value out of the DVDs they own and encouraging people to buy more DVDs."
Additional copies of a DVD can be saved to a different computer or storage device for $19.99 each.
RealDVD will be available by end of the month for an introductory price of $29.99, which will rise to $49.99 later.
For a more information on the software, see this post on CNET's Crave.