Stuff Yaron Finds Interesting

Technology, Politics, Food, Finance, etc.

OS X – Can't even play a Full Screen DVD?

Is it so much to ask that my multi-thousand dollar Mac G5 OS X box be able to play a DVD full screen from end to end without completely toasting the machine? The answer is apparently yes.

I recently purchased a DVD and wanted to play it on my OS X box. So I slipped it in, the DVD player came up and I had a beautiful full screen show to enjoy. Everything was fine for a while until the screen froze, the keyboard stopped working and the sound just endlessly looped, a so called stuttering freeze. In the end the only way I could get things going again was to physically remove the power cord because nothing else, including the power button on the case, did anything.

After the reboot (something I'm growing increasingly used to since just about every Apple update requires a reboot) I fast forwarded to where the film left off. This time I was more paranoid. I maximized and un-maximized the screen. I moved the mouse occasionally just to make sure the computer was active. Everything seemed just fine. Until it happened again and I had to yank the power cord for the second time.

Apparently Apple can't figure out how to run a simple DVD. $3000 and they can't figure out how to show a DVD without hanging the computer? BTW, the DVD is OUTFOXED, a professionally produced DVD. But even if it was something I had burned, the system shouldn't be crashing. Come on, for three grand I expect a machine that can actually play a DVD. This is pathetic and completely unacceptable. Apple supposedly prides itself on its multi-media capabilities and they can't run a DVD from start to end without crashing twice?

In the end the only way I could figure out how to see the DVD without crashing my machine was to view it in a window instead of full screen, that seems to stop the crashing behavior. I spent an enormous amount of money on my OS X box because I was sick of all the problems with my Linux and Windows boxes. But the irony is that Marina and I have been using her WinXP laptop for the last few years as a portable DVD player without problem.

Yes, I still love my Mac. But this is just unacceptable. Being able to run a DVD full screen shouldn't be a stressful experience on a Mac. The whole point of paying literally three times more than an equivalent Windows box is to get the quality and when it comes to DVDs, the quality isn't there.

2 Responses to OS X – Can't even play a Full Screen DVD?

  1. Petri Sirkkala says:

    It might also be that the hardware is defective. That happens with computers sometimes, you know.

    If for example the display adapter might be slightly degraded, it might hang while it is busy painting movie frames at the rate of 30 frames per second.

    The fact that the freeze happens twice at the same spot, might still be a coincidence. Or it might be some other piece of digital marwel not quite feeling all right.

    Obviously the software did render a few thousand frames correctly before that freeze :)

    And you might try to hold the power button down for 7 seconds or so instead of pulling the plug.

    -Pete

  2. Administrator says:

    Yeah, I found out later about the 7 second issue. As for hardware defect, it seems a bit odd that some DVDs would have the problem and others would not. Also, I vaguely remember reading that one of the OS X updates actually identified DVD issues as a problem. In any case I haven’t had any issues since but, then again, I haven’t been playing movies either.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *