I have several tv shows that I purchased on iTunes for my daughters to watch. Rather than have them sit at the desk and watch on my laptop or on the iPad, I would like to burn the episodes onto a DVD that will be playable in my DVD Player.

  • What format are they in?
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 19:41
  • They are in the M4V format Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 0:20

6 Answers 6


You probably won't like this answer, but as far as I know, there is no legal way to burn those episodes onto a DVD in a way that is playable in your DVD player. The problem is that the iTunes episodes are encrypted with Apple's FairPlay DRM and DVD players do not know how to decrypt them. In order to make the videos playable in a DVD player, you would need to circumvent the DRM and this is illegal in many countries.

As an alternative, you could buy an AppleTV and hook it up to your television. At $99, it is a relatively inexpensive investment, and it would allow you to stream your iTunes shows to your TV while keeping your laptop and iPad free for your own use.

  • I am less concerned with legal issues, more the technical. What tools are available to remove DRM and burn a playable DVD of the show. While the Apple TV is a bargain deal, it would require me to purchase a HDTV as well... so maybe not so bargain after all. Commented Aug 7, 2011 at 2:38
  • 1
    I am accepting this answer. I ultimately just bought an 46" HDTV and an AppleTV. Its legal, easy and inexpensive. Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 14:03

You can't, at least not with the standard tools (iTunes, iDVD). This isn't a bug but intended behavior to comply with their licensing requirements.

Your options are probably:

  1. Break the DRM and burn it to DVD.
  2. Find something that can stream iTunes to your TV.

It looks like there are some projects which attempt to stream iTunes to a Roku, which is not limited to HDMI out. These look pretty rough though.


Legality issues as mentioned by the previous reply, but you could use a screen recorder, like ScreenFlow to capture the video playback. Downsides: Quality will be reduced, filesizes will be large relative to the quality, you have to capture in real time.

Not an ideal solution, but better than nothing.


The bottom line is that the TV networks and production companies that make the TV shows and the movies that they sell through iTunes do not want you to make DVDs from your iTunes purchases. This is because they also make money from selling physical DVD collections of TV shows that you can buy or rent through companies like Best Buy, Amazon, Blockbuster or Netflix. That is why iTunes has no capability to make DVDs out of digital downloads--the TV networks would not permit Apple to provide this feature, according to the licensing and sales contracts between the TV networks and Apple.

Secondly, making a DVD from any kind of digital video is a complicated process that requires knowledge of video editing and requires a lot of input and work from the user to create one. So what you are trying to do would be far more trouble than it is worth, and if you are not an expert video editor, the resulting DVDs would most likely be of very poor image quality.

I second glorifiedHacker's suggestion that you buy an AppleTV. But the new AppleTV will only work with a flat-panel television with an HDMI digital video input. It will not work with any older TVs that only have analog video input. So see if your televisions are compatible with that.


Would Handbrake work for you? Or what about MPEG Streamclip? Both are free, great video conversion applications


I bought the cable that converts iOS device to component RCA cables and plug them into my DVD recorder and record as it's playing. It's worked fine for me for years.

  • What application are you using on your iDevice to do that?
    – nohillside
    Commented Sep 16, 2013 at 13:47

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