Thursday, March 27, 2008


How difficult can it be to buy a DVD player?

The Goat's three-year-old machine suddenly went wrong last week. Mid-movie, it decided that it didn't want to play discs any more and 'No Disc' appeared. The disc would spin up OK but refuse to play. Cleaning the reader lens had precisely zero effect, and the quote from the shop to open the box, investigate and probably install a new laser was going to exceed by far the cost of a new unit. Always assuming that the spare parts are coming in Dubai, that is.

So here are the requirements:-

  • Region free. In the multinational household of the Crumbling Villa, half the DVDs are Region 1 and most of the others are Region 2.

  • 5.1 surround sound. This input to the home theatre audio system is a must.

  • S-video. Needed in order to display the picture on the telly at reasonable quality.

    The Goat and his Beloved Wife spent all Wednesday evening trawling through every electronics shop in Festival Centre and Deira City Centre. Every DVD player we looked at didn't have all of the above features. The quest for a Blu-ray player was abandoned when it quickly became apparent that none of these were region-free.

    I have been shopping in Dubai before. Prepared and armed with a Region 1 and a Region 2 disc, it was possible to demonstrate on several occasions in different shops that variations on a theme of "Yes sir, it's region-free" actually meant "This unit won't play Region 1 discs."

    And then, at nearly midnight we found a horrid al-cheabo Chinese player that purported to do everything I wanted. Perhaps this would suffice until a multi-region Blu-ray player appeared in the local market in a year or so. However, this Cyber-Home DVD-300 (who?) is going back to Carrefour this evening. Four of the six audio outputs produce precisely nothing. Another evening wasted. Grump, grump, grump.


    the real nick said...

    "not coming in Dubai"

    LMAO! This always makes me smile. Sir, this is not coming in Dubai...

    Almost as good as the 'parking in backside'

    Keefieboy said...

    Ach, stay at home and read a good book!

    LawfulGoodOfCowplain said...

    Suitable card for your PC and the DVD drive therein?

    Grumpy Goat said...

    I have ordered it. Hopefully your autograph will be within.

    Desktop has no DVD;
    Laptop DVD is not region-free;
    Neither have 5.1 surround sound.

    Fcek! Asre! Drnik!

    dubaibilly said...

    When we had one of these 5.1 surround sound home theatre thingy's it came as part of the video/dvd whotsit. When that decided that its three-score weeks and ten were up we realised that we had to buy something new. We wanted to buy a dvd recorder into which we could plug all the speakers from the old thing. Got the dvd recorder but as for the speakers - not a chance, just can't do it, come back next year, sir, not here, not yet sir, try bangkok or manchester, we ain't got any. Now the only sound we get comes out of the built in speakers on the TV - and they are beginning to get on a bit... Gonna have to learn to lip read I think.

    Gnomad said...

    I have had the same experience with the outright lies told by vendors in the gulf region. "It will do so and so" rapidly turns into "well actually it doesnt" when tested and then into "well we can open the box and fiddle inside and make it so that it will do so so" but this of course would totally invalidate the manufacturers warranty (for what its worth out here) and you can bet you're bottom dollar that the "fix" wouldn't work anyhow.

    Order one via mail-order from New Zealand. In New Zealand, I hear, the restriction of regions on DVD players to only one region is regarded by Trading Standards as a restrictive practice (which it is) and is therefore illegal (as it should be).

    Keefieboy said...

    Goatboy: I know you've ordered it. I personally singed it and the mappe and took to El Post Office!

    This DVD regionalisation stuff is shite though. Are they persisting with the with Bloo-Ray? Don't they ever learn?

    nzm said...

    Harmon Kardon should be able to meet your needs.

    We bought a 5.1 surround system with the DVD-22 player from their store located down from the Fairmont Hotel - towards the Defense Roundabout.

    The specs for the player say Zone 2, but there is a way to change this to a multi region player. Jen did it for ours, so it can't be too hard!

    This might also help - or this.

    nzm said...

    Also this site: DVD hacks.

    Jayne said...

    It's all way too technical for me. Hubs has got the TV linked to a dual decoder, which is linked to the DVD player & surround sound. He knows exactly what its all about, whereas I'm quite happy to switch the TV on/off & swear profusely when I have to flick between tv/av/dvd/fishtank in order to watch a simple film, purchased from the nice Chinese lady! *sigh*

    nzm said...

    jeez Jayne - I think that you just might have given Grumpy an idea re hooking up his fishtank to the sound system.

    He'll be able to hear the shrimp clicking its claws in surround sound!

    Mme Cyn said...

    Thank you, M. That's just what his wife suggested he do, and in the end, just what he did. Works a treat.

    Watched "Stardust" onthe new player yesterday -- fabulous film (of course, this fab film is not comning in Dubai yet... it's one of those pesky Region Ones I ordered from Amazon.)

    nzm said...

    You're welcome, Mme Cyn. I guess that the years of living as a solitary goat have not taught Grumpy that some women do have some good ideas sometimes.

    Slowly but surely we vill make zem understand!

    Stardust is a great movie. I loved it and had to borrow a friend's daughter to take her to see it, just so that I could see it for a second time! Robert De Niro is just superb as the gay pirate captain. T'would make an excellent panto!

    Grumpy Goat said...

    Thank you, ladies, for your vote of confidence.

    Not only are The Powers That Be persisting with Regions 1 to 6 for DVDs, Blu-Ray discs are Region A (Americas, south east Asia and Japan), Region B (Europe, Africa, the Middle East, French Guiana and Antipodea, and Region C (Siberia and China).

    Thus Blu-Ray Japanese anime (for example) is forbidden to anyone in Europe, Africa, China, Russia and Australia. Yes, yes, I know cartoons don't warrant the extra double-plus high definition that Blu-Ray provides, but that isn't really the point, is it?
    Scroll down for the map of regions


    The opinions expressed in this weblog are the works of the Grumpy Goat, and are not necessarily the opinions shared by any person or organisation who may be referenced. Come to that, the opinions may not even be those of the Grumpy Goat, who could just be playing Devil's Advocate. Some posts may be of parody or satyrical [sic] nature. Nothing herein should be taken too seriously. The Grumpy Goat would prefer that offensive language or opinions not be posted in the comments. Offensive comments may be subject to deletion at the Grumpy Goat's sole discretion. The Grumpy Goat is not responsible for the content of other blogs or websites that are linked from this weblog. No goats were harmed in the making of this blog. Any resemblance to individuals or organisations mentioned herein and those that actually exist may or may not be intentional. May contain nuts.