Why no programmable DVDs?

This might be a really stupid question with an obvious answer. But bear with me.

I’d like to be able to progamme my DVD player so that I can miss out certain scenes in films. Much like you can programme a CD player to play tracks in a certain order. For example, I’d like to programme it to cut out the sentimental bookmark scenes in Saving Private Ryan. If I can skip scenes and jump to scenes manually, how come I can’t do that?

I understand that directors and films studios want you to see films the way they intend you to see them and want to control that. But that’s much the same with album compilators, surely?


Actually, what you describe can, and has, been implemented at the DVD authoring stage. It’s called seemless branching and has often been used to provide rated and unrated cuts of the same movie on one DVD. I believe David Cronenberg’s Crash is one such example.

This can also be done on computer DVD-ROMs with various DVD software applications. The software DVD frontend player that I use, Zoomplayer, allows you to set your own chapter break points in a playlist.

I imagine that this would be difficult to implement in standalone, hardware DVD players and would require extra programming and RAM that could lead to problems with compatability.

For more info, check out the DVD FAQ.

Just my WAG, but I guess there is very little demand for it. Programmability makes sense for a CD player, but would you really want, say, shuffle play on a DVD player? It certainly COULD be done, but not enough customers have asked for it, so they don’t bother doing it.

I guess another reason they don’t do it is because it’s usually not so effective (filmwise) to segue from one scene to another further on in the film.

I imagine a lot of work goes into ensuring that the scenes flow nicely together (but I’m no expert) and that by taking out a scene this would reduce the effectiveness of the film. Obviously this would vary from film to film.

Also, the size of scene blocks varies from DVD. Sometimes there are scenes that are very long and it would be impossible to skip anyway.

Having said that, I can’t see any obvious reason why more DVD players (not the software on the DVD) don’t allow this as a feature, like the CD players you mention.

I have a Panasonic e30 dvd recorder, it lets you make your very own dvd PLAY LISTs…up to about a thousand scenes. Play in any order you want, rearrange scenes, etc.

I think my DVD player, the Norcent DP300, can do it. You can find them for $50-$70 online or at Wal-Mart.

I’ve got a JVC that has this feature, although I haven’t used it yet.

Perhaps someday I’ll check it out on a music DVD.

Has anyone tried this to add deleted scenes back into a film?