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…
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.