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Thursday, April 5, 2012

The crowdsourced DVD player

I have to admit it. I have been avoiding certain newer TV-related technologies since they all seem to be focusing on the wrong people. Instead of being the sort of things I want to use, they're the sort of things that various movie studios want to have. They are devices which interrupt your enjoyment with unskippable filler garbage and worse.

Before they really got the hang of this, you could just mash a bunch of buttons on your DVD remote and could skip it. Now, it's entirely possible that you will find that you can't even hit STOP. The only stop-type buttons which work at that point are EJECT and POWER. Great. Welcome to the world of UOPs.

I wonder if there's a way to get around this as a manufacturer who wants to cater to users without technically running afoul of the licensing sharks. I've noticed that you can usually tell your DVD player to jump to an exact title and chapter if you know the numbers. In theory, you should be able to insert a disc but not start it playing, then key in a jump.

The problem is every disc puts the main event somewhere different. This disc might have it as title 3, chapter 2, and another one might have it as title 1, chapter 5. You never know where it will be. You could try to make a list and keep it by the TV, but that's ridiculous. Also, besides kids, who replays a DVD that often?

So clearly, the next step is to find some way to save the known-good title/chapter stops and share them with other people. That way, only the early adopters have to deal with this. Maybe they could be rewarded with deals on new movies for providing good data to keep a positive feedback loop going.

Ultimately, you wind up with a DVD player where you can upload offsets to some nebulous place, and also download the shared knowledge of other users. Think of it as how CDDB used to work back before they took their marbles and went home.

Okay manufacturers, there's your idea. Go build a (DVD|BR|...) player which gives users a sly way around the garbage placed on those little plastic discs and see if I'll start caring about your products again.