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More Blu-ray Discs Bundled With PMP-Compatible Files

New York – Sources of video content for portable media players (MP3/PMPs) are growing with the emergence of PMP-compatible “Digital Copy” versions of movies bundled with select new Blu-ray and DVD titles.

A total of 52 Blu-ray discs, almost all from seven major studios, are bundled with a DVD containing Digital Copy versions of the movie for playback on PCs and PMPs, the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) said. The number of DVD titles bundled with a Digital Copy disc was unavailable.

The studios with the most Blu-ray titles bundled with a Digital Copy disc are Disney, Fox, Lionsgate, Universal and Warner, DEG said. Warner offers 19 Blu-ray titles with a Digital Copy version, Fox offers nine, Universal and Lionsgate each offer eight, and Disney offers three, with a fourth due in February. Paramount and Sony each offer one title. Three other BD titles are available from smaller studios.

In the case of Fox, the Digital Copy discs contain FairPlay-protected H.264 files at 1.5Mbps for iPods and iPhones. The discs also feature protected WMV files at 796kbps for Microsoft PlaysForSure-compatible PMPs. None of the files are compatible with Sony’s PSP or Microsoft’s Zune. The discs also contain protected 1.5Mbps MPEG-4 files for Macs and PCs and 1.62Mbps protected-WMV files for PCs. In Sony’s case, a Digital Copy is available for PCs and PlayStation Portables.

The new content comes at a time when the market has matured to the point that Yankee Group forecasts that U.S. consumer purchases of PMP/MP3 players would fall in 2008 for the first time. In a mid-year report, Yankee forecast a 1.9 percent drop to 42.1 million units and sees annual single-digit declines for the next four years to an annual volume of 36.3 million units in 2012.