Before I bought Season 1 of El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera, I made sure to ask if I could copy the files from my iTunes-enabled laptop to a DVD that I could play on my decidedly non-iTunes enabled DVD player on my moderately sized TV screen. As I said in an email to iTunes support: "Here's the situation: the laptop I'm going to download it to, the one with iTunes on it does not have a DVD burner, and I don't want to watch the show on my tiny laptop....I want to watch it on TV. I don't have a DVD burner, so I want to copy the TV show files to a flash drive. I want to then take the flash drive and copy the TV show files to a computer that has a DVD burner, so that I can then burn the copied files to DVD. My question is this: can I copy files to a flash drive and then to DVD without running into copy protection issues like downsampling or anything else?" I got this return email, so I went ahead and bought Season 1: "I understand that you would like to copy the purchase to a flash drive and copy it to a computer then burn it. Joel, as far as my knowledge, you can do this without any copyright issue. You can purchase the TV show, then put it on a flash drive. Then copy it to the computer not have iTunes installed. Then burn it to DVD." Awesome.
So I did just this--downloaded them to the laptop, then to the flash drive, sneakernet over to the DVD burner, then DVD to the DVD player. Lo and behold, the .m4v file type is either not supported or is corrupt. I tried the same files out on a third computer with iTunes (not the one I installed it on), and iTunes politely informed me via a popup message that the computer was not authorized to play the files. One password entry later, and I could now play them on the third computer. Seeing as the files apparently DO have copyright protection on them that interferes with the playback of the file on plain old DVD players, what do I need to do?
I see several options. One is to strip out the copy protection and save as the same .m4v file type (I'm not totally sure this would work, maybe the m4v file type isn't supported by my player--but even my non-iTunes computers wouldn't play the m4v files). The other option is to transcode the files to a different file type. Either way, I need someone to point me to the appropriate software and procedure. I'm going to follow this up with a call to iTunes support, as I've been legit about this process so far, even when I could have just gotten a torrent of the show.
EDIT: Talked with a senior tech support person at iTunes, and their response was that there have been legal restrictions placed on iTunes that do not allow users to copy stuff to DVD and play them on regular old DVD players. I was, however, sent a link to Apple's user discussion forums, where I might be able to receive the information that I'm looking for, as Apple can't advise users on how to circumvent copy protection or transcoding. So, it looks to me like those latter two options are the only way to go if I want to watch a product that I've bought a license for on my TV. I consider this a legitimate use of the files, even though the IP holders may disagree.
EDIT 2: Surprise, the copy paste of this post got pulled from the user forums (duh).