Stop Hurting Us

Published 13 years, 4 months ago

Dear DVD Industry,

Stop with the repetitive time-wasting soul-killing animated menu transitions already.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Eric

P.S. Special note to whoever designed the mystery-meat “special features” menus for the Harry Potter DVDs: I hate you.


  1. Yeah.. there is a difference between a cool animated menu with many levels of depth and prettyness…

    .. and the DVD equivilent of the annoying all Flash Webpage.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. The transitions are incredibly annoying when you know what you want and can’t get there fast enough.

  3. Amen. Never mind the transitions. Start with the menus themselves.
    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at DVD menus and thought, what happened to usability? what happened to user testing? What do all these blasted symbols mean anyway?
    Maybe there’s a whole new line of work for usability pros out there!

  4. Yeah, usability in DVD menus can be pretty terrible. Don’t you love it when you can’t even tell which option you have selected? I can’t think of any specific examples right now, but I think the Spy Kids movies are guilty of that.

    I also just love (not really) all those Disney DVDs that lock you into watching the previews by disabling the menu button (actually, you can usually skip through them with the forward button, but that’s annoying enough). First of all, the ads are just annoying in general. Second of all, we probably already own most of those movies. Third of all, after a few years, the ads that say “Coming soon” are out of context. Feh.

  5. So, so true. While the recent set of BBC Red Dwarf DVDs have a mildly cool interface the first time you see it sitting through 30 seconds of intro animation just to choose the menu to choose an episode is a tad tedious.

    On a related note: The bright spark that decided to put an unskippable 30 second “Piracy is bad mm’Kay” trailer at the start of a slew of recent, shop bought DVDs (including some impressively expensive box sets), I hate you too, and wish to poke you with a stick.

  6. Whoah – and I thought I was just “a tad” too [whatever-that-word-is-that-means-you-pick-a-lot-of-nitting – nevermind] …

    Those Disney DVD makers obviously haven’t sat down with their 2-year old child who wants to see “Nemofisken” (“Finding Nemo”, ed.) NOW and for the umpteenth time have to say: “In a moment – it’s just about there… wait… hold on…”

    Spider-Man comes to my mind as a specifically HORRIBLE example of a menu, that is, a perfect example of how NOT to do DVD menus. (Or my DVD player needs a more RAM – a lot!)

    And whenever the “Special Features” listed on the backcover includes “Trailers”, “Posters” and “Animated Menus” – hello! ?#!!??#

    Perfect examples of how it’s supposed to be done are the “Lord Of The Rings” DVD’s – excellent job.

  7. If you think they’re bad, look what I do in DVD Studio Pro :P

  8. MacTheRipper inhabits a cozy grey area of legality for my DVD-annoyance nullification needs. Cracking the CSS (the other kind) on DVDs one owns should not be considered a crime, in my opinion. Distributing them fancy-free on P2P networks is obviously criminal, as far as our currently criminal intellectual property laws determine.

    I think punishing law-abiding consumers with odious UOPs (user operation prohibitions, the “unskippability”) and shoddy UI design is in fact the primary motivation behind such “lawbreakers” as “DVD Jon” Johansen, and the makers of such crippled DVDs would do themselves a favour by focusing on the disease, not the symptoms.

    Then again, I’m an idealistic, verging-on-socialist technocratic optimist. Compared to that, it’s easy being green.

  9. There ought to be a little button at the top for ‘text-only’ menu. Or at least the option to open up a shell…

    play -noflash ~/Data/film0000.dat &
    rm -rf ~/Menu

  10. I could probably suffer through transistions if they could just accept the PLAY button as “Play Movie.” Did you ever have to press ENTER to select the PLAY menu button? Arg!

  11. The Harry Potter DVDs are a nightmare, never go into one of the ‘tours’ you’ll be in there for weeks. Text-only navigation would be very much appreciated. Mind you, you might rather not get to areas such as the cast interviews (hidden under some Mystery-Meat navigation) where the talking head – the Film CGI equivalent of a really annoying animated gif – interrupts the cast throughout the interview.

  12. I used to agree, before I saw the Vanilla Sky DVD…

    The people who really need to be smacked though are the ones who put a 15 second audio clip on loop for the main menu.

  13. Menu animations? Feh, that’s not “hurting us”.

    How about: stop with the un-skippable warnings and advertisements,
    *every* time I watch the freaking DVD. It’s my copy, I paid you for it,
    stop asserting control over the way I watch it.

    How about: stop with the anti-free-market “region coding”, preventing me
    from playing any legally-purchased DVDs on any legally-purchased DVD
    player.

    How about: stop with the content scrambling. It is completely inert
    against copyright infringement — any criminal can copy the DVD, bit for
    bit, with the scrambling intact. It only restricts the DVD owner from
    using their choice of equipment.

    Or, how about: movie makers, to hell with the DVD movie “industry”.
    Make your own DVDs, stop forced-play of warning and advertisement
    tracks, stop scrambling the content, stop region-coding the content, and
    treat your audience as customers instead of criminals.

    Rent-seeking middle-men: I hate you.

  14. I’ll underscore Ben Finney’s comments… and add some more in the same vein.

    Region coding, and all the other tricks the movie studios and DVD movie industry are using to limit purchasers rights are, in my view illegal.

    Region coding especially makes my blood boil. Consider this – I have lived in and purchased DVDs in Australia, Asia-Pacific and now Europe regions. So this means I have to purchase three different DVD players for both my lounge TV *and* computer to play these DVDs. No wait… there’s more – I have to buy *four* DVD players because as a non-US resident I find that many movies which I wish to buy (yes legally buy – I’m not a criminal copier)are *only* released for region one. So screw the customer.

    Personally I think there should be a class action lawsuit brought against all movie studios, with penalty being they have to pay to make every DVD player in the world region free, and stop producing region coded DVDs.

  15. Have you seen Harold & Kumar Go to Whitecastle? The menus are quite funny. I actually sat there and watched them for a few minutes. I almost didn’t want to press play because I didn’t know when they would stop and repeat.

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