Ok, I’m calling it… DVD-Video is dead.

Look, this isn’t just because I use Linux, okay? Although it has certainly helped me to see the light.

And to be perfectly clear, I’m not talking about the actual 4.7 or 8.5 GB discs, just the proprietary manner in which media — specifically Hollywood dreck — is dumped onto them.

I won’t deny that DVD-Video was a saviour for home entertainment when it first came on the scene in the dying days of the last century, or that the PlayStation 2 was the perfect Trojan horse for widespread adoption of the format. I know. I was there.

But the days of DVD-Video have clearly come and gone. Off the top of my head…


I guess whomever thought to arbitrarily split files at the 1 GB mark never considered the possibility that some clever person would be able to string those VOBs back together again and save it in a single container. Try again, geniuses. Oh wait, you did…

Content Scramble System, you say? Sounds impressive. Have you met my pal DVD Jon?

More DRM

Region-coding? Seriously? Don’t you think that if I fly to Japan and legally buy a 2-DVD set about a blogging cat that I should be able to bring it back home and show it to my friends? Well I can — all it takes is the right player.


Swear to god, I’m not making this up. Says Wikipedia:

The DVD-Video specification was created by DVD Forum and can be obtained from DVD Format/Logo Licensing Corporation for a fee of $5000. The specification is not publicly available, because every subscriber must sign a non-disclosure agreement. Certain information in the DVD Book is proprietary and confidential.

Hmm, lemme double-check how much it costs to upload something to YouTube…

Contrast these ridiculous restrictions with the typical file downloaded through your BitTorrent client — entirely free of DRM & regional restrictions, and ready for you to watch and share with your friends. “But that’s not legal,” you say. Well this is, and so is this. And this, this and plenty more.

Now I’m a pretty forward-thinking guy, so I expect that it will take a while for the public at large to come to this same realization. It may even take the likes of Google TV to make set-top boxes as ubiquitous as DVD players are now. But why be behind the curve? Grab a $100 Western Digital player and see the future, today.

Oh, and if you wanted to make a case for Blu-ray, 3-D and such, ask yourself if they’re not encumbered by any or all of DVD-Video’s same baggage.

That should shut you up pretty quick — or rather, make you also see the light. 😎


  1. I recently purchased a WD TV Live network player, hooked it up to my network and have been watching and listening to all kinds of content with it. I have got to say that it is way more convenient and easier to use than my shitty old DVD player that refuses to leave the disc tray open when I press open.( I have to quickly stuff any disc in at the exact moment that it reaches the full open position and hope that I got it seated correctly.) I was surprised to see the wealth of information on hacks available for both the WD TV Live and my NAS, a WD 1TB MyBook World Edition. Both have strong communities of people hacking what appears to be the open OS of each piece of hardware. Someday, I hope to have the balls to actually attempt a hack or 2 to make these awesome pieces of hardware even more incredible.(Like making it possible to stream internet audio and video from sources other than live365 and youtube.)

  2. You bet it streams from YouTube. It is also supposed to stream from Pandora as well but, of course, we here in Canada can’t do that unless we are able to use a U.S. IP address which I have yet to figure out how to do using the WDTV. So that bit is useless and frustrating… friggin DCMA

  3. Awesome!!! I just installed the WDLXTV homebrew firmware by b-rad (http://b-rad.cc/) and it has totally changed the usefulness of the WDTV LIVE device. I can now, among other things, listen to my favourite online radio station, Radio Paradise, as well as see trailers from Apple.com AND apparently save video from YouTube. There is also a torrent program, telnet and a bunch of other stuff that I have no idea how to use…. but it’s still totally awesome. You can even change the look of the onscreen display through different mods or create your own… all sorts of hack-ability.

  4. I don’t mind DVD. Actually I’ve always liked a lot. But today I especially like DVD, because like you said, it can be so easily broken. They’re still releasing new stuff on it and they can’t change the security because it would break compatibility with old players. Plus I can run out and grab a $1 DVD rental of a new movie from redbox compared to renting a “legal” digital download for 3 or 4 times the price.

    So I say long live DVD, even if just for the ability to get new content and easily rip it.

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