It turns out my issues with the fucks who decigned Dexter DVDs were grander than I thought.
Microsoft's insidious collaboration with the movie industry has finally hit me. I've kept Microsoft from installing WGA on my computer (I don't need a tool to know that I purchased this copy of Windows XP fair and square, or to keep me from using it once Microsoft's servers stop responding to WGA's requests), and I've stuck with Windows XP because of the DRM inherent to the more recent versions of Windows.
I just rented two DVDs from the video store--you know, instead of simply pirating them which would actually be easier and cheaper--and neither of them would play in Windows Media Player. They wouldn't open in the other program on my laptop, and they crashed my old laptop when I tried any of the three DVD players installed on it.
After over an hour of troubleshooting, my guests and I instead watched TV shows online.
This morning, I called Dell and asked them for help. The guy I spoke with essentially said, "oh yeah, some rental DVDs don't play on computers due to rights somethingorother" (he didn't say "somethingorother" exactly, but he sure didn't know it by name). At least I didn't have to go through dozens of prompts or wait on hold for hours to get this response.
He said the solution is simple: "when I get that problem, I just pop the DVD in to the DVD player and watch it on the TV." Well fuck you. I don't have a DVD player or a TV, and I'm not about to buy one knowing that the industries behind them are out to prevent me from paying for and watching their content.
Of course, the irony is that I specifically rented the videos out of some latent guilt about downloading (thanks to all sorts of fearmongering and propaganda from the movie industry), yet the movie industry itself is behind the restrictions that prevent me from watching these legally-obtained borrowed copies of the films. Not that this is news to anyone, especially me: anyone who follows slashdot has heard all the latest tricks of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), collectively and pejoratively referred to as the MAFIAA.
After my failed tech support call to Dell, I did a quick Google search, which returned VLC Player a free, open-source, cross-platform video player that is a project on SourceForge.net, a sister-company to Slashdot that hosts open-source development.
VLC player is able to play my DVDs flawlessly. I wish I'd found it last night when my friends were still here!
Anyway, I've learned my lesson about paying for copyrighted content. I'm going to go download some Bittorrent software and start getting my movies from the pirates, who are more trustworthy than the film industry.
PS: The Conservative party wants to facilitate this process of screwing media consumers and make the punishments stronger--their failed bills would have given Canada one of the most restrictive copyright regimes in the developed world. They scare you by saying the Liberal party will institute an "iPod tax", which is essentially what we already have, and which makes filesharing quasi-legal in Canada. If the Pirate Party has a candidate in your riding in the current federal election, go listen to what they have to say about copyright restrictions. They're not a joke party like the NeoRhino party, they're a serious one-issue party like the Marijuana party.