Fox is now releasing DVDs that include iTunes-compatable H.264 video files, as was rumored last month. The first such DVD, the “Blue Harvest” Family Guy episode, isn’t scheduled to ship until next week, but several copies have already made their way into fans’ hands. (Amazon lists it for $16.09, so there doesn’t appear to be any significant price increase.) The included video file, which more than likely contains DRM (unconfirmed), will play on iTunes version 7.6—and the iPod and iPhone—, which is expected to be released next week in time for MacWorld.
Should this become a trend, you can say goodbye to figuring out how to rip and encode videos for playback on your Apple device. A step in the right direction, to be sure, I’m just curious, if not concerned, what type of DRM the file has. How many devices will you be allowed to copy the file to, and for how long? Does the disc “remember” your computer so that only you can use both it and the video file? We’ll find out once Apple releases the updated iTunes.