Sunday, January 15, 2006

DVD's in a global marketplace

This started out in my head as a rant, with a hack added on at the end, but then with further consideration ... well, let's start with the rant:

Currently, the complete collection of The X-Files on DVD at is listed at US $809.99 (link).
At the British Amazon, (link), it's £179.99 (US $320.07)! Those bastards who came up with region-encoding DVD's, supposedly to control how soon they release new movies on DVD in different parts of the world, are exploiting this technology to get me to pay more for the same (or almost the same) product than people in other countries!

The hack: You can get a DVD player for $60 that can play DVD's for any region just by pressing a few buttons on the remote. And, um, oh yeah, actually it's not just a matter of the region encoding on the DVD, but also that fact that different TV encoding is used in the U.S. (NTSC format) than in Europe (PAL)--but the $60 DVD player also takes care of that, playing both NTSC and PAL discs.

With further consideration, I'm still upset--even more so, actually--not just about The X-Files, but also about titles that are only available for other regions of the world and/or only in PAL format. In the past the NTSC/PAL difference has been a problem with playing videos and DVD's from other parts of the world, but now there are inexpensive DVD players that can play both kinds of discs, and perhaps someday this technology will be in all DVD players. So, this barrier is being broken down, but the region-encoding is definitely not going away. Sure, some people know how to get around region encoding (and care enough to go through the trouble), but this doesn't satisfy me.

In order to get my money's worth out of a DVD, I wan to be able to lend it to my family and friends. This doesn't happen with region-encoded DVD's. Also, I don't always buy every DVD I want to watch. I often request that my local library buy things. But they're not going to buy things that most people can't play.


Post a Comment

<< Home