DVDs

How can I watch PAL DVDs on my TV?

Episode 1519

Paul from Los Angeles, CA

Paul would like to rip DVDs and then put it on a 128GB thumbdrive so that his kids don't trash his DVDs. Leo says that's a great idea and you can use both Handbrake and VLC Media Client to do it. But how does he convert a DVD that's PAL? Leo says that the DVD is probably region coded to prevent you from watching a DVD from another country here in the US. The first time you play the DVD, it sets the Region code. But there are DVD players that don't do it. There's also a few back doors that respond to a certain number of remote button presses to unlock them.

How can I rip my DVDs?

Apple iPhone X

Episode 1504

Darwin from Broken Arrow, OK

Darwin wonders what the FBI used to crack open the iPhone of a terrorist. Leo says that the FBI won't say. Leo suspects they went to an Israeli firm called Celebrite, which can unlock older iPhones with four digit codes. Which is why Apple changed the code to a six digit code and patched vulnerabilities that would allow them to bypass it. If Darwin can prove that he owns his personal iPhone, Apple can open it for him. But if it's his sister's, there's no guarantee that Apple will. But if he can prove ownership or relational link, it's possible.

How can I burn a DVD?

DVDs

Episode 1494

Tom from Burbank, CA

Tom has made movies in iMovie and wants to burn them on DVD. Leo says that iMovie will encode his movie into .MOV, which is a wrapper for MP4. But when he burns a DVD, it creates a specific format called MPEG2, which is SD quality. iMovie used to have the capability to burn to DVDs, but Apple stripped it out. So he'll need a DVD burning program to do it. That program will also author the structure with menus, etc. Here are some options:

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1477

Bad news in home theater as OPPO has announced they are closing their doors, gradually ceasing operations. So the question is, do you buy an existing OPPO player or not? Scott says that they will be honoring their 2-year warranties on existing purchases. But after that, it's all over for what many considered to be one of the best manufacturers of DVD players in the world. Leo says that's because streaming has albeit taken over physical media and most people aren't buying DVDs anymore.

Why can't I play DVDs on my Windows 7 computer?

DVDs

Episode 1470

David from Los Angeles, CA

David has high end 17" Windows 7 laptop, but he's having issues with his optical drive after being reinstalled. Leo says there's a bunch of things it could be, like a damaged player or a broken cable. Since it happened after a reinstall, it may have missed the DVD player driver. David should check his device manager to see if Windows sees it. If it's not in there, then he'll need to install the drivers in order to use that player.

Can I get a laptop with a DVD player built in?

Lenovo 17" laptop

Episode 1469

John from Montana

John wants a device for watching DVDs with a large screen. Leo says that optical media have disappeared and large screen laptops are rare as well. Dell and Lenovo still sell 17" laptops, though. But he won't have a DVD drive with it. He could get an external DVD drive. They're cheap and he can plug it in when he wants it. Leo also recommends getting a larger external monitor. He should just use external peripherals when he wants to watch DVDs. That will give him the best of both worlds.

How can I edit my home movies?

Handbrake

Episode 1467

Richard from Los Angeles, CA

Richard has some old 8mm home movies that were transferred to DVD. They were transferred out of order and he wants to redo them, re-edit the video files, etc. Leo says that those DVDs are a treasure chest but he'll need to make sure he gets those videos off them and onto a hard drive, because sooner or later that DVD may not be playable. Is there something online that he can use? Leo says that video files are too big to upload to the cloud.

How can I rip a DVD?

DVD

Episode 1462

Dan from New Jersey

Dan wants to rip some old DVDs so he can stream them on the Apple TV using Plex, but he's having trouble with Handbrake. Leo says that he can rip it and then keep it on his computer, or use a network attached storage device running the Plex server. Leo says that Handbrake should have an Apple TV profile. He also needs to be sure he's using VLC to break the DRM.