Sunday, December 23, 2007

Stupid DVD player.

I bought some British DVDs off Amazon.co.uk.  (Damn that BBC America channel for getting me all addicted, and then not selling the DVDs in the U.S.)  But this is OK.  I have a code-free DVD player, so I can watch British DVDs.

The DVDs arrive on Thursday.  (Which was, as a matter of fact, the day I first wrote this entry, but then hit the wrong button when multi-tasking and ... oops.)  Arrival on Thursday was just amazing, as Amazon had promised them for January 6.  So, yeah, made the whole eight-bucks-for-international-shipping feel a little better, when the DVDs clearly took a flight, rather than a slow boat.

So, they arrive.  I gleefully take them home and plop the first one into my DVD player.

Here's an interesting fact about my code-free DVD player.  It has always been a bit tempermental.  Which is to say, it has always exhibited behavior that, in a normal DVD player, might suggest impending doom.  But I'm used to it.  I'm used to it whirring away and telling me there's no disk in there when I have just put a disk in there.  I'm used to stopping and restarting and stopping and restarting until it finds the disk and maybe even recognizes the "play" command.  That's just its way.

The problem with a DVD player that always seems on the verge of death is that you can't tell when it is, in fact, actually on the verge of death.

Which mine apparently had been.

I'll spare you the recap of a very frustrating half-hour.  It ended with me using a screwdriver to pry my brand new DVD out of the player's maw, as the damn machine was exerting a death-grip on disk one of Life on Mars, and I was not going to let it get away with it.

Disk safely freed from its clutches, I considered my options. 

I really wanted to watch that DVD that night.

I know a store that sells code-free DVD players.  OK, the down side is that it's in a mall, and it's the week before Christmas.  But I distinctly remember seeing code-free players there.  I even thought, "I'll have to remember this store for when my DVD player dies." 

I drove to the mall.  8:30 on the Thursday before Christmas, I ventured to a mall.

(And it was pretty darned crowded.)

I parked in my super secret parking area (I'll never tell) and booked all the way to the other end of the mall where the store was.

Where the store ... was.

No store.  Sign announcing mall expansion where the store ought to be.

Not good.

I ask the dude in the store next door if he happened to know what happened to the store.  He said it relocated somewhere out of the mall.  Does he remember the name of the store?  He does.

9:00 at night, on the Thursday before Christmas, I fold myself into the Photo Booth at the mall, to get enough quiet to ring information and see if they can't find the damn store for me.

They can't.  Either I have the name wrong, or the place is out of business.  No listing.

I get the number for a couple of local electronics stores on a total longshot.  Figure I'll ask if they happen to carry code-free DVD players.  They don't answer their phones, but whether that's because they were closed or too busy to pick up the phone in the DVD player department, I couldn't say.

I ponder my options.  I use my phone's internet browser to check Amazon for code-free players.  I feel somewhat mollified by the fact that they do, in fact, have some and that (therefore) I can get one.  But that's in a few days.  I wanna watch my DVD now.  (Whine whine whine.)

I go to the food court and eat my favorite mall fast food.  I figure the protein will help me think.

I have one chance left for watching my DVD that night.  It's very long, but I try to convince myself it might work.  My new computer has a DVD drive on it.  Two, in fact.  Maybe those would be code-free.  Maybe?  I mean, Dell sells the same computers everywhere, right?  They wouldn't bother with different DVD drives for different countries, would they?  A computer's a computer.  Right?

I'm half tempted to stop at the Dell booth in the mall and ask the guy, but I figure he won't know anyway.  I go home and crank up the computer.  I find a British DVD I don't need very much.  (The screwdriver incident is still fresh in my mind, and I have some irrational fear that sticking a region 2 disk into a region 1 DVD drive might blow up the disk or something.)

My DVD drive gives me a friendly error message about how I've inserted a disk with a different region code than my DVD drive.  That's pretty much what I expected.  Darn.

But then it offers me choices.  Would I like to insert a disk from the proper region, or would I like to change the region on my DVD drive?

Really?  I sidle up to the computer warily and hit option B, waiting for the catch.

It lets me reassign the DVD drive to Region 2 (Western Europe).  This is a good thing.  It tells me I can only reassign the region code a total of five times and asks if I'm down with that.  I am so down with that.

Interesting story here.  A few months ago, I bought this computer.  About a month later, my Dad wanted to buy a similar computer, and he'd pretty much copied the specs I used in ordering his computer.  Excepting one thing.  I got two optical drives, while he only got one. 

Now, I got the DVD-RW drive (or whatever) and also the DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive.  Because I wanted to be able to burn DVDs, but also thought, y'know, pretty stupid to have a DVD drive only and not be able to play and burn CDs, too.  So when I saw my dad only had the DVD-RW drive, I said he'd made a mistake and asked what he expected to read CDs with.  And he said that the guy at Dell assured him that the DVD-RW drive was also a combo drive and that it would handle CDs too.  And I felt like a total bozo for not having read the fine print on that one, because, yeah, I could've just got the single drive, and then I could've even gotten the sleeker case and ... oh hell, it's bought now.  I justified it by thinking I could at least burn stuff a lot faster with two drives.

Well, look what happened.  I now have a real live legitimate reason for having two DVD drives in my computer.  One of them is now British.  Ha.

(And the first episode of Life on Mars is awesome.)

1 comment:

arrowpetel said...

Hi from The Netherlands, could you not just play the DVD in your computer? Or is that a silly question.

Greetings Rachel (Arrowpetel)