General Question

robmandu's avatar

Why can 15 year-old DVD players show the latest released movies perfectly, but DVD ripping software sometimes can't?

Asked by robmandu (21321points) September 2nd, 2011

I get that the MPAA is constantly working to improve the copy-protection technology of their movies. And I can see it’s a game of cat and mouse with the de-CSS software that’s available.

What I don’t get is how a DVD player purchased in 1996 is able to play the latest Disney (or Sony or WB, etc.) release without a hitch but my PC-based ripping software sometimes cannot (don’t know until I try). Hell, even the basic DVD player software on my PC shows the movie fine.

What is it about ripping software that’s so fundamentally different than the dedicated player?

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3 Answers

cheebdragon's avatar

You have a DVD player from 1996 that still works? I can only get mine to work for 2–3 years….

Zaku's avatar

It seems to me that although industry giants would love to be able to sell people only DVD players which would play known titles, they realize that shoppers would be peeved if they bought a DVD player which could only recognize DVD’s that existed when it was built. So DVD players don’t work by having a catalog of known titles and their valid security codes. They must either allow playing any disc with an appropriate format, or code data that complies with some formula, or it must update its security info somehow.

On a PC, software that is programmed to refuse to play some content, does so by looking at what is requested to be played, and seeing if it can find both an indication that it is something protected, and (sometimes) that the machine has what looks like a license to play it. The logic of those schemes varies. For example, some ripping software will just refuse to rip anything that has an IP tag on it. Others will just give a warning. Others will actually look for a digital license.

robmandu's avatar

But there’s plenty of software explicitly designed for ripping off the copy protection—DVD43 is the primary Windows-based example I think of.

So I can’t reconcile the logic of a software designed to remove copy protection also honoring some IP tag requesting not to do so.

Indeed, one example would be where I’ve seen the ripped-in movie’s chapters being read out of order… and the resulting video file randomly plays chapter 1 then jumps to play chapter 5 and on to 9 then to 3, etc.

I submit that’s not intentional on the ripper’s part… that’s buggy behavior that could either come from poor coding practice (always a possibility) or, and I think this likely, is instigated by some shenanigans by the publisher of the DVD caused by malforming the content in such a way as to trip up the ripping software… but not so bad as to affect a dedicated DVD playing device.

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