Latest Harry Potter DVD release will have a couple surprises in store for consumers

When you rush out to the store to purchase your copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix this December, you will be getting more than you bargained for.

WarnerHome Video has announced that the DVD will contain two additional versions of the movie.  One version will be for viewing on a PC and the other for viewing on digital media players.  This might be the first time a DVD has come with a built in way to move content to different devices around the home.

Of course there is a small catch.  Warner hasn’t exactly said how this will be accomplished.  It would be nice if you could just pop the disc in your PC and get the particular file from the DVD.  More realistically they will be using one of the Windows Media formats which will make it difficult, if not impossible, for users running Linux or Mac.  This also means that you won’t be able to view it on the most popular portable media player, the Apple iPod.

This is all speculation of course and I really hope they do the right thing and make it easy for consumers to finally do what they want with media they purchased.  The track record speaks for itself however and I am less than optimistic.

This is important however.  It means that even though this might not work as we as consumers hope, studios are finally realizing that people don’t always want to watch content with their DVD players.  It’s a step in the right direction.

Warner also talked about allowing consumers to download and burn DVDs themselves.  They would, of course, be controlled by digital rights management that would make it painful to do so but at least there is a major studio getting on board with this.  Perhaps things will iron themselves out over time and this will be second nature for consumers.  Dare I say, perhaps it will integrate seamlessly with out digital lives.  That would be awesome to say the least.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix hits stores on December 11th 2007.