Archive for the ‘DVD Pet Peeves’ Category

DVD Pet Peeve #4

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007
Unleashed (region 4) - Not for deaf people
Unleashed (region 4) – Not for deaf people

English is not my first language, so while watching DVD movies, I prefer to have the English subtitles on. Obviously, subtitles are essential for people with hearing difficulties.

This week’s pet peeve is DVDs that don’t have subtitles. Back in the old days, when buying a DVD player would mean a week’s wage, many region 1 DVDs would not have subtitles, and only closed captioning support. CC support is completely useless to people outside of region 1, as we don’t have CC decoders in our TVs. But this is perhaps understandable, since these DVDs were never intended for sale outside of the US and Canada.

However, I’ve noticed that even today, several high profile releases do not have subtitles. The most recent one I’ve encountered is the region 4 copy of Unleashed (released by Universal Pictures in region 4). This DVD has a DTS track, extra features, but no subtitles. The region 2 version has English subtitles for the hearing impaired, while the region 1 version has at least closed captioning support. While I would be able to live with having no subtitles once in a while, but what about people with hearing impairment? Are they not entitled to watch this movie?

DVD Pet Peeve #3

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007
NTSC Warning … not very visible or helpful
NTSC Warning (circled in red) … not very visible or helpful

Why do studios insist on releasing NTSC content in PAL regions? Is it because they are lazy? Cost savings? Or just because they don’t give a rat’s arse about people who actually pay their salaries (us, the customers)?

A lot of people still don’t have equipment that can play or display NTSC content, and is it really that hard to produce a new transfer for the PAL regions, especially when there are so many countries that uses PAL (Europe, UK, Australia). Notable NTSC releases in Australia includes The Goonies, Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory (only the full-frame version is available as well) and my recently purchased copy of Dilbert: The Complete Series. Often, the NTSC warnings are not very visible nor helpful, since most people don’t even know the NTSC/PAL difference (nor should they be expected to know).

On a related note, if you have a Pioneer Plasma that has PureCinema mode, you should have an “Advanced” option which basically does 3:3 pulldown, playing back 24 FPS content at 72 Hz. 3:3 pulldown triples every frame to get the required 72 Hz refresh rate, and what you get is a slightly smoother picture compared to standard 2:3 pulldown (the “Standard” PureCinema mode) . I use this mode to play back all my NTSC DVDs. For my (3 year old) model, 3:3 pulldown only works when the input is interlaced, so I have my upscaling DVD player set to 1080i 60Hz mode when playing back NTSC discs, and then enable 3:3 pulldown – the improved smoothness of panning is immediately noticeable. PAL discs are at 25 FPS, so I set the DVD player to 720p (native resolution of the TV) @ 50 Hz.

DVD Pet Peeve #2

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

This week’s pet peeve is stuff you can’t skip on DVDs. These include studio/distributor trailers, warning notices, anti-piract messags and even movie trailers.

Yes I would, if stealing ahandbag meant that I wouldn’t be forced to watch this stupid trailer again
Yes I would, if stealing a handbag meant that I wouldn’t be forced to watch this stupid trailer again

If the Internet has taught has anything is that people like the freedom of being able to get and use information without being limited to a particular process or method. The freedom, therefore, to choose what you want to watch and what you don’t want to watch is essential. Being forced to watch some stupid studio trailer (Universal Pictures, I’m looking at you) that you’ve seen about a million times, or being told that you are a terrorist because you made a copy of a movie for your mother, is just plain annoying. Sometimes you are forced to wait up to 5 minutes before you can get to the movie, and that’s just not good enough. Ripping DVDs to get rid of these UOPs (User Operation Prohibitions) seems to be the only method, except that it’s illegal in most countries.

Many studios don’t employ these heavy handed tactics to force you to watch things, and they need to be applauded for doing so. Others should hang their heads in shame.

DVD Pet Peeve #1

Sunday, April 8th, 2007

This is a feature which I’ll post weekly (or thereabouts) in which I outline my completely irrational ramblings about certain DVD features which I just don’t like.

First in the firing line is two disc DVD editions. No, I don’t hate these, but rather, I hate the completely random way in which the 2 discs are organised within the DVD sleeve – should disc 1 (the main movie) sit on top in the swing tray (see picture below), or should it sit on the bottom in the more traditional position?

Some studios like to put the discs in numerical order, disc 1 on top, disc 2 on the bottom. Some prefer to have the main movie on the bottom, and have the extras disc swing around and be more prone to damage. Some studios just don’t care and randomly chooses a location. And many studios don’t even bother to number the discs anyways, just to make it all a bit more interesting.

Personally, I prefer having the main movie disc at the bottom and not in the swing tray. This way, the main movie disc won’t move around during transport (but to be fair, discs placed in the swing tray is unlikely to be damaged in any case). On average, I have to “correct” this problem on 80% of the 2-disc edition DVDs that I buy. It’s not that annoying, but I’ve always wondered how studios decide which disc goes where. Maybe they even have an executive in charge of making this decision!

You can vote for your method of 2-disc management down below.

2 Disc Editions - How I organise them