Mac Musings

DVD and the Mac: Feedback

Daniel Knight - 11 December 1999 -

Maybe it was a touch of Andy Rooney in me, but I just couldn't resist writing DVD and the Mac, an article that questioned the wisdom of watching DVDs on your computer. After all, I've been very successful at watching movies - as long as the computer isn't doing anything else.

Several writers echoed the same sentiment. If all you're doing is watching the DVD, it runs pretty smoothly.

But this is the age of the multitasking operating system, and the Mac does a very poor job of it when DVD Player is one of the tasks. It would be nice to run a movie in a small window while doing something else, but the software and hardware simply aren't up to it - yet.

Maybe an OS 9 optimized player would be better, although some have reported playback degraded after upgrading to OS 9. But we can expect OS X to behave better, sometime next year.

Reasons to Watch DVDs on a Mac

  1. I have a Mac with a DVD drive in it. I don't have a separate DVD player to connect to my TV.
  2. Same as #1, but I don't even have a TV. I may have a tuner and use my Mac as a TV.
     Both of these are common among college students and those in studio apartments. An iMac DV is compact, and with a USB tuner it can double as a TV.
  3. I have a Mac with DVD, and my monitor is a lot better than my TV.
     Unless I was sitting 2-3' from the screen, I'd definitely want a 19-21" monitor for watching DVDs. Several users have that.

Yes, there really are good reasons for watching DVD on your Mac. I was just trying to make the point that watching DVDs on a TV connected to a DVD player is usually a better choice.

Reasons Not to Watch DVDs on a Mac

  1. Most Macs are smaller than most TVs.
  2. Sound may go out of sync with video.
  3. TV/DVD player tends to offer a better picture.
  4. No Mac support for Dolby surround sound.

Not that I have surround sound. Shoot, I still don't have my first TV with stereo sound, let alone all this center channel rear speakers surrounds sound stuff.

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Dan Knight has been using Macs since 1986, sold Macs for several years, supported them for many more years, and has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. If you find Dan's articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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