What's wrong with my DVD player?

I was given a Toshiba DVD player for Christmas (~$89, not the top of the line). I bought The Matrix, and it runs perfect. But I’ve rented Monster’s Inc and now Almost Famous, and both movies fade light to dark, then dark to light, every 5-10 seconds or so for the entire movies. How could The Matrix run perfect yet other movies not? Where does my problem lie, with the disc itself or with the DVD player?

Dont’ jump to any conclusions - but dark to light sounds like one of the things that happens on pirated films. (but only tapes. I have not heard of it happening on pirated DVDs)

Does the volume stay at the same level?

Are you connected to the TV via a scart lead? My DVD player broadcasts to two of the TV’s non-aerial channels. one is perfect, the other is dodgy. so maybe you simply have the wrong channel selected

The symptoms you describe are identical to the effect that Macrovision copy protection has when you try to copy to videotape. If you are running the DVD player through your VCR, that’s the cause of the problem. Macrovison works by overloading the VCR’s automatic gain control, causing it to overcompensate for what it thinks is an excessively bright signal by darkening it, and it does this in cycles so that merely lowering the TVs brightness control won’t help.

The Matrix DVD apparently does not have Macrovision enabled. Macrovision is a lame-ass copy protection scheme that most DVDs use, but several major manufacturers don’t.
Your DVD player needs to be connected directly to your television inputs or else you will see this annoying problem. You can not run it through a VCR or other appliance.

You can buy “signal stabilizers” to put between your DVD player and VCR that will strip out the Macrovision protection. There are many illegitimate uses for such a device, but they are legal, and it seems you have a legitimate use for it.

If your TV doesn’t have baseband audio/video inputs (many older sets do not), you’ll need a device called an RF modulator to convert the DVD player’s baseband A/V to an RF signal on channel 3 or 4. These are available at most large consumer electronics chain stores.

Actually, I am running it through the VCR…this may be the problem. Thanks!

Yeah, I had the same problem when I first bought my DVD player - I picked up an RF Modulator and haven’t looked back.

yeah, you can sometimes run it through a vcr sucessfully. Until you try to copy it then the protection comes in. You need that $29 RF modulator.