Archive for the 'Movies and TV' Category

Regular Copy vs Blu-Ray Managed Copy

The nice people at Blu-Ray are introducing managed copy next year. Try to contain your excitement.

Regular copy:

regular-copy

Blu-Ray “managed copy”:

MCM_ROM

Wow I’m sure that will be a big hit.

Dark Knight

I’d like my 2.5 hours back. What a let down. The plot was utterly incoherent. Kudos to Katie Holmes for sitting this one out.

Iron Man

Iron Man was really good. Go see it.

Click Here to Be Offended

CBS is being fined $3.6M for indecency after a rerun of a Without a Trace which depicted a teen orgy. The FCC recieved 4,211 complaints about the episode, many of which were apparently due to the Parents Television Council.

The PTC’s Take Action Now site has instructions for all you christian conservative lemmings out there.

The site explains how to get your name added to the formal complaint and, amazingly, includes a link to the offending scene in case you missed it.

(via BoingBoing)

Movie Theater Sales Decline

According to ABC News, ticket sales at movie theaters have declined for the 3rd year in a row.

Last time I went to the theater, I was charged $10 for popcorn, made to sit extremely close to an enormous screen, and then forced to watch 30 minutes of paid advertisements and previews.

Here’s a trick for increasing your revenue: try providing a service that doesn’t suck.

HDCP Free

I bought an HDTV years ago, before DVI or HDMI were around, so I’ve got it hooked up thru some quality component interconnects. Recently my old Toshiba DVD player died, so I needed to find a replacement. I started poking around to see what, if anything, had happened to DVD player technology in the last 3 years. The short answer is: not much.

One minor improvement is that many DVD players can now upsample the DVD video to HD resolution (720p or 1080i). Just to be clear, a DVD only contains 480 lines of pixels, so this is interpolation. A decoder chip looks at neighboring source pixels and more-or-less guesses the additional pixels. You might ask why anyone would do this, and it would be a fair question. There are a handful of reasons, but lets just take it for granted that some people would prefer 480i upsampled to 1080i, over regular 480i.

Getting to the point, the DVD Forum decided that they needed to make some rules to protect their copywritten works. One rule they made was that any digital output at HD resolution should be encrypted with HDCP. Of course, their evil customers might just grab the analog signal, so they made another rule: analog outputs should be capped at 480 lines of resolution.

So lets recap:

  • My TV is an HDTV that supports 1080i.
  • My TV is 3 years old, and only has analog component inputs.
  • Modern DVD players still have component outputs.
  • Modern DVD players have built-in scalers that upsample to 1080i.

I want to upsample to 1080i, but…

  • …the DVD Forum thinks I’m probably a criminal, so…
  • …DVD players prevent high-def analog output, however…
  • …I’m not a thief, I just don’t feel like buying a new damn TV yet.

It’s worth repeating, here, that the original source resolution is 480i. No matter how you interpolate, a DVD is not an HD source. This detail was apparently lost on the DVD Forum who weighed the utility of my expensive TV against the cost of movie piracy, and — not surprisingly — decided my needs were less important then theirs.

There’s a punchline to this whole thing:
After about 20 minutes of Googling, I discovered that some Samsung DVD players have a (not-so-secret) secret code that both disables HDCP, and enables high resolution output over the analog outputs.

I bought one.

As I used to say back in my gaming days: owned.

Brave Sir Robin

He was not in the least bit scared to be mashed into a pulp, or to have his eyes gouged out and his elbows broken.