Hmm, learned something interesting last night. I’ve been testing a couple of the new wave of ultra-cheap home DVD movie players – which here in the UK are retailing for around £38.00 and in the US for $40.00? – and discovered that some of them appear to have almost no error correction buffering on-board.
The symptom is that the DVD, in this case a mildly used rental Truth About Cats & Dogs, simply stops playing. Repeatedly. This makes it unusable, because you need to keep pressing Play repeatedly to jog it back into motion. I took the same DVD out and put it into my Wharfdale test machine and it worked perfectly.
A close examination of the disc itself showed no serious scratches or dirt, just a few areas showing wear marks, almost like light scuffing. This problem had already occurred before, but I had put it down to dirty or duff discs and thought no more about it.
This is important because cheapo DVDs will almost certainly be the Xmas pressie of the year (along with cheapo digicams), and there’s going to be a lot of moaning and a-groaning from users once their rental DVDs start to play up en masse in January.