Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

We don’t have a fully working DVD player


Yesterday, when wanting to watch a film on DVD, I realised that we no longer have a working DVD player at home.

We used to have two. Our previous TV had one built-in, and we have a Toshiba Blu-Ray player connected to it. But now we have a newer (to us) TV which is bigger but doesn’t have a built-in DVD player, and Lizzie managed to break the tray on the Blu-Ray player. It’s okay, it cost about £30 several years ago so it doesn’t really owe us anything, and we’ll replace it in time. Not at least because we have no other way of playing our (admittedly small) collection of Blu-Ray discs.

We also have two computers with optical drives – my Mac Mini, and Christine’s old laptop. But both are 8 years old and slow. My Mac is in another room to our TV and it wouldn’t be feasible to run a cable between them, and I’m not sure whether you can stream a DVD across a network to a Chromecast.

Plus, quite a few of the DVDs I tried yesterday were unreadable by either computer, presumably as a sort of copy protection. My Mac spit them back out after a few seconds and the laptop refused to recognise that there was a disc in there. Christine’s new laptop doesn’t have an optical drive.

I decided to use Handbrake to rip the one DVD that did work, and save it so that we can watch it via Plex. My Mac is set up as a Plex server with a handful of films on an external hard drive, and whilst it took a long time to rip the film, it worked well once done. Incidentally, Handbrake no longer works with copy-protected DVDs without installing an add-on, which I’m sure you can find using your favourite search engine should you wish to.

As it’s half term, I’ve been at home with Lizzie and we’ve been watching films on a morning. Netflix has a good selection, and we’re definitely getting our money’s worth out of our subscription. But there’s a few that are not on there that we have on DVD. It would be nice to have them all available via Plex but seeing as the majority of discs aren’t even recognised by either computer, I guess that’s not going to happen. We’ll just have to buy a new Blu-Ray player.

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