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|Kevin Krock, editor|
I received email last week about a variety of things, including several about the Dinosaur debacle. Here are a few that I think you might be interested in:
Youíre quite welcome Chris, and I know that many others out there have similar feelings. While Disneyís marketing folks are performing damage control and their DVD gurus are trying to fix the problem, Iíve been trying to figure out what is causing the problem. So far, Iíve found a couple of good possibilities:
What the writer above is referring to is a new security feature that only allows a region- encoded DVD to be played on a specific regionís DVD player. If you look at the back of many DVDs in the U.S. or Canada, youíll see a little icon with a world and the number "1." This indicates that the DVD is encoded for Region 1, and it only plays on DVD players that have been designated for Region 1. Other areas around the world, (like Europe and Japan), fall into other region codes, so their discs cannot be played on a standard U.S. DVD player.
Studios devised this coding method because their DVD- release schedules are different around the world. For example, a movie may still be in theaters in Europe while the DVD is being released in the US.
However, DVD hardware manufacturers have either produced "region-free" DVD players, or provided relatively easy ways to modify them so folks in the U.S. could play Japanese DVDs or Europeans could play U.S. DVDs.
This little loophole has caused a lot of headaches for the studios because, for example, people in Europe with region-free DVD players could buy import-DVD versions of the movie rather than go to the theater. This is not what the studios want, and this is where the new security feature comes in.
These new discs have software that essentially reads what kind of player the disc is being played on. If it detects either the wrong region code or the lack of a region code, the disc is supposed to put up a cute little warning that kindly tells you thereís a problem, and that you need to get the appropriate disc for your region. Apparently there are still a few bugs to be worked out with that scheme, but that may not be all...
Another theory has been put forward about the quantity of material that is packed onto these discs.
Thanks Doug and Bruce for the info. As with the earlier days of DVD (all of a couple of years ago), the format has had some growing pains, and itís been difficult to predict when some software feature is going to crash a player. This wasnít the first software / hardware compatibility problem, and it wonít be the last. Itís just unfortunate that this particular episode has played out this way. Hopefully everything will get cleared up shortly!
Finally, I received a quick email about Song of the South:
Well Michelle, unfortunately, the answer I have is not the one you were hoping for. At VSDA, I asked one of the Disney marketing folks about Song of the South, and his answer was a pretty firm, "Never." I think itíll be a long time before weíll see a U.S. release on video or DVD, if ever. The content in the movie has been deemed by Disney to be too controversial, so itís easier for them to not release it than it is to deal with the potential social backlash.
Some time ago, I heard rumors about having James Earl Jones provide an introduction to the movie in an attempt to set the movieís historical context, but I havenít heard anything about it lately. Weíll just have to wait and see, but Iím not holding my breath... However, as a last resort, you can always use the internet to track down a used or import VHS copy, but it is pretty hit and miss out there.
That's it for now, but keep providing me feedback!
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