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Doesn't Play Well With Others:P - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Doesn't Play Well With Others:P
Yup, that's me. Luddite, cheapskate and knowing just enough about commerce and technology to be dangerous.

So more and more, we're finding, movie DVDs for the home market are devoid of special features.  The studios are making a conscious choice to tease consumers into moving over to the Blu-Ray platform, now that it won the latest of the Betamax wars (only to be losing out to diskless streaming and file transmission).  You want the good stuff, you have to get the fancier disk- and you'll need something to play it on.

Already, our home entertainment system is a higgeldy-piggedly mess of devices and cords. The TV on top, adjacent to a funky old CD disk-changer that also plays the radio, cassette tapes(!), and has RCA-cable * inputs for sound from a VGA-cable connected computer, or my iPhone, or (the default) the DVD recorder-player.

* These guys.  Odd they haven't been renamed by General Electric like everything else once associated with RCA.

One shelf down is said DVR, on top of which is a straight (but multi-region enabled) DVD player we sometimes use, and to their left is an old-school VCR that turns on maybe once or twice a year.  Below them are the speakers.  I really didn't enjoy the idea of adding another piece of hardware to the mix. And so, after consultation with the expert in the field**, we figured an external Blu-Ray drive for this computer would do the trick:

** That would be the kid. This would be the drive:

Note that nice Blu-ray disc logo on the right.  From that, you might be led to believe that you can play Blu-ray discs in it.

Not so fast, Colonel Hogan:P


First, came the minor matter of getting the thing.  I ordered it on May 10th, along with Deadpool on its first day of availability and a music CD.  All in stock, all combined to get the FREE Super-Saver Shipping (5-8 business days after ordering) which has sneakily moved up over the years from $25 per order to $35 and, now, $49. But I done made it.  What they didn't done do was even start it on its shipping journey- for over a week.

It's all about that Prime. Just as the studios want to move us into the new hardware, Amazon wants us all signed up for their annual membership that gets access to their original TV material, plus almost instant drone-to-your-doorstep shipping on everything.  We've done it for short trial times, but have never committed to it for whatever the current retail is.  So now, as far as Amazon is concerned, FREE means "the least we can get away with"- yes, the package came on the 20th, eight business days after it was ordered, but by delaying its shipment to the sixth business day, they made sure that two not-included weekend days were included in the wait.  Wouldn't you rather have Prime with that, sir?

Not when the shit doesn't even work, I don't.


In fairness, I didn't even try the thing until yesterday. We watched Deadpool the day it came- but that was a DVD-only deal, with a gag reel and some trailers. But we still have the combo pack of The Force Awakens that puts all The Good Behind The Scenes Stuff on the Blu-Ray disk.

I open it, connect the USB, pop Rey and Han into the drive, and.... nothing.  The drive itself has nothing preloaded to play the disk, and Twobor has no program associated with it.  I check the box, looking for the disk that will make it work. None. The "manual," such as it is, offers this helpful tip:

Please confirm you have installed the proper Blu-ray player software (Power DVD, Win DVD Pro, etc...) in your computer. Otherwise please download one to actually play Blu-ray disc.

Mmmmmkay. PowerDVD sounds familiar. I've got such a beast on here.

Yup, all this for just $49.95, a saving of $300!  Also, more than the fucking drive itself cost, and more, the two combined, than a basic dedicated Blu-Ray player would have cost the day I was charged for the order.

There must be other options, I think.  There are. VLC is a great multi-format open-source.  But its current versions, either the one on here or a clean download, do not automatically do Blu-Rays. You need to muck with manually loading codecs in your hidden Windows Users files.  Erm, no.  "Free Blu-Ray software" searches on Google fall into two categories: trial versions that don't work during the trial period (Aieesoft is good for this), and fully-enabled versions that have limited mouse functions and also don't work (Leawo Blu-Ray's the choice here).

Therefore, the final alternative is Back In The Box, Y'All. I'll take it to a UPS place tomorrow, its return authorization duly barcoded on the outside, and they'll credit back my account for the full purchase price of the drive, they say, within two business days.

So, eight.  And since this will bring the whole order below the Super Saver threshold, and since I used Amazon Card points toward it, I fully expect to see less than $39 on my account in eight days.

6 comments or Leave a comment
warriorsavant From: warriorsavant Date: May 22nd, 2016 08:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Which, in a nutshell (well, maybe a coconut shell), is why people loathe tech and tech companies.

Edited at 2016-05-22 08:20 pm (UTC)
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: May 22nd, 2016 08:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
African or European?
warriorsavant From: warriorsavant Date: May 23rd, 2016 11:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Brazilian. King Arthur was asking a trick question.
glenmarshall From: glenmarshall Date: May 22nd, 2016 10:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hell, I am an übergeek and still get annoyed by all this.

The fundamental problems are:

  • Tech "ecosystems" that have compatibility issues with peers
  • Generational issues, where standard interfaces don't interface with old standards
  • Incomplete consumer understanding of same.

Case in point: I have a new this year desktop with lots of oomph under the hood, a 4 year-old laptop with barely enough oomph to handle Windows 10, a 2.5 year-old Amazon Kindle HDX 8.7 gen 3, and a 2 year-old Motorola Maxx phone. They all need to play nice together, and have compatible versions of related-function applications. Using my geek foo, I was able to accomplish the feat... until Amazon decided to obsolete the gen 3 devices and supply no updates to said apps nor any new ones.

What apps? Chrome Browser (not on Amazon, because competition), Photoshop and Lightroom (not on Amazon, too heavy for phone), MS Office 365 (not on Amazon), and Quicken (not on Amazon, nor phone). And I had to get and pay for a 3rd party extension to make MS Outlook play nice with with Google calendar. Then there's all those passwords. There are other things, get you get the drift.

I used to have a similar issue with my entertainment system. Until I spent a bunch of money and replaced everything.

The only way to deal with it is to make a major buy of devices, all from the same manufacturer and of the same generation, and RTFM.

Edited at 2016-05-22 11:26 pm (UTC)
warriorsavant From: warriorsavant Date: May 23rd, 2016 11:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Your solution is fine until the manufacturers all improve/update their devices "to serve you better." There's a vicious cycle of pushing the software/operating systems to the limits of existing hardware (and therefore beyond the limits of older hardware), then bringing out better hardware to handle it, which always for ever-bigger software/operating systems. This is besides, as you note, that different manufacturers have incentive NOT to allow their systems to work together. I'm never sure if it's actually a conspiracy, or just natural greed-fueled tech "evolution."
bktheirregular From: bktheirregular Date: May 23rd, 2016 10:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yick. Yeah, that's sometimes how they get you - those drives can use Blu-Ray data discs out of the box, but for movies, you've got to get one that comes with the OEM software, and the cheaper drives just don't do that, unfortunately...
6 comments or Leave a comment