DVDs

Why won't my DVD play?

DVD

Episode 1625

Richard from Grand Rapids, Michigan

Richard bought a new DVD. And he can't play it. It's "dead." Leo says that it may not be dead, it may be region encoded. If there's a different region encoding for a different market, it won't play in your DVD player. Even if it played once before, it could have become region locked after that. The next thing to check is if it's PAL instead of NTSB. If that's the case, it won't play either. 

How can I burn Blu-ray DVDs?

Blu-Ray Disc

Episode 1596

Howard from Mission Viejo, CA

Howard has a computer with a Blu-Ray burner, but he doesn't have software to use it. What apps are available? Leo says that NERO was the gold standard for burning DVDs for years, but they may not do Blu-ray. Leo says that Premiere Elements 2018 and later can burn to Blu-Ray directly. So you don't really need a third party app. Leo also likes ROXIO. But you may end up with a special driver that can cause compatibility issues. Stick with Adobe Premiere Elements. Leo also likes FoxIt. 

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.