Which video player software allows users to be in control?


By Patrick   Follow   Sun, 11 Nov 2012, 7:30pm   794 views   18 comments
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If you've ever wanted to skip the bogus "FBI Warning" which the FBI does not put there, or jump directly to the beginning of a movie without watching previews, you know what I mean.

The DVD format has "UOPs" or "User Operation Prohibitions" which are intended to force you to watch the warnings, or the previews, or whatever they say, even though you bought the DVD and are playing it on your own computer. They disable skipping forward.

But I think there are some video players that actually give the user complete control, as it should be. Anyone know which ones those are, and where to get them?

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  1. TechGuy


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    1   9:27pm Sun 11 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    I don't know the answer to your question, but one way I might suggest starting a search would be by googling "region free DVD". Region free players allow users to play discs purchased anywhere in the world, an operation which is normally prohibited in most players on the market. Granted, that's not quite the aspect of user control that you said you were actually looking for, but if the thing you are looking for does exist, a niche retailer who carries the one is likely to carry the other.

  2. zzyzzx


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    2   9:32am Mon 12 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    I've personally never done this, but I would wonder if there is DVD copying software that might do this for you. You make the copy without the extra crap, then play this copy and keep the original version and never play it.

    Some interesting stuff here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_operation_prohibition

    Countermeasures
    Some DVD players ignore the UOP flag, allowing the user full control over DVD playback. Virtually all players that are not purpose-built DVD player hardware (for example, a player program running on a general purpose computer) ignore the flag. There are also modchips available for some standard DVD players for the same purpose. The UOP flag can be removed in DVD ripper software such as: DVD Decrypter, DVD Shrink, AnyDVD, AVS Video Converter, MacTheRipper, HandBrake and K9Copy. On many DVD players, pressing stop-stop-play will cause the DVD player to play the movie immediately, ignoring any UOP flags that would otherwise make advertisements, piracy warnings or trailers unskipable.[1]

    Nevertheless, removing UOP does not always provide navigation function in the restricted parts of the DVD. This is because those parts are sometimes lacking the navigation commands which allow skipping to the menu or other parts of the DVD. This has become more common in recent titles, in order to circumvent the UOP disabling that many applications or DVD players offer.

    Newer DVD players (c. late 2010) have, however, been designed to override the aforementioned counter-countermeasures. The DVD reader software inside the DVD player automatically generates chapters for parts of the DVD lacking navigation commands, allowing them to be fast-forwarded or skipped; pressing the menu button, even in these previously restricted sections, will cause a jump to the main menu.

  3. Patrick


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    3   10:49am Mon 12 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    zzyzzx says

    Newer DVD players (c. late 2010) have, however, been designed to override the aforementioned counter-countermeasures.

    Jeez, it's an arms race! The jerks who create DVDs are determined to grab your face in their sweaty hands and hold your eyelids open while they scream at you about piracy and why you should subject yourself to the same treatment in their forthcoming DVD. That just provides a bigger incentive to piracy, because then you get to skip their screaming and not pay them either.

    Anyway, I think VLC might do what I want:

    http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html

  4. Dan8267


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    4   11:28am Mon 12 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    If you've ever wanted to skip the bogus "FBI Warning" which the FBI does not put there, or jump directly to the beginning of a movie without watching previews, you know what I mean.

    If you hate that FBI segment that you can't fast-forward through, or any such control inhibiting functions, feel free to complain directly to the guy who invented and patented it. Here's his contact info:

    Max Abecassis

    He's currently running a company called Custom Play in Delray Beach, FL. Their product is a "playlist" player that lets you watch sections of Hollywood movies like "just the romantic scenes from Spiderman" or "just the smash scenes from the Hulk". How this is a viable business model is beyond me.

    Anyway, Max has at least two patents on putting a flag in DVDs and digital formats that prevent controls from being executed.
    http://www.google.com/patents/US6208805
    http://www.google.com/patents/US7054547

    How the hell putting in a boolean or a set of booleans in a file format to prohibit a function like fast-forwarding is patentable is beyond me. But evidently, I can patent using booleans as boolean flags. America's patent system is so fucked up.

    Personally, I think the non-skippable sections and the region control are the best motivation for making people use torrents instead of DVDs. There was an image showing all the steps you have to go through to play a DVD including waiting minutes for these b.s. warnings vs the one step of playing a DRM-free video file downloaded using a torrent or magnet file. Unfortunately, I can't find that image right now.

  5. Patrick


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    5   11:38am Mon 12 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Yes, I remember that image the last time this came up on the forum.

    America's patent system is probably the biggest impediment to innovation that we have. It's all about collecting an arsenal of stupid things to threaten your competitors with, and more importantly, to prevent any real innovator from competing with you from a garage somewhere.

    I'm pretty sure we have a lot more innovation with no patents at all.

  6. Dan8267


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    6   12:02pm Mon 12 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    I'm pretty sure we have a lot more innovation with no patents at all.

    Absolutely. Patents may have served a legitimate purpose during the industrial revolution, but it sure as hell doesn't in the Information Age. Google doesn't need to patent its search algorithms and data. A factory doesn't need to patent its machinery. Value comes from continuously improving products and production, not resting on patents.

  7. zzyzzx


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    7   12:21pm Mon 12 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike  

    Obligatory:

  8. CaptainShuddup


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    8   12:52pm Mon 12 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    "And then they wonder why people don't buy their movies"

    I quit going to theaters when I saw commercials advertising General Mills products like I was watching Saturday morning Cartoons on network television. The ticket prices didn't help, but that was all the more reason, I would NOT expect to see commercial advertisements. We always gave coming attractions a pass, and those silent local advertisers while the lights are on, and we are waiting for the seating to fill before the screening.
    But a retail consumer advertisement? I'll never step foot in another theater as long as I live.

  9. Patrick


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    9   12:58pm Mon 12 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    CaptainShuddup says

    But a retail consumer advertisement? I'll never step foot in another theater as long as I live.

    I agree.

    It's a test. They want to see just how much shit you'll put up with in the theater, and they will keep increasing the shit until you actually don't come back.

  10. curious2


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    10   1:02pm Mon 12 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    Anyway, I think VLC might do what I want:

    http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html

    I was about to suggest VLC then saw you'd found it already. It's worked well for years.

    The only significant limitation is streaming, e.g. to a network TV. Videolan used to offer a separate program for streaming, but that feature is now folded into VLC. The limitation is, you have to start the stream from the computer, unlike other video players (e.g. Windows Media Player) that allow the TV to navigate available files. VLC has broader file compatibility than Windows Media Player though, so it's a tradeoff.

    Someday I'd like to find video player software that combines the streaming capability of Windows Media Player with the file compatibility of VLC.

  11. justme


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    11   1:07pm Mon 12 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Well, on the topic of DVD players, I have a different gripe:

    THEY TAKE FOREVER TO BOOT !!

    It takes minutes from the time of power-up until the tray will open and you can stick a disk in there.

    Remember good old CD players? They just pop open, you stick the disk in, and hit the play button.

    Something went really wrong somewhere along the way.

  12. Patrick


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    12   1:16pm Mon 12 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    I like watching movies on laptops now. At first it felt a bit odd, but then I realized I could easily move the laptop anywhere, and it has its own power. Maybe sometimes I connect it to speakers, the screen is fine for me.

    So when my last DVD player died a few years ago, I got rid of it along with the TV, which was analog anyway.

  13. justme


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    13   1:41pm Mon 12 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    So, you also have a DVD player that takes forever to boot :-)

  14. Dan8267


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    14   3:25pm Mon 12 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike  

    zzyzzx says

    Obligatory

    Except replace "insert DVD" with "double-click file". No external discs are required.

  15. Patrick


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    15   3:52pm Mon 12 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    justme says

    So, you also have a DVD player that takes forever to boot :-)

    But I never turn it off!

  16. zzyzzx


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    16   4:49pm Mon 12 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    I agree.
    It's a test. They want to see just how much shit you'll put up with in the theater, and they will keep increasing the shit until you actually don't come back.

    I agree, plus the constant remakes aren't helping either. I wish I could convince more people to not go to the theater.

  17. zzyzzx


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    17   5:08pm Mon 12 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    zzyzzx says

    On many DVD players, pressing stop-stop-play will cause the DVD player to play the movie immediately.

    Makes me wonder if anyone has compiled a list.

  18. CaptainShuddup


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    18   5:25pm Mon 12 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    When I had Netflix I run the HDMI out to the LED TV. I would run it split screen, and had no problem multitasking on my computer while the movie was playing. I was always amazed how well it worked, it was like the Movie was streaming on a separate box.
    I could query a database, compile an application, surf the net, and the movie never missed a beat.

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