What Could Be Wrong With These DVDs?

I bought three used DVD movies from our local video store chain. Movie A worked perfectly. Movies B and C faded in and out-- the color was all screwed up, with the image becomming darker and redder in regular waves.

I returned movies B and C, and got two different copies (picked them off the shelf myself, so I know I got different copies.) Both did the same thing.

I don’t think it’s my DVD player’s fault. We watched movie A with no problems, and we also watched another movie from our collection.

What could be the problem? Hubby wondered if somehow movies B and C were in a different format, or something, but I didn’t see any indication of that from the cases.

Does your DVD player connect directly to the TV, or are you running it through the Video In/Video Out connectors on a VCR?

In the latter scenario, some DVDs with copy protection will act just as you describe.

Bingo! We may have a winner!

It’s an older TV, and Hubby had to use some creative cabling to hook up the DVD player-- I think he even borrowed an adapter from our gaming system.

Thank you so much. I never thought of that!

My sister had the same problem, hooking up the DVD player through a VCR, because her TV only had one coaxial input. It’s due to copy protection on the DVD (macrovision).

Apparently she bought some adapter to make it work, but I don’t know what it was or where she bought it (and she doesn’t remember either). I know they sell boxes at Radio Shack to hook up a DVD player to a coaxial input, but I’m not sure if it fixes this problem as well.

Yep. If you copy a Macrovision-protected DVD to a VHS tape and then play back the VHS tape, that’s exactly how it will look on anyone’s TV. Macrovision explots two features of modern A/V equipment: The overscan area of video tape, and your VCR’s AGC (automatic gain control). AGC’s purpose is to brighten dark scenes and darken bright scenes in order to maintain a good, visible image throughout. Macrovision encodes alternately bright white and dark black into the non-visible overscan portion of the frame on the video tape. The VCR’s AGC picks up on this and, thinking that the scene is alternately bright and dark, ends up sending the gain all over the place, resulting in constant light-dark shifts in the image.

If you are running your DVD player through your VCR, you’ll get the same effect on a Macrovision-protected DVD as if you were watching a copy of it from VHS.

Hmm… is that always the case??

I’m not aware of the copy-protection details, but I run my DVD player through my VCR… (my TV doesn’t really have the right hookups for it unless I used a coaxial splitter,) but I’ve never really noticed any problems with any DVDs… unless I do something on the VCR that actually involves moving the tape.

If I start playing a tape, the DVD image will go all wonky for a bit before whatever’s on the tape starts playing, and again after I’ve stopped it. What I see will definitely get odd if I try to record, or even wind the tape one way or t’other. But if I leave the VCR completely alone, on its special input channel, and just watch… great picture.

That always seemed a little odd, but I never really asked because it was pretty easy to live with.

It may not always be the case. It would depend on whether or not the VCR unit activates AGC for auxiliary input and if so, whether is does so on both A/V, S-Video and coax. Some devices may just use AGC when playing a VHS tape. This, however, is a complete WAG.

What you need is an RF Modulator. This will take the video and audio from your DVD player and convert it to an RF signal on a coaxial cable (usually on channel 3 or 4) that you can hook up to the back of your TV and eliminate the Macrovision problems.

Well now, I just learned that the “defective” DVD player I religated to the closet floor is most likely not defective at all. Nice. Too bad a purchased a TV with built in DVD to replace it. :smack: