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    Copy-protected DVDs

    Recently I got some DVDs that won't play on my PC drive. This is not unexpected, since there is a warning on the back of each package. But they play just fine on my set-top DVD player hooked up to the HDMI port on my TV set.

    I bought "Head of the Class" where Howard Hesseman [WKRP in Cincinnati] teaches a class of extra-smart students. I also bought "Ode to Billy Joe", a 1976 movie.

    All of these appear to be released by Warner Brothers. Rumor has it DVDs from several movie studios have a root directory that contains extra entries of non-existent files that add up to 40 Gigabytes of files, even though a dual-layer disc has only 8.5 GB capacity. But since the drive (and the OS) is acting strangely, I cannot prove this.

    Can I use a disc editor to FORCE the computer (Win7 OR Linux) to let me see the hex info on an optical drive the same as a spinner or SSD? Could I get a directory listing?

    I *_MIGHT_* want to make one copy, for backup or archival purposes. I would definitely like to watch the DVDs on my computer (Win7 or Linux). I am NOT going to make copies and sell them on the street. That is illegal, and Warner Brothers would sue me.

    #2
    Re: Copy-protected DVDs

    not sure but might be worth a try using a virtual drive . used to use one years ago for some reason . my memory is lacking these days .

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      #3
      Re: Copy-protected DVDs

      DVD Decrypter is an oldie but a goodie.
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        #4
        Re: Copy-protected DVDs

        I've yet to run into any DVDs that wouldn't play on a PC, but I have seen some of the "ghost directory" ones you mentioned that can't be (easily) ripped unless the utility used for ripping is specifically built to handle this. I've yet to find a DVD that WinX DVD Ripper Platinum couldn't rip, however it is a paid program (and they've raised the price substantially since I bought a lifetime license several years ago). There is also a free version of WinX DVD Ripper but it is more limited and doesn't claim to support ripping DVDs with the latest copy protection.

        Is the disc even being read by the optical drive? If it isn't even being read (vs. being read but not playable/recognized as a dvd video), then software alone many not fix the issue. I have noticed that some drives can be more "picky" reading discs than others.
        Last edited by dmill89; 10-01-2023, 10:13 PM.

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          #5
          Re: Copy-protected DVDs

          be VERY carefull putting comercial discs into a windows machine that has auto-boot/play enabled!

          sony got sued in the past for putting a fucking rootkit onto music cd's that booted on windows and patched it's optical drive code to ~NOT play comercial discs!!

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            #6
            Re: Copy-protected DVDs

            Okay, I figured it out. I removed the LiteOn SH-222 and installed the LiteOn SH-224 (Lightscribe?), new out of the box. The DVDs in question played immediately, and I could see the "AUDIO_TS" and "VIDEO_TS" directories with a file manager. So they are perfectly normal DVDs (unless the DVDs are doing something weird, like not using CSS on the first 1-gigabyte .VOB file but using it on the others). Yes, I'll have to figure out how to disable the autoplay in Win7.

            When I put the SH-222 back in, the problems returned. DVDs are not detected as being in the tray. When I tried to dupe a music CD, well, CDBurnerXP did not perform as expected. The progress bar was about halfway through when it stopped reading the disc, then "burned" nothing for the next 11 hours until I stopped it with Win7 Task Manager (at this point, I concluded the drive had probably failed, so I let it torture itself while I slept). The only thing the SH-222 can do is play Mike Rinder's audio-book. And yes, it looks like Simon and Schuster Publishing is using come weird copy - prevention stuff on their CDs.

            So the SH-222 is going into the garbage.

            I've yet to run into any DVDs that wouldn't play on a PC
            The final season of "Home Improvement" cannot be played on my PC drives (well, not with something ordinary like VLC Player or Windows Media Player). If I want to see the final season of Tim "The Toolman" Taylor blow up household appliances, it will have to be on my set-top DVD player. Touchstone is a branch of Disney, and "The Mouse" has adopted some DVD copy-prevention trickery.

            Thanks!
            Last edited by Hondaman; 10-05-2023, 10:41 AM.

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              #7
              Re: Copy-protected DVDs

              reflash the 222 with unlocked 224 code

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                #8
                Re: Copy-protected DVDs

                I use a combination of AnyDVD HD,CloneDVD2 and FixVTS to make legit backups. AnyDVD removes the copy protection on the fly, and copying the main movie with CloneDVD works ok.Copying a full DVD with the menus is a bit trickier, first you have to rip it with AnyDVD, then run FixVTS to fix the PGC`s (program group chains,broken links in the structure) then burn the disk with CloneDVD or some other software.
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                  #9
                  Re: Copy-protected DVDs

                  Thanks !! I'll try and grab some of these other software tools, just in case I need them.

                  reflash the 222...
                  I can do that? It has been so long, I can't remember (I don't even remember if I have Lightscribe, I know I have it on several spare units). I'll look into it. I have had these problems before, where it doesn't detect that a disc is present. One was on old EIDE CD/DVD burner, and another was my Toshiba D-R550 set-top unit (record ATSC 1.0 US TV programs onto DVD-R instead of VHS tape). Had to send the Toshiba back to the factory, never saw it again.

                  Thanks guys!

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                    #10
                    Re: Copy-protected DVDs

                    https://www.firmwarehq.com/Lite-On/drives.html
                    https://www.digitalvertigo.co.uk/for...on-dvd-burner/

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                      #11
                      Re: Copy-protected DVDs

                      Originally posted by Hondaman View Post
                      it doesn't detect that a disc is present.
                      if an optical drive does that, its considered a dead optical drive. i have a few that wont detect a disc.

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                        #12
                        Re: Copy-protected DVDs

                        Um... I might be wrong, but from what I looked up, SH-222 and SH-224 are Samsung drives, not Lite-on.
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                          #13
                          Re: Copy-protected DVDs

                          Funny I had the same thing just happen to me with an external drive. I just tossed it in the trash and put an old internal DVD drive i had laying around in my PC. Those things are all such cheap junk now it's no surprise they fail so easily.

                          I bought "Head of the Class" where Howard Hesseman [WKRP in Cincinnati] teaches a class of extra-smart students.
                          First mainstream appearance of Ex-Nickelodeon Producer Dan Schneider. Real pedo piece of work, that guy.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I had an adventure with DVD ripping recently while completely forgetting about this thread. It turned out that I had to switch to Windows 7 (on that shitty Toshiba laptop). On my main system, every program I tried claimed that the discs were unprotected, and then ripping immediately failed (obviously). I didn't try paid or trial software except for MakeMKV, so maybe one of those works better with Windows 10.

                            Then my optical drive failed. It was randomly ejecting discs while ripping, but not when the drive was idle. Eventually, I ran into discs that it couldn't read or were detected as blank DVD-Rs. Maybe I can clean the lens (it's lightly used, and that laptop doesn't have a direct air intake for its fan - the drive was dusty inside), but I switched to a USB drive (an LG GP65NB60, if anyone wants to know), which worked perfectly. It was even faster than the internal drive, even though the USB ports on that laptop don't hit the expected USB 2.0 bandwidth anymore and I was writing to a USB drive. USB bandwidth degraded to the point where my video capture dongle would only capture garbage, and that was the thing that finally got me to buy my ThinkPad P53.

                            I also found a bug in every Microsoft media player (all three of them) where every rip flagged as 16:9 gets stretched too wide. The obvious solution is to get a real media player, but I was also ripping some discs for my parents, who are just using whatever the current default media player in Windows is (it can't decide which one to use). Windows will just hijack file associations on its own anyway, so switching to MPC-HC (if that's even still around) is just going to be a lot of extra hassle for them. I tried transcoding with Handbrake, and while they displayed correctly, the audio would drift out of sync (sync was worse at the end of the file). The rips are straight MPEG-2 because that laptop is too slow to encode while ripping.

                            Of course, I don't think anyone on this forum cares, but I'm also making backup copies because of how unreliable optical drives are. My parents' computer is even worse because it has a slim optical drive (in a desktop), and those are strangely hard to find.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Dan Schneider was a pedo? I had no idea. I remember someone, who I think is Dan, appearing on TV BEFORE "Head of the Class". Someone asked his character "so how's that cure coming along for childhood cancer?" and he responded harshly because his young character's cancer was in remission -- for now. Perhaps I have him confused with David Greenlee. He did some stuff from before "Beauty and the Beast" (1987, Ron Perlman, Linda Hamilton) which is where I mostly remember David Greenlee from.

                              So if Dan went from in front of the camera to behind it, then he made the same career move as Linwood Boomer. He played the blind husband of Mary Ingalls (after she lost her sight) on Little House on the Prairie. I'm not sure he moved his eyes as authentically as an actual blind person, but whatever. And then he went behind the camera on the original Night Court.

                              Sorry to hear about Dan Schneider's pedo stuff.

                              I'm definitely continuing to use optical media as a good backup choice. I paid ABOVE RETAIL for Travan-4 equipment in the Windows 3.1 era, and when I tried to do a restore from tape, I did not succeed. CD-R and DVD-R did not fade as quickly as cassettes as a music format. The standard SATA interface makes me think CD-R and DVD-R will be viable for many years into the future. Even if they are a niche product. If the drives fail, they are still cheap and plentiful. Grab a new one off your shelves, put it in and back up, restore, copy, do what you need to do.

                              Operating systems come and go, but your data is forever. If you still need your data, I think CD+/-R and DVD+/-R are still good choices.

                              (One of these days I may still upgrade my 2002 Saturn 1.9 litre from AM/FM/CD/cassette to AM/FM/CD.)
                              Last edited by Hondaman; 02-04-2024, 01:39 AM.

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                                #16
                                The media seems reliable to me, but the drives themselves fail so often that I don't want to use them anymore. I rip CDs and DVDs, and for old software that's still on CDs (all of which is currently for computers that are too old to have SATA), I make bin/cue images and load them with Daemon Tools. For those old computers, I guess the next option would be to mess around with audio drivers so I can use digital audio through an IDE to SATA bridge (SATA drives don't have the analog audio cable to get music in games, but Daemon Tools has only failed on one motherboard with AC'97 audio so far - old ISA cards have always worked immediately).

                                I don't know why slim SATA drives are used almost exclusively in modern computers (at least the ones that still have optical drives), but it's so hard to find replacement drives. Most of them also have custom front bezels (like the one that died), so you need an exact replacement if you care about how it looks. Even when I looked for drives with the standard bezel, I found exactly two listings on scAmazon for new LG drives for $30 (which seems reasonable), a Silverstone (obviously not made by them - just an accessory for one of their cases) slot-loader for $90 (for that price, I want Blu-Ray), and some random listings on Newegg that ship from China. The rest are used (sometimes falsely advertised as new with thousands of reviews and a 4.7-star average). I did see that Lenovo is trying to clear out some old stock of service parts, so you can get a drive with a Lenovo bezel for a decent price (along with some 256MB DDR333 sticks).

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                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by lti View Post
                                  The media seems reliable to me, but the drives themselves fail so often that I don't want to use them anymore.
                                  yea i only use top quality made in japan discs. no problems with any of them even after a decade.

                                  that said, optical drives are just too slow nowadays compared with usb thumbdrives. i just use usb thumbdrives now for the faster backup speed. the only problem is that when the nand flash gets hosed, all the data gets hosed too and is gone, unlike optical and hard drives. ah well... technology pros and cons. just have to live with it and manage it. always keep the data backed up. no storage method lasts forever.
                                  Originally posted by lti View Post
                                  I don't know why slim SATA drives are used almost exclusively in modern computers (at least the ones that still have optical drives)
                                  if i see those, those get tossed out immediately as slim optical drives are much too slow compared to their desktop counterparts. even a usb thumbdrive is much faster. those that get tossed out, get a memory card reader instead. hehehe...

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                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by ChaosLegionnaire View Post
                                    yea i only use top quality made in japan discs. no problems with any of them even after a decade.
                                    I just bought what discs were available semi-locally, and I never had problems with any of them. I haven't burned a disc in at least 10 years, and that was just to burn a game disc back in my gaming days (for a game that was released for free as a bin/cue image and meant for Windows 95 or DOS). That was onto a CD-RW that I erased and reused a few times, and it's still one of two discs that the drive in my old Compaq can still read (which doesn't really matter since that computer runs the game in slow-motion, even though the framerate is fine).

                                    Originally posted by ChaosLegionnaire View Post
                                    if i see those, those get tossed out immediately as slim optical drives are much too slow compared to their desktop counterparts. even a usb thumbdrive is much faster. those that get tossed out, get a memory card reader instead. hehehe...
                                    I never noticed a speed difference (maybe my Lite-On desktop drive is unusually slow while still being as loud as the old 48X CD-ROM drives). I only use them for ripping or imaging discs, so the problem is just finding a replacement when they fail, not performance.

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                                      #19
                                      Now the 16:9 DVD rips play in the correct aspect ratio (not stretched too wide).

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