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Looking for Macro Vision Info - not a hack

I picked a up really cute little DVD player at Walmart for $27. It is really easy to use, seems to work great, but on the 3rd movie we watched on it the brightness constantly varies from too light to too dark. The 4th movie plays fine.

Reading the manual it has a warning about the built in MACRO Vision copy protection not being compatible with running the A/V cables through a VCR which is my prefered way of using all 3 of my DVD players.

So does anyone know if the brightness fading in and out is the copy protection scheme reacting to macro vision? It sounds more like the picture gets scrambled from the manual.

Is the fading in and out normal, or is the DVD player defective and I need to exchange it.

Yes - I can crack this in a heart beat.
I already have 2 ways to rip DVD to VHS. Including a stand alone machine with no copy protection.
I can strip the protection out of the movies on my PC and burn to clean DL DVDs.

PS The manual's recommendation is to go buy a new TV set that has A/V or to buy an RF modulator. But since it's my birthday I'll skip the usual marketing and RIAA/MPAA tirade.

Though I may go exchange five or six of these to make sure I cost the manufacturer and Walmart 5 times what the player sells for. (Oops, that was tirade-ish.)


Carbon based lifeform
Political User
Your DVD player is defective. The Macrovision will only kick in when you try to tape the dvd from the VCR. If the picture is acting wacky you can usually access the DVD menu from on the box when the tray is open. However, I have no idea what cute little $27 Dvd player you got. You might be better off upgrading to a $40-60 dvd player. The off brands are really hit & miss.
OK, thanks. They are a Walmart special. Durabrand (whoever that is).

I'll try another one. They are smaller than a notebook pc, nice shiny silver finish, simplest remote control I have ever seen and can sit unobtrusively on top of the TV. The wife loves it.

It's best feature is it doesn't reek of uncured plastics and PCB coatings. I have one DVD/VHS that has been sitting in the garage to air out for 16 months (it's trash now after that long in the garage and still reeks) and the $70-90 ones I looked at today have the same smell to them.

The Chinese are leaving out important steps like heat curing coatings, proper plastic manufacture to remove PVCs and using substandard materials. I won't bring about half of the new products I buy into the house because of the toxic outgassing.

The worst was a $200 kitchen mixer. The varnish on the motor windings had not been cured at all. It stunk up the hole kitchen when you ran it. They were all like that anda major brand.


MS-DOS 2.0
Political User
I don't believe it is defective. Many DVD players forbid connecting a DVD player to anything but the TV. The ones that don't are relaxing on the standards, which is not all that uncommon. You just bought from a manufacturer that is going by-the-book, and they're flat-out telling you that the only way around this is to go through an R/F modulator or, unsurprisingly, telling you to get a TV that'll let you connect to it directly.

Melon wins this one. Just for laughs I tried it with an older VCR and TV in another room. The brightness fluctuation effect was not there. Then I rewired the first TV/VCR setup and ran the DVD directly into the TV. It worked flawlessly.

Then I did some deeper web searching and found the details on Macrovision ACP. It is an analog protection scheme that encodes into the MPEG stream. The color, noise and obviously in my case the brightness signal can be scrambled in the analog VCR automatic gain control circuits.

The DCMA actually requires new VCRs to degrade their automatic adjustment circuits so the digital garbage embedded in the MPEG corrupts the analog playback. There is a list of what newer device types (VCR, DVR, PC, etc.) Macrovision can crap up and it's effectiveness (66-100%). The law even goes into how many devices can be sold before the crap up circuit is required.

Copy protection strikes again.

Any new DVD player I buy is likely to have the problem (feature). The better name brands will all do it since they sell in volume in the USA. So I'll keep the $27 junker DVD player and swap it over to the older VCR.


Carbon based lifeform
Political User
Actually as long as the dvd has analog outputs then the content encryption is in the Dvd player, and the input function of any vcr should be able to play it. If the dvd player connected through a digital output, than he will need an rf modulator or an upgraded tv that has digital connections.

Just saw your post...hmm seems that Macrovision upgraded their content encryption. Rat Bastards!
So the moral of this story is use an older vcr to defeat the Macrovision.
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