sunnuntaina, marraskuuta 02, 2008

Sony is evil or how to watch DVD-VR on the Mac

My dad has a Sony hard-disk and DVD recorder with a digital tv tuner. He also has Canal+. Sometimes he records a movie into the hard disk and sometimes he makes a copy for me by copying the movie from hard disk to an empty DVD disc.

MPAA can rest easy. So far I haven't been able to watch any of the discs he has given me. This is because the discs he makes with his Sony are in DVD-VR format, not DVD-Video. DVD-VR is a disc format used mainly by the Sony video cameras that record directly to DVD, i.e. not a very popular format, like the DVD-Video.

The UI of the Sony DVD recorder makes it pretty easy to copy recorded TV shows from hard disk to DVD. You simply have to step thru a wizard-like sequence of screens where you just click on the button labeled "Next" and it is the highlighted button on every screen. If you do this (and my dad does), you will get a nice DVD-VR disc. If you would like to make a DVD-Video disc instead, you would have to switch the video format in a different place in the menus. It is not possible to change the format in the "HD->DVD copy" wizard.

Of course my dad never remembers to change the video format. He just steps through the wizard and clicks on next, next, next, burn. Mission accomplished.

Why on earth did Sony choose the default format to be DVD-VR instead of the ubiquitous DVD-Video! Probably to promote the DVD-VR format and increase consumer lock-in. Sony has a history of not using industry-standard solutions and standards to prevent consumers from buying cheap off-the-shelf parts.

Sony is evil! Boycott Sony!

Today I found a small piece of software that can read a DVD-VR disc and produce a VOB file. The VOB file can be played back with e.g. VLC. It's movie time!

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