Frack Hollywood

Helios H4000 DVD PlayerI am so sick to death of the content cartel telling me what I can and cannot do with my legally purchased media. No wonder illegal downloading is displacing legitimate content. Sometimes it's the only way to get movies and music without all the bloody stupid restrictions that Hollywood and Nashville force down our throats.

It seems to get worse every year. When our trusty old Panasonic DVD player croaked, we replaced it with a new Toshiba HD-DVD player. What a piece of engineering suck that unit is.

It has a number of hateful misfeatures common in current DVD players. We can't watch foreign discs due to region encoding. We can't upconvert conventional DVDs because my TV doesn't have HDCP (a function that does me no good). On top of it all, the Toshiba unit is slow to boot up and clunky to operate. It felt like the Windows Vista of video players.

I finally said to hell with it and ordered a Helios H4000 DVD player. When I read the specs I was amazed that somebody is actually producing video equipment to serve the customer and not Hollywood. It plays any disc, regardless of region code. It upconverts to whatever resolution you want on any video connection it has. It's got features like bookmarks and "skip the crap at the front of the disk" that any DVD user would obviously want.

The unit is bit more expensive than a low end 1080p upconverting player ($140 versus $80). I think it's worth it for a unit that's well designed—and prioritizes the needs of its owner above those of the content cartel.


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Timely Post

Our DVD player just crapped out (the second one to do so in the past 8 years). I'm wavering between buying a cheap, but decent and region-free $45 player (Philips DVP5140) or upping for something like what you've recommended. We don't have an HDTV now, but I suspect we'll have one in the next 12-18 months.

great post

I hadn't looked at Helios before. I tried a bunch of different methods to get HD programming to my lovely Samsung 52" 1080p monster. In the end I've finally come to the conclusion that I knew -- and feared I would come to. 1080p is really not ready for anything but blue-ray or HD players. 720p broadcasts from HDTV look fabulous, and my upconvert samsung dvd player is great.

I went with an HTPC (a refurbed HP for super cheap), and put an Nvidia HDMI card in it (the 8600) and a HDDVD player. It's pretty cool to watch apple trailers at 1080p, but other than that I simply cannot make the leap to HDDVD prices. Upconverted video is awesome, and 720p and 1080p to typical laymen look the same. When I have friends over they cannot tell the difference from a 1080p showing of King Kong (hd dvd) and a 720p showing.

I do love having the HTPC though, I stream tons of shows to a 1.5TB network storage device and have just about any show I feel like watching. I don't know if my HTPC upscales like my samsung dvd player does, but it looks about the same.

Sorry for the long comment, HD programming and subjects really make me wanna comment. Great post dude.

Great post, I just buy one

Great post, I just buy one Sony Bravia, I need some HD-DVD to enjoy this, I use express burn to burn my hd-dvd, it can play on my pc, but my dvd player seem not work with the HD-DVD, there maybe I should buy this product. Thanks.

Frack Me

This totally bugged me out. I goggled my last name (Frack) and Frack Hollywood came up. The ironic part is, this newletter came out on Feb. 5th, my birthday. Weird huh. name is dana frack too.

so i googled my name as well and my name is dana frack and my birthday is feb. 5th. i can't handle this. e-mail me. this is too ridiculous not to follow up on.


i agree with you, these restrictions in the end are giving us customers a hard time.
Have a LCD HDTV but not sure if it has HDCP and there is this new satellite reciver im interested in which doesnt have it. Why all these complications?
im very happy with my Panasonic DMR500 DVD recorder and have had no problems at all, plays and records everything.