2 Q's on DVDs: a) Stop Pixelation b) Play Right!

a) What causes my DVD to sometimes freeze up and the picture seems to break up into pixels (little squares)? Is this a flaw in the DVD or my (cheap) DVD player?

b) I have a DVD of TV episodes, but I have to return to main menu after each episode to advance to the next. Why??? Is there some way the DVD can just play straight-through? Ug! All these bells and whistles are such a pain! Surely, there must be some option I missed…


  • Jinx

A) A scratch, dust, or other problem causes decoding of the compressed video to fail. Since the compression used in DVDs stores just the differences between frames, the image defects will persist until the next complete, undamaged stored frame is decoded. Clean the DVD, if the problem persists, it’s the player. You might try cleaning the lens.

B) Because the people who made the DVD are idiots. A common problem.

“Is this a flaw in the DVD or my (cheap) DVD player?”

Which player is that? Whats the name of the dvd you are playing? Also, is this with all of your dvds or just one? Be sure the disk is absolutely clean too.

A friend had a freezing problem that he traced to an overheating DVD player, because of a tightly packed and poorly ventilated entertainment center. The fact that the player was an older model probably was a factor too. If this happens regularly with any discs after watching them for a certain period of time you might have a similar problem.

Sorry it took so long to reply: I bought an Apex player - a WalMart bargain basement special last Christmas. From my experience with CD players, they’ll all poop out on you eventually, so don’t waste the money (as I did) on a top-end model.

My problem is with MAS*H DVDs which are brand new. Overheating isn’t a bad guess, but the problem corrects itself, so this wouldn’t explain my specific problem.

So, could it be the cheapy player? Does a DVD player have an equivalent to how a better CD players offer 8x oversampling, for example? (I have noticed the cheaper CD players - with less oversampling - are not as good about reading the CD.)

Please share your experiences with your DVD player. What brand, and how you’d rank the model (cheapy/average/top). I wonder if it worth a little bit extra…before I run out to buy my next DVD player. - Jinx

#1 - Definitely sounds like a problem with the discs. If they aren’t scratched or dirty, you might want to try boiling them (!)… apparently that solved some problems with the older Xbox DVDs.

#2 - Some players will let you program a list of titles/chapters to play in order. You should be able to bypass the menu by programming your own title playlist.

Experiences - Mine is a Norcent DP300 that can be found for about $50. The menus are ugly, but it’ll play anything round with a hole in the middle (DVD+RW, SVCD, CD with a bunch of MPG files on it… I haven’t tried a bagel yet) and it’s region hackable. Overall it’s about 5 times the DVD player that my old Panasonic A110 is, for 1/6 the price.

I have a region-free Malata DVP-520. It too will play any disc you can throw at it - NTSC R1 DVDs, PAL R2-4 DVDs, VCDs, SVCDs, MP3 CDs, you name it!

While most players do have programming ability, it’s usually easier just to click on the “play all” button on the menu - if the people that programed the DVD titles were kind enough to make that an option. FWIW, the first two seasons of “The Simpsons” DVDs do not have this feature but season three does.