Sorry for having avoided you so long, blog. Things have just been like that, when typing more than a Facebook status update has seemed taxing to the mind.
Lots of good things happened today, and a few nasty ones (they have to, don't they). First off, a trip to my Santa Claus cousin who now appears almost every quarter with bags full of goodies. Feast your eyes on these:
The main haul of course is the ASUS Blu-Ray drive. With this I finally enter the realm of HD movies, fuck YEAH!
Movie haul is a mix of DVD's and Blu-rays. Wings of Desire, a beautiful film by Wim Wenders, is my first Criterion Blu-Ray. I was a little apprehensive after rumors that the blu-ray cases being smaller the booklets accompanying the disc would be badly affected. Yes, it is smaller in size, but the quality of paper and print has been maintained so Criterion blu-rays are very much in the running so far as future purchases are concerned. Star Trek and Avatar Collector's Edition blu-ray hauls were no-brainers. Another look at the movie hauls:
Off to Lamington road then to get another fan for the PC, forgot to get those darned L-shaped connectors for SATA drives which I need to be able to hook up both my optical drives and also any future hard-drive, given that my gargantuan video card has nicely seated itself over the existing ports.
Okay, the BAD. After getting home, put the drive in and installed the software, told my bro we would be soon watching the new Star Trek movie on fucking blu-ray. I then discover that switching the display to my plasma TV causes the PowerDVD to throw up a warning that the "Protected content cannot be played on this output" because it's not HDCP compliant! OK now, my TV is connected by HDMI to the DVI port on my card through an adapter. So I take the cable and plug it directly into the HDMI output on my card. and vice-versa for my monitor. Fine? Not so. As various combinations brought to light the horrible fact that for some reason, my plasma TV refused to accept HDMI connections from anything other than the DVI port. I have no idea where the problem is. The plasma TV manual says that the HDMI connectors are HDCP compatible, the card is HDCP compliant. Then why the FUCK does it not accept a direct HDMI (or even a Displayport to HDMI adapter) output from the PC?
So I was going to be resigned to watching blu-ray movies on a 22" monitor while my 50" plasma TV would lie unused? Searching through the internet reveals no clue as to the problem. But in the end I found one solution. I installed a program called AnyDVD HD which strips off the copy-protection and allows me to play the disc on an unprotected digital video connection. So yes, I saw a bit of Star Trek on the bigger screen and it was good. I still think the image is not optimal (colors sometimes seem a bit off and I'm not sure smoke and fog look as natural as they should), but at least it works.
A software hack that may be defeated is not the solution I would have wanted but it's the one I have to use because nothing else works you mother-raping movie industry jerks! I will evaluate this trial version and if it proves universally suitable I may have to give the makers of this software my money for their useful program.
P.S. Update on the visual quality bit: Turns out some of the wonky quality visuals I had been getting was because of settings on my video card. The main culprit was this setting called "Dynamic Contrast" which makes on-the-fly adjustments to maximize the contrast in any given frame. Totally fucks up dark scenes / scenes with fog. All is good now.