Capturing iTunes Videos

Like all educators these days, reader Jennifer Chestnut is looking for ways to cut costs in the classroom. She writes:

Is there a way to burn videos you purchase from the iTunes Store to a DVD? I’m a teacher and purchasing a single episode to watch in class on iTunes is much cheaper than purchasing entire seasons on DVD thru the Discovery Channel store ($2 instead of $50).

Regrettably, no. You can burn iTunes’ video content to DVDs, but only as data, not in a playable form. One option is to play the episode on your Mac and use an application such as Snow Leopard’s QuickTime, Shinywhitebox’s $30 iShowU HD, or Ambrosia Software’s $69 Snapz Pro X to capture it as a QuickTime movie that you can then burn to a DVD.

Do this, however, and you’ll break any number of license agreements. And, in the case of QuickTime, you won’t be thrilled with the quality of the resulting capture because QuickTime doesn’t capture video at full frame rates (meaning that the resulting video will be choppy).

A more ethical way around the issue is to play the content on a computer in the classroom—one hopefully connected to a large monitor or projector—or download it to an iPod and then connect that iPod to a monitor or projector using one of Apple’s $49 video cables. Again, you may be breaking an agreement by playing this content publicly, but schools are often allowed access to this kind of content without bringing the law down upon them. Check with your principal or appropriate overlord to see if this is something they're comfortable with.

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