DVD

Why does my VHS player produce such a dim image?

VHS tape

Episode 1478

Dan from Washington

Dan wants to get a VHS to DVD player. Leo says that analog VHS is really low in resolution. It's only standard definition at 480 lines, and it's interlaced. We're now at 10 times that. But on an LCD screen, they are dimmer and scan progressively. The DVD side is 480p. It's a little brighter and the LCD screen tries to upscale the resolution. It improves it, but there's only so much he can do. It's really just old technology and it's time to move on. The reality is that VHS and DVD are both going away as most people are preferring streaming media now.

How much upscaling does a 4K TV do to a DVD?

DVD

Episode 1328

Glen from Louisiana

Glen wants to know how much resolution a DVD really has compared to a Blu-ray. Scott says DVDs are standard definition which is 720x480. Blu-ray can be 1920x1080 and above. How will it upscale? Scott says the newer his tv, the more it will upscale. If he buys a 4K TV, it will be about 10 times the resolution. The more upscaling it does, the more problems can happen. Scott says he may consider streaming from PBS. It may be in HD, rather than SD.

How can I watch a ripped DVD on my tablet?

Episode 1005

Andy from Dusseldorph, Germany

Andy wants to put a DVD movie on a USB memory stick and plug it into an Android tablet to watch it. Leo says there's a few steps. First Leo says she'll have to rip the DVD to remove the copy protection. Handbrake and VLC Media Player work together and will do that in addition to encoding it to the proper format. MP4 is a good option. Once she has the movie ripped, she'll have to get it onto the tablet.

How can I capture images from a DVD? (Part 2)

Episode 972

Steve from California

Steve would also like to capture images off of a DVD, but it won't let him do it. Leo says that is an antipiracy measure. DVD players won't allow it. There's always a way around it, though.

He can go into his video card properties setting and turn off video acceleration. Then Cmd-Shift-3 will capture it. Another option is to use VLC Media player to play his DVDs.

Backup Your DVDs

If you have movies or TV shows on DVD, it's a good idea to get them onto your computer. This serves two purposes -- it will preserve them, and allow you to watch them on more of your devices including smartphones and tablets. To do this, you'll just need a computer with an optical drive (most newer computers will take DVDs), and the software to rip and encode them. Here's how to do it:

How can I fix my DVD recorder?

Panasonic VHS/DVD Recorder

Episode 951

Morgan from Southern California

Morgan has a Panasonic VHS / DVD recorder and she's trying to record TV sequentially on her DVD. She gets error messages, though. Leo says that the recorder could be finalizing the DVD as it stops recording. It could also be the media discs that Morgan is using. They could be cheap or defective. There are companies online that sell DVD sampler packs. She can also try DVD-RW discs. Morgan is having trouble with both formats, however.

Why can't I play DVDs on a projector from my laptop?

Epson Powerlite

Episode 933

Jay from Whittier, CA

This is because of copy protection. To play back a Blu-ray and project it, all of his hardware has to be compatible with HDCP copy protection. Anything in the chain will throw it off. Leo says that unless the laptop has an HDMI connection, it's likely that it won't support it. In fact, Powerlight is largely for powerpoint presentations. Another thing to try is turning off hardware acceleration. He could try the mirroring feature with the projector as the primary display.