I hate DVDs so I bought a $13 DVD player




Yay! You bought something!

(I must be missing why you thought this was something worth sharing with the rest of us. External DVD players are definitely not anything new.)



I bought a $90 external blu-ray drive because I don’t have a TV, but wanted a way to play the discs on my computer.

And just last week, I bought a $50 USB TV tuner so I could watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. live rather than wait for it to show up on Hulu the next day. (I’m weak, what can I say?)

It is kind of fascinating the odd forms convergence takes sometimes, isn’t it? Someday I’ll buy a big-screen TV and mount it on the wall above my computer desk…and probably use it mainly as a huge monitor for video gaming and such.


Something I’ve come across in the UK are sellers selling ‘new’ external DVD drives in the same case as yours, but with used drives from old laptops in.


I bought a blu-ray player for the sole reason that I found the Firefly blu-ray on sale.


Cool story, bro…


You hate DVDs? Is there a story here?


I wondered that, too :wink:

I’m the reverse: still watch a lot of DVDs, but dislike streaming. I also passed a few hundred jpgs to my gf on a DVD-R last night; didn’t even consider anything cloud-based (and wouldn’t).


Mark’s probably aware of the technical reasons that they suck. The design was compromised in order to accommodate the DRM regimes of ultra-wealthy corporations. Thus you have unskippable FBI warnings, region encoding, hardware DRM enforcement… “features” that prioritize enhancing the wealth of the vendor (non-owner, non-creator) above the interests of the buyer (owner) and artist (creator) long after the sale.

These shortcomings can be obviated by ripping the DVDs, which is why the DVD vendors would sell their own children to make doing so a jailable offense.

Blu-ray are arguably even worse. CDs, despite their other technical shortcomings, did not have such nonsense literally engineered in on purpose (thanks Philips!) but CDs are too small for an HD movie.


I always played DVDs via VLC. No unskippable crap for me, and no zoning.

And we’re getting to the era, or possibly are already deep in, when a discarded laptop (crap battery, cracked screen, Just Too Old, etc…) can be put in service as a dedicated media player, with just minimum of effort.


I have a largish DVD collection and find it easier playing them then trying to find the movies on streaming services, plus I watch the extras. Even got a Blu-Ray player, I haven’t watched a Blu-Ray movie yet but it is so much nicer for Netflix than the old Wii. For reasons I won’t go into the best way for me to share photos with a relative is to put them on a DVD so she can then watch them on her Blu-Ray player (she has no internet access or even a computer). But back on point, if I want to watch something I don’t want to spend time figuring out which streaming service has it, and then find out they lost access to Battlestar Gallactica while I am half-way through watching it.


A lot of people who talk about their Apple products cannot describe them as phones, tablets, nor computers, but are compelled to refer to them by make and model.I liken it to rich folks that cannot say car or plane, but instead say they took their BMW to the shop or Gulfstream out for a putter.


A good thing to do is buying RTL-SDR TV dongles instead of Just Some Kind. Then, once you’re done with watching TV, you can putz around with software-defined radio.


I always played DVDs via VLC. No unskippable crap for me, and no zoning.

Yes, DVD is pretty thoroughly cracked, so the design compromises aren’t even useful for their original anti-consumer purposes. And thus the shift to Blu-Ray. Have you tried to build an unrestricted blu-ray media player from scratch yet? I have and it was painful! It’s really easiest to just use (thoroughly DRM’ed) Windows 7 or OSX, frankly… so I ended up dumpster-diving until I found a valid Win7 license.

I will be happy when blu-ray gets a comprehensive crack, even though I have no intention of violating the copyright of any artist ever. I just want blu-ray support in my XBMC boxen!


Do you mind explaining some more about this? I’ve read a bit, and it sounds like they only work for radio frequencies in the U.S. But to be honest, most of what I’ve read so far is technically beyond my understanding.


You obviously don’t have a Macbook with the shiity hardware region lock on the DVD drive - or you were brave enough to try flashing it to fix it.


Oh, and to speak to the original post: I’ve kept an old external CD/DVD-ROM drive from some laptop some time ago and that seems to work perfectly well if I need to play an actual disc on any computer-y screen I’ve got. I’m surprised someone who uses gadgets for a living wouldn’t have a substantial electronic graveyard in a closet or basement to pick through.


Brief version, more with links later. The dongles typically have two chips inside - tuner and baseband processor. The tuner is what is responsible for the frequency range it can listen on, the baseband is then processing the signal from the tuner and turning it into video/sound accessible via USB-audio/USB-video specification.

The Realtek chip behind RTL-SDR (the baseband one) can be turned into not serving processed video frames, but raw digitized baseband signal. So you can listen to unprocessed radio at a given frequency (with a few MHz, or maybe several 100s KHz bandwidth, I dont’ remember immediately). Then you can decode/demodulate it in software, on the computer. That’s what the GNU-Radio software is doing.

Very rough and incomplete explanation. More questions expected.


Thanks! So here’s your first follow-up question: why would someone in the U.S. turn off the video processing so they could only get radio? Wouldn’t video programs be one of the reasons to get the dongle?


Be careful with this, if you are from the US. From what I understand, the tuners that can be turned in SDRs are the EUROPEAN tuners. If you buy a European tuner, you can’t watch American TV. If you buy an American tuner, you can’t turn it into a SDR.

Of course some of the better SDR tuners are around $25, so you will not loose much by buying it.