Tuesday, January 30, 2007

No PAL Of Mine

So, in honor of the TV Guy's birthday today, my brother and sister-in-law got me a pretty cool gift: an Amazon.com gift certificate.

Immediately, I set my mind upon which TV DVD set of discs I wanted to buy myself. There was one TV series in particular that I've wanted for some time now, "Blake's 7," a 1970s era BBC sci-fi show.

However, I was thwarted in my plans. "Blake's 7" only exists as a Zone 2 DVD, meaning it will only play on DVD players in Europe, not in the U.S. This is done to prevent piracy of DVDs, the theory being that you couldn't steal a bunch of DVDs from a U.S. warehouse and sell them on the streets of Macao, because they wouldn't work.

It's a great theory IF YOU MADE THE SAME DVDs AVAILABLE IN ALL ZONES. It's not the first time I've run into this problem.

I'd settle for "Blake's 7" on VHS, and even found a set on E-Bay, but it only exists in the British PAL video format.

PAL stands for Phase Altering Line, which is technically quite different from the analog NTSC standard (National Television System(s) Committee) used in the North America and parts of South America. The two systems developed independently in the 1960s, each with their own perks and disadvantages, but suffice it to say, one format won't work in the other's VCR.

Pre-DVD, I tried to search for a lot of British shows, but the PAL format was always a problem. Sometimes, the shows would come out on NTSC-friendly video cassettes, sometimes not so much. Anyway, the two systems developed not because of piracy worries so much as much because of a stubborn clinging to analog broadcast styles of the day. (Incidentally, most of the world uses PAL, in case you were curious.)

So much for the history lesson. I'm getting the 40th anniversary set of "The Prisoner," another series I couldn't buy for a long time because it was PAL-only. It's good that I waited, because the DVD set is loaded with all sorts of extras.

24 BIZARRO FUN FACT OF THE WEEK: Hmm, a lot to choose from. We could pick the weird genetics of the Bauer family, as in how their dad is 6-foot-7 and the brothers are short; we could pick how the National Security Advisor is allowed to resign AN HOUR after a nuclear bomb is detonated in the U.S.

This week's winner is how the FBI expected a respectable businessman who is doing spywork for them to be able to pick someone's pocket for a cell phone, get the directory off it, then put it back without this suspected terrorist knowing about it. Then, not having the guy's back when said gang of suspected terrorists beats the guy down for five minutes or so before the guards come out and break it up.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: "American Idol" (Fox, 8 p.m.) is now down to a digestible hour, followed by the first new "House" (Fox, 9 p.m.) in three weeks.


Zodin2008 said...

The Amazon gift certificate sounds like a good fit for 'The TV Guy'.

In honor of your daily "24" bashing, I am going to make a small prediction on tonight's episode of "House"....House will be grumpy, limp around barking angrily at fellow colleagues and patients alike, and solve a medical mystery that baffles the rest of the hospital and possibly risk his medical license in the process.

Frankly, give me Dr. Cox on "Scrubs" making fun of House rather then the actual Fox series.

But back to "24", yes, I have decided that Jack and Graem Bauer's mother (who must also be the most absentee mother on the planet considering how effed up her sons are), I have also decided she must have been a circus midget in order for Phillip Bauer to have 2 sons so much tinier then him. James Cromwell is a terrific actor but they really should have cast Donald Sutherland.

As for Walid, when he applied for his Director's position at the American-Muslim Peace Institute, he must have left out that 2 year gap where he was working for Fagan in 1800's London alongside Oliver Twist. Who knew a high level professional was also a master pickpocket? But frankly, if that Walid spy storyline has now subsided, can we all be DONE with Sandra Palmer/Regina King, the most annoying character/actress ever? Ewwwww...that voice.

Seriously, Regina King was in "Jerry Maguire" as Mrs. Rod Tidwell and she may have possibly been more annoying then a movie full of annoying actors including Tom Cruise, Bonnnie Hunt, Renee Zellwegger AND Jonathan Lipnicki!

You should add 'Bizzaro' "Prison Break" fact of the week. Like Mahone could solve in 10 minutes Michael's convoluted plans to trick the Govt. into thinking they were going after Caroline Reyolds when in fact he was going after Tancredi.

Phillip Ramati said...

If House isn't crotchety, I wouldn't tune in (nor would the millions of viewers that make House a top 20 show).

As for PB, yeah, it's beginning to border upon the ridiculous. The Bellick and T-Bag storylines in particular, or the fact that Haywire seemed to have the best getaway plan of the lot. And the ending, in which the Secret Service guy is about to betray the brothers even though he knows he's been a target is completely ridiculous.

No willing suspension of disbelief here.