'Die Hard' with a bonus

DVD will include computer file

In an industry first, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is expected to announce today that the special-edition DVD of "Live Free or Die Hard" will come with an electronic copy of the movie that can be played on a computer and select portable video players.

"This may be the killer app, where you have physical media that allows you to have a big-screen experience and at the same time move the file around to other devices and have a great experience there as well," said Mike Dunn, the division's worldwide president.

The summer theatrical hit, the fourth in the "Die Hard" franchise and first since 1995, comes to DVD on Nov. 20 after a boxoffice run that yielded $134.4 million in domestic ticket receipts. The release precedes by nearly a month Warner Home Video's "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," which also will let DVD buyers download a copy of the movie to a PC or portable video device.

The Digital Copy feature also will be included on select other Fox DVDs down the road, though no titles have been announced. The feature allows consumers to quickly and easily transfer the movie file to Windows-based computers or portable video players equipped with Microsoft Windows' PlaysForSure feature, available from such manufacturers as Archos, Toshiba, Samsung, RCA, Dell and Creative Labs.

"The industry has sold nearly 12 billion DVDs to date, and the release of 'Live Free or Die Hard' is the first one that allows consumers to move their content to other devices," Dunn said. "With the myriad of viewing options available to consumers in our rapidly evolving digital world, a DVD with Digital Copy offers a simple way for consumers to satisfy their growing desire to watch what they want, when they want and, most importantly, how and where they want."

To utilize the Digital Copy feature, consumers can insert Disc 2 of the "Live Free" DVD into their computer. A menu will pop up, giving users the choice of either executing the Digital Copy application or launching the DVD special features. If the Digital Copy application is selected, the computer will verify the proper requirements and ask the user to enter a 16-digit serial code, found inside the DVD case. After selecting a destination — either the computer's hard drive or a connected PlaysForSure video player — the transfer will begin, and the program will be ready for playback after about five minutes.

"We're looking at this as giving the consumer a whole other experience, with an emphasis on choice and ease of use," Dunn said. "There's downloading, which takes 45 minutes to an hour, and managed copy, which I never liked because it involves moving the movie off the disc and onto something else, which also takes forever. With Digital Copy, the file is formatted to go across and onto your computer and mobile device, so it's already a small file — a rocket file that plays beautifully."