Monday, June 4, 2012

Play All

If you've ever bought a television series on DVD, you know that the "Play All" option is a modern marvel. Rather than have to press a series of buttons every 22 or 44 minutes, you can simply hit that button and enjoy four to eight episodes right in a row. It's a fantastic feature, but alas, it's not always included.

What happens when you eagerly unwrap your series, pop it in, and discover that you can't hit play all? That every time you want to watch a new episode you have to hit the back button once or even twice, wait for the menu to load, navigate that menu to the next episode, hit enter to bring up the title screen, wait for the next screen to load, hit enter again to bring up the episode screen, then wait until you can navigate to the "Play episode" button.

All the time you're going through this process, you are silently cursing the DVD manufacturer for not including what should be a standard feature. And why shouldn't it be standard? if the FBI message about not pirating is in every DVD on the market, if you have to sit through that same un-skippable screen each time you load up your disk, then why not Play All?

This is why I think we need hearings on the subject. Get the heads of all the major DVD retailers before Congress. I want to see them all raising their hands and placed under oath. I want to see them grilled by Senators running for re-election, and I want to see media pundits arguing over whether this is a waste of taxpayer money.

But what I want most of all is the Play All function on every show I buy. I don't think that's too much to ask.

Well, it might be too much. In fact, all things considered, it's downright petty. I mean really, I have a television show on DVD, something inconceivable 20 years ago. Back in the early nineties, if you wanted an archive of an entire season of television, do you know how much room it would take up on your shelf? And that's not even factoring in how much it would cost. A single episode of a show could run you $15 to $20, and that's on a VHS that you have to rewind after you watch it. Don't even ask about special features or commentary. That was truly the dark ages back then.

So all things considered, am I asking for too much by demanding a Play All function?

No, not at all.

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