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Various problems to do with


Digital Versatile Disc / Digital Video Disc

DVD is at first sight a great idea as it is like a Compact Disc CD which can hold a lot more data. However, there are some snags, most of them completely avoidable. Let's hope these are soon SORTED OUT, so saving the DVD from going the way of the eight-track cartridge!

The first problem was REGION CODING. This was an unfair way of giving second-class citizenship to different parts of the world on a hierarchical basis. Different races of people were classed according to a rank system, and DVD players were only supposed to play DVDs which conformed to this kind of global apartheid system. Thankfully this whole business of Region Coding has now been mostly defeated. Good! But you should be aware that there are still traces of it around. So, when buying a DVD or a DVD player, insist on it being an ALL-REGION system/disc. To find out more about DVD region coding there's now a page about it.

Next, another problem, again illustrating the unsympathetic system which is in danger of ruining an otherwise good format. DVD being a DIGITAL VERSATILE DISC should work on ANY system. It should be possible to use a DVD system on any computer regardless of operating system. What's particularly important here is that now there is LINUX, a better alternative to some of the poor quality operating systems of the past, it should be possible to use DVDs. Well it is. The problem is that by the letter of the law it isn't legally possible to do this. The companies that own the patents on DVD are trying to make it a monopoly where future opportunities for open-source systems are stifled. This should not be a long-term problem, as the law is just being disregarded. Sooner or later it will be possible legitimately to get Linux drivers for DVD. My view, and that of many people wanting to have a decent operating system, is: If it isn't Linux-compatible, don't buy it!

A further problem of DVD is that some CDs are made in such a way as to prevent piracy. Of course this doesn't work at all, as any pirate with any sense will just bit-copy the CD. This is easy. The problem is that the futile attempt to stop piracy DOES stop DVD players from playing the CD!

If you have a DVD-R, make sure you keep a backup on hard disc, as DVD-R could easily be like the old CD-R, where it's light-sensitive and rots after a few years. Also, any DVD that's got scratched, needs rescuing and re-saving on hard disc and on a new DVD.

Following on from the rotting of CDs and DVDs, there's now a new BIO-DEGRADABLE DISC (eco-dvd). This is deliberately designed to rot, which means it can be marketed as good for the environment, whereas in fact it means your data is lost. What a good thing it is that the Rosetta Stone wasn't "bio-degradable"! Anyway, if you're buying a DVD with the intention of chucking it away, get a bio-degradable eco-DVD. However, if you want a DVD that's for life and for posterity and ongoing library, make sure it's non-degradable.

Another thing to avoid is any form of DVD (or image) that has a "phone home" problem. These effectively require the ability to be able to squeal on you. AVOID. Let the market know that customer's won't tolerate this type of privacy-violating region-discriminatory accusative bullying-tactics.

So, when buying DVD, consider these points and make sure before you buy! Good luck! Now have a look at some DVD SHOPS >