Tag Archives: blu-ray

Skipping Trailers and Warnings on Blu-ray Discs

There has been an increase in crimes against consumers. They are being held hostage. By what? Warnings and trailers on Blu-ray discs! I don’t steal movies off the internet, I rent them via Netflix, and rental discs1 are the biggest culprit.

Yes, you can fast forward, but on my PC’s BD player2 only goes so fast, so I’m still stuck for several minutes. Worse, I often need to stop the disc and get back to work, which means closing the player since it disables the Windows Aero interface and color scheme. When I start the player again, I’m back at square one! I’ve been looking for a player that allows me to skip anything, much like VLC Media Player and Media Player Classic (the open source version) allow me to do for DVDs. Unfortunately, I’ve seen no open source BD players and the commercial ones won’t dare allow you to perform a “user prohibited action” as defined by the disc makers. How they have the balls to charge $100 for that crap I’ll never know.

But we have a savior! It’s called AnyDVD HD. It sits between your BD ROM drive and your software player software and presents the disc as decrypted. It will also disable all your warnings and trailers.3. I just installed it and put in a disc and it immediately went to the main menu. It’s exactly what I was looking for and it’s currently going for about $75, with a 3 week trial so you can check it out first. Yes, a little pricey, but still cheaper than the other software players and I’ll make up for it in time saved. The bummer is that it only works on Windows, so when I have a home theater set up with my PS3, I’ll be back to slogging through trailers, or schlepping my laptop over to the coffee table.

  1. Denoted by plain grey discs featuring only the movie title. []
  2. HP MediaSmart DVD, which is just rebranded Cyberlink. []
  3. Of course, you can get to the trailers through the disc menu if you like. []

Vote For The Next Criterion Collection Blu-Ray

Amazon has a poll to vote for the next Criterion Collection title to be published in Blu-ray format. The choices are fairly obscure, and I’ve only seen two of them: Jim Jarmusch’s Down By Law and the 1965 Japanese film Kwaidan.

Of the two, I found Kwaidan to be more memorable. It contains four ghost stories set in old Japan, filmed with painterly cinematography. I had always assumed they were classic Japanese tales, but I have just read that they were in fact “adapted from the fiction of Greek-born Lafcadio Hearn (a.k.a. Yakumo Koizumi, 1850-1904), who assimilated into Japanese culture so thoroughly that his writings reveal no evidence of Western influence.” There are scenes here that I think may have directly influenced Tarantino’s Kill Bill.1 If you are expecting The Grudge, I think you will be thrilled. Unless you (inexplicably) liked The Grudge.

  1. I’m thinking of the showdown with O-Ren Ishii in the snowy garden. []

New MacBook Pro

So they released the new MacBook Pro, claiming it’s “engineered to standards that don’t even exist yet.” Really? Hey Apple, how about – gasp! – conforming to a standard that does exist? It’s called Blu-ray, and if you want to be taken at all seriously as a video editing and motion graphics platform (or even a purveyor of modern consumer electronics) you’ll get your hardware and OS developers working on it so you can add it to the 17″ model (whenever that gets updated…).

Metal Gear Solid PS3 Bundle

It looks like I may finally get my PS3 in less than a month. I was waiting around for the rumored 120GB version, since the 80GB is out of production. Well, I’ve decided I won’t wait past June 12th, when the MGS PS3 Bundle comes out. It will have:

The whole thing is $500, so it’s like you get the upgraded controller and video game for free; that’s probably a $100 value. I will be putting that towards an extra controller and, if I feel like spending ridiculous money on (what most would call) a minor convenience, the infrared to bluetooth converter and the Harmony One remote.1

  1. I really love my Universal Automator, but there seems to be no way to support the IR2BT. []

Still Hating Sony

So I want a Blu-Ray player, and the PS3 appeared to be the logical choice. After considering the setup and looking at the features, I’m not so sure.

The house where I’m staying has the TV (a 70″ Sony LCD rear projection) set into the wall. The A/V components are above it on a shelf also set into the wall; it’s a sort of cubby hole. There is a hole between the components and the TV where wires are fed. It’s the kind of setup that, when you have to modify the wiring, you start by staring at the system for five minutes, mutter “Fuck me,” and then try to find a way to not do that.

I thought I had accomplished that. There’s an existing DVD player, and it’s connected with component cables, so it thought I could just do a drop in replacement with the PS3.

Not so fast. The PS3 does not have direct component out. It has a proprietary analog A/V connection, which forces you to buy a special cable for $20. You can’t just use your existing cables and plug them right in. If you’re in my situation, or the cable is too short (which it might be since they don’t tell you how long it is!), you need a component video coupler. This is a set of 3 RCA female-to-female connectors, known amongst electrical engineers as a lesbian 3-way adapter. Luckily, it’s only $4 at Radio Shack. So I gotta shell out another $24 bucks I shouldn’t need to, but I can live with that.

What I can’t live with is the PS3 Blu-Ray remote. It’s Bluetooth, not infrared. Yes, this means you don’t need need to point it at the console – but who isn’t trained to do that anyway? I already shelled out $160 for a Universal Automator remote with macros, volume punch through, etc. The BR remote isn’t even back-lit. And there’s no one-touch power off, meaning that even if it did have infrared support, you couldn’t use macros to turn it off.

So as much as it pains me, I think I’m going to have to pass on the PS3 and go with a straight up BD player. Hopefully they have some that fully support BD-J. For me, that was the big selling point for the PS3. Of course, the games wouldn’t hurt, assuming it gets some good ones.