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DVD Decoder for PC (and Mac?)

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Bob Cole
DVD Decoder for PC (and Mac?)
on Sep 3, 2005 at 12:51:00 am

I'm taking baby steps on a DVD for playback on computers.

Baby Step 1: For a PC, I need a DVD Decoder. From the Archives of this site I learned that they vary greatly in quality; I'd appreciate a recommendation on one with good quality and more importantly, good behavior (i.e. doesn't constantly "poll" the DVD drive).

Baby Step 2: I just installed eDVD4 but haven't yet used it. When I try to play a DVD that I authored in Adobe Encore, Windows Media Player tells me I need a DVD Decoder. If I were to author using eDVD 4, would a separate DVD Decoder be unnecessary?

Baby Step 3: Mac! I don't have a Mac here, and would appreciate feedback about (a) playing back on a Mac a simple DVD (non-eDVD4) on a Mac, and (b) playing back on a Mac a DVD authored with Encore/eDVD4.

Thank you very much for any advice you have the time to give.

-- BC


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Dave Friend
Re: DVD Decoder for PC (and Mac?)
on Sep 3, 2005 at 5:25:56 am

Bob,

I've been reasonably happy with WinDVD for playback. I know others who think that Sonic's DVD player is great. The price is fair compared to some.

You still need a decoder even with eDVD. The interActual player (part of the eDVD scheme) relies on the decoding software you provide and does not provide any itself.

AFAIK, any late model mac is good to go for DVD playback. I too am curious about how the eDVD thing works on a mac.

I've been doing some work with eDVD4 this last week or so. There are a couple things about it that make me nuts. By the way, check out the README.htm file it puts on the DVD disc for the end-user. It uses the wrong file name for manually installing should the auto-install not work. The real kicker is you can't edit the README file before burning to the disc. If you do the interactual player gives an error saying the image is invalid. It's a real pain in the a__. Of course my client had trouble - auto install failed - and the bad info in the readme made me look not so good. I'm still trying recover the face lost on that incident. Other than that the eDVD thing works pretty well - when it works at all. Have fun.

Dave

Dave Friend
Co-Host discreet edit COW
and
discreet combustion COW


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Bob Cole
Re: DVD Decoder for PC (and Mac?)
on Sep 4, 2005 at 10:59:31 pm

[Dave Friend] "By the way, check out the README.htm file it puts on the DVD disc for the end-user. It uses the wrong file name for manually installing should the auto-install not work. The real kicker is you can't edit the README file before burning to the disc. If you do the interactual player gives an error saying the image is invalid. It's a real pain in the a__. Of course my client had trouble - auto install failed - and the bad info in the readme made me look not so good. I'm still trying recover the face lost on that incident. Other than that the eDVD thing works pretty well - when it works at all. Have fun."

Well that's very interesting. Have you written a correct installation guide? I was thinking of enclosing a piece of paper (paper!) with guidance for computer use, for both PC and Mac problems. I don't see why we should have to do this.... unpaid staff of Sonic.

Have you succeeded in contacting Sonic about this, or do you think they even care? I tried to write an e-mail to Sonic through their website, but their support process must have been designed by a maker of blood pressure medicine, as it requires, then rejects a correct serial number, tells you you haven't registered days after you have, and sends you in a continual loop, until you realize that (even though the eDVD link sends you there) eDVD is NOT listed as one of their "professional" products. I gave up.

-- B


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Dave Friend
Re: DVD Decoder for PC (and Mac?)
on Sep 5, 2005 at 2:02:08 pm

[Bob Cole] "I gave up."

As did I after having the exact same experience you describe. Shameful. Makes Sonic look like a joke of a company.

Dave


Dave Friend
Co-Host discreet edit COW
and
discreet combustion COW


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Bob Cole
alternatives to eDVD4?
on Sep 5, 2005 at 11:31:53 pm

So, given its shortcomings, I assume there is no alternative to eDVD4 for adding DVD-ROM content, seamlessly, to a DVD that will also play on a DVD player. I understand that Macromedia Director can be used for this, with steep learning-curve effort -- and for all I know, Director may soon be orphaned anyway in the Adobe buyout.

Or, is there a forum out there which has some eDVD gurus?

-- BC


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WTS(JManz)
Re: alternatives to eDVD4?
on Sep 6, 2005 at 1:23:20 pm

What is your question in regards to eDVD4? For the time being, and probably for some time in the future, it is the defacto option for adding interactive ROM contact with a DVD video project (at least for the 'masses'). It's a fairly straight forward app, once you understand the process of how it works and interacts with your dvd video.

Jim


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Bob Cole
Re: alternatives to eDVD4?
on Sep 6, 2005 at 5:03:01 pm

[WTS(JManz)] "What is your question in regards to eDVD4?"


I'm referring to the problems Dave Friend mentions in his post above.

-- BC


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WTS(JManz)
Re: alternatives to eDVD4?
on Sep 6, 2005 at 6:50:38 pm

What problems are those? I saw his post, but IMO, the install process is pretty straight forward, and loads better than using Apple's DVD@ccess (at least on a PC). The IA technology is currently used on a wide variety of Hollywood discs, and many computers already have the IA player installed. DVD-ROM content access from within the viewing experience of a DVD-Video disc was and is not a part of the original dvd specs. The dvd specs have pretty much made it possible that if you have a dvd player on a computer (with a dvd decoder) or set top player AND a compliant dvd-video disc--it should play. It requires fairly strict definitions and agreement on all partners in such an endeavor to make sure that it's more a less a universal experience. Even with such wide spread agreement, one still runs into issues from time to time. Accessing DVD-Rom content like you want is an adaptation of what the specs allow, and for that reason, doesn't hold the same degree of acceptance. In fact, you can't access the features on a set top player, only on a computer--and not every computer, but ones that meet the minimal specs (PC or Mac).

If you are looking for the Holy Grail application for adding ROM content, you unfortunately aren't going to find it. If you want something that works for the most part, and IMO does, then eDVD 4 is your best bet. If you are authoring for Mac's and PC's, then there are some file/folder associations that require the mastering on a Mac to maintain the resource forks necessary for it to work (launching of a folder or Mac executable). Otherwise, the other file types work well mastered/burned from either platform.

Jim


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Bob Cole
Re: alternatives to eDVD4?
on Sep 6, 2005 at 9:33:24 pm

[WTS(JManz)] "If you are authoring for Mac's and PC's, then there are some file/folder associations that require the mastering on a Mac to maintain the resource forks necessary for it to work (launching of a folder or Mac executable). Otherwise, the other file types work well mastered/burned from either platform."

Thanks for the interesting post. I would like to read more specifics about "mastering on a Mac," or in any event, how to avoid problems for Mac users.

My frustration with Sonic is due to their cavalier attitude to customer service, as exemplified by a website which leads you down a garden path, promising help, only to leave you at a dead end. It refuses to accept your registration, then refuses to allow you access not only to information, but also to e-mail, because you aren't registered. The online manual lacks clarity and a tutorial; if it weren't for the COW tutorial I'd be outta luck.

I like the software and appreciate it all the more after your enlightening post. If you can point me to some online resources I'd most appreciate it.

-- BC


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WTS(JManz)
Re: alternatives to eDVD4?
on Sep 6, 2005 at 11:06:36 pm

I don't know of any additional on line resources as of yet other than Alex A's excellent review/how-to. The above reference is from the manual, and from my own personal experience. There are two link types that require disc output on a Mac either directly from DVDSP or by using Toast. They are links to Mac executables (which makes sense), and launching folders. If you are creating links that don't involve either of those two, then you can output from a PC. You could post here if you have questions regarding eDVD4 and I'll try to answer them the best I can.

Jim


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Bob Cole
Thanks -- let's make this the place for eDVD4
on Sep 7, 2005 at 3:47:02 pm

Thanks. Alex's article is great -- it really saved my hide this week. It is a little outdated, but not in any crippling way.

-- BC


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digitalideations
Re: Thanks -- let's make this the place for eDVD4
on Sep 7, 2005 at 9:39:55 pm

Bob,

I appreciate your pointing out the readme issue. This is a legacy file from IA Player 2.0 that was never updated when IA Player 2.6 replaced it in eDVD 4. Should be able to correct that in the forthcoming eDVD 4.1 release. I also appreciate your pointing out that eDVD is not listed in the Pro products support area. Both very helpful.

My apologies for the inconveniences you have incurred. I am available to answer questions you may have.

Best regards,

Scott Epstein
eDVD Product Manager


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Bob Cole
Re: Thanks -- let's make this the place for eDVD4
on Sep 9, 2005 at 2:12:14 am

[digitalideations] "I appreciate your pointing out the readme issue."

Actually that was the astute Dave Friend.

But thanks very much indeed for introducing yourself and taking these comments so constructively. I appreciate it.

Great software + Great support? Sounds wonderful.

-- Bob Cole


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Dave Friend
Re: Thanks -- let's make this the place for eDVD4
on Sep 12, 2005 at 4:11:29 pm

Hi Scott,

Thanks for taking notice and responding.

I would really like to login to SonicOnline but it insists that I don't have a registered email. Correct me if I am wrong, but I recall the install of eDVD offering (insisting on?) registration and I'm quite certain I did. If I am wrong and did not register as part of the install I would register on the Sonic website - if there was any way to do so!

In the mean time I have a client who is more than a little put-off by the discrepancy in the readme file. I need an immediate fix. This issue is about to cost my company a contract worth tens of thousands - and potentially much, much more. I need a hero.

Dave Friend
Precision Powerhouse
Minneapolis
612-333-9111
davidf@power-house.com


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Dave Friend
UPDATE ...the place for eDVD4
on Sep 13, 2005 at 2:22:16 pm

I want to report that Sonic has contacted me and been very helpful. It is fantastic to see a company respond to end-user problems voiced in an open and public arena like the COW. In particular, eDVD Product Manager Scott Epstein's efforts on my behalf have been outstanding. He has offered ideas to work around the readme file discrepancy (only needed until the upcoming update is released) and provided other information that has helped me win back my client


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