Movie Night Blues

dvd-playerNeither Debbie or I have had any time to sit and watch movies since I returned to the UK from Florida at the end of July, most nights we both sit in the living room with the television on, but are both busy working on our laptops.  So, last week we decided to make Wednesday night Movie Night, since there isn’t really a lot to watch on television.

In preparation, on Sunday I tried some DVD’s in the DVD Player, to make sure it was working properly.  With not watching DVD’s a lot, I hadn’t bothered to check the connections etc since the Sky Technician came in to install the satellite dish a month ago (which is when we moved house), and having also just located and unpacked my collection of DVD’s from the USA, I wondered whether any of them would play or not.

The first thing I discovered on Sunday was that the DVD Player was not plugged in.  So with a struggle I managed to get the power plug out the back of the television cabinet (you almost have to be a contortionist), connected the Scart plug (UK standard television connector as against S-video), inserted a DVD and BINGO – it started to play fine.   I then tried various DVD’s from the USA (Region 1 encoded), and they played fine.  Ripped DVD’s and even a VCD I had purchased in the USA – also fine.  Brilliant!

Sunday afternoon I sat down to work on the laptop and thought some music would be nice, so I loaded up my DVD of Genesis Live At Wembley and settled down to reliving a great concert.  Got about 1/3 of the way through, when the picture suddenly froze.  Would the DVD player do anything?  Nope!   Opened and shut the drawer, and would it load?  Nope!   Well I gave up at that point, assuming my DVD was corrupted, even though it had only been played maybe 3 or 4 times before.

Fast forward with me to last night – Wednesday NightMovie Night

I came home from work, Debbie had dinner ready, we ate, and then I went to make sure the DVD would load.  Of course it wouldn’t, would it!   I tried 3 or 4 different DVD’s.  Every single one took 3 or 4 minutes of loading followed by the word Err0r on the display.  I unplugged the player, did all but shake it and kick it, but no joy.

So rather disgruntled, I went upstairs to get another low end DVD player that we have, pulled the old one out, plugged the new one in, and hoped that would work.  Now the new one is not quite as slimline as the old, so reachign into the cabinet to push the power plug out the back was almost impossible, but I finally managed it, and crossed my fingers.

Oh joy, this one powered on ok, started to load, but what’s this?  No front panel display at all!  Hmmm… It’s always nice to have a front panel display so you can see what’s happening.

Well the DVD loaded ok, so before we started to watch our movie, I decided to see if my DVD’s from the USA would load.  Well what do you think?  Of course they wouldn’t – not a single one of them, whether Region 1 encoded or Region free.   I was so disappointed…  The old DVD player, despite having only been used maybe a dozen times is past it’s warranty period, so there is no way to take it back.

However, the good news was that the movie we wanted to watch was working, and so we settled down together on the couch, turned out the lights, and started to watch.  Not even 10 minutes into the movie, it pauses for a few seconds, then skips back to a point about 5 minutes before.   I try to fast forward, hoping it’s a one-off glitch, but since it’s dark and I am unfamiliar with the buttons on the remote, I somehow stop the movie.  

So up I get, put the light on, hit the Menu button, skip forward to the correct scene, and start to watch again.

A few minutes later, the movie skips back a couple of minutes yet again.  Damn!  This time I know where the Fast Forward button is, zoom forward, and luckily this time the movie doesn’t skip back.

But only a few minutes after that, here we go again.  The movie freezes for several seconds, then jumps forward, we don’t know how far.   This was repeated at least a further ten times before the movie ended, with either pauses and jumps forward, or pauses and a jump back.   We really were getting frustrated, instead of enjoying a relaxing evening watching a movie.  This was after all a brand new disk that I had opened yesterday evening, so there is no reason to expect it to fail.  I suspect it’s having a cheap DVD player that is the problem.

So on my list for sometime after Christmas, when we might have enough money to justify it, we will be looking for a decent DVD player.  It will be sure to have a decent warranty period, maybe an additional warranty, especially since none of the DVD players that I have owned have lasted very long, and I see that as well as up-scaling for output to a High Definition Television (also on our wanted list for next year), many of the better DVD Players now have a USB port to accept input.   Since we have out home movies on the laptops and external Hard Drives, this seems like a good feature, saving us from having to burn the movies to DVD.

Well that is the story of our almost failed attempt at having  a romantic movie night at home.  I am sure many of you can relate to an experience like this.  Debbie and I would love to hear your stories.  Please feel free to leave a comment.

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