Saturday, February 11

Sony DVD Anti-Copy Software Prevents DVD Playback on Sony Vaio Laptop!

On Friday I pulled my work PC out of my backpack after finishing lunch on my Frankfurt to Dulles flight. It is a Sony Vaio and it has a DVD drive. Not bad for a work PC! Now as I stated before, I do not buy Sony Products because I do not like them. It is a different story when your work buys the computer. If anything the Vaio is cool because it's small. It is noticed by everyone else as everyone pulls out their laptops when going through security and while on the plane.

I finished watching the end of Jaws and then popped in "The Fifth Element." It didn't work. I figured that perhaps it did not like being played in Intervideo, so I tried Media player and Realplayer. That's when I got the error message that the DVD is protected. I quickly pulled out the box, and cannot see any notation of copy protection on the box. I did notice that this is a Sony movie. Wow! Is it possible that the copy protection that they put on their DVD is not compatible with their own DVD-player equipped Laptop? It appears so. What an asinine error!

Now I have played other movies in the player with no problem, Jaws being one of them. Seems like most of the DVD are marked on the box as having copy protection. This was the first time that I had a problem. Now I have added no software to this machine and as far as I know it is not capable of ripping anything off the disk. Strange thing is, the DVD plays in my home computer just fine, and my home computer's DVD player is set for DVD region 2 and I have software installed to play all region DVDs. So the copy protection only managed to prevent my playing the movie in a computer incapable of copying it! Too bad I cannot figure out if it is the disk or the computer to blame. If I had to guess, I would suspect that Sony hid some of their Digital Rights Management Software in the Vaio. While I cannot prove this, their past actions make this a good guess. Seeing what they can hide in a CD, just imagine what they can inside your computer. Yet another reason not to buy Sony products.

In other related Sony News:

They announced the wholesale pricing for Blu-Ray DVD disks:

The $23.45 wholesale price for new releases represents a 15 to 20 percent increase over wholesale prices for new releases in standard DVD format, while the $17.95 wholesale price point for older titles can be 50 percent to 80 percent higher than the retail price of the same titles in standard DVD format.

Sony says it initially plans to ship four Blu-Ray titles a month, increasing releases to ten Blu-Ray titles a month by the fourth quarter of 2006.

Sony's Blu-Ray format is still locked in a looming format war with Toshiba's competing HD DVD technology. HD DVD is generally seen as the lower-cost contender, with initial pricing for players expected to debut in March 2006 expected to be between $500 and $700, compared to $1,000 for Blu-Ray players when they ship in mid-2006. Studios haven't announced pricing for HD DVD titles.

Looking at the pricing tells me that Blu-Ray is not targeting me as a customer. For starters, I can buy a HD DVD player and still have $500 left over for buying movies. Perhaps I'll keep the money and use some of what I don't spend on a new HD TV and HD DVD player to just buy some old-generation DVDs. The quality is good enough for me. The additional quality is not worth spending thousands of dollars. I'll start going back to the movies first. Its cheaper.

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