Rant: 5 Annoying Aspects of DVDs

I've been catching up on some DVD watching recently and I feel the need to convey my annoyance at some of the things I've found on DVDs.

  1. Not letting the viewer skip or fast forward things

    Especially if those things are useless copyright information (mostly in other languages) or titles for the publisher. I'm trying to decide which I hate more: a 40 second copyright screen or a 2 minute "pirating DVDs is bad" video. The anti-pirating video is annoying and completely useless for most people ("oh … I was fully intending on pirating this DVD that I just bought until I saw this!") but, on the other hand, the copyright screen is downright boring.

    Copyright information at the end of a show can be quite annoying as well when it's not skippable. Particularly if it prevents you returning to the menu for several minutes so you can't watch the next episode. The Dead Like Me DVDs actually prevented me using the stop button! I'm not sure why the DVD specifications would say this is allowed…

    • Long pre-menu intros

      In particular, intros which are exactly the same as the opening credits in the actual show. I'm looking at you Farscape. Movies which show the highlights from the movie itself are pretty bad as well, most of all if they end up containing spoilers!

      • Not having a chapter start immediately after the opening titles

        DVDs allow you to jump around so why can't I use it to skip the minute long opening credits?

        • Interlacing

          Can the world just agree that interlacing is no longer necessary, is a terrible way to format video and move on?

          • Not including a "Play All" option

            Repeatedly stepping through menus to watch each episode of a series gets really old, really fast. Particularly if each episode has its own submenu.

Now, some of these things, I feel, should not be part of the DVD spec at all. Unskippable content? Sure it's good for the publishing company because they get to have their logo displayed and piss us off with anti-piracy campaigns … but we've already paid for the damn discs so why should they care? The ironic thing is that pirated DVDs do not suffer from these problems!

Interlacing is really just a pet peeve of mine. I can understand why it was needed back in the ancient days of television but for (almost) the last decade or so it's been largely useless, particularly now that we have digital TV … which still allows for interlacing. Except that digital interlacing is downright stupid because the interlaced version of a resolution is roughly the same quality as the non-interlaced version of the resolution below it. For example, 1080i is roughly the same as 720p. Even for shows that are old and were created with TV in mind, surely the production studio can just run the footage through a de-interlacing filter before putting it on the DVD? Since there are multiple kinds of interlacing DVD viewers sometimes can find an optimal one to use. For example, when watching Babylon 5 on PowerDVD enabling de-interlacing creates artefacts on the still shots but not enabling it produces artefacts in motion shots! Am I expected to switch between them manually?

So there you have it, my top 5 annoying things about DVDs. So far.