Home > J's Blog > What $1.84 will buy you…..

What $1.84 will buy you…..

June 21st, 2007


I am blogging to you live from Shanghai, yes THAT Shanghai, the one in China. Walking back to my hotel from dinner tonight I passed the street vendor selling DVD’s. I figured that I would do a little field work for Audioholics and AV Rant and take a look. Any movie you could think of, old and new, was available. Movies that have just opened were there – Pirates, Shrek 3, Spidey, Oceans 13, etc. In fact, they even had Transformers, which doesn’t open until July 4th. (Someone grabbed it as I was standing there and it was the only one they had)

I figured I would try 2 things. Obviously, the current theatrical releases are gonna be bootlegged, probably camcorder. But I wondered about some old material, such as concert videos. Of course what I am wondering is, how is the quality of the pirated material we read about so much.

So I snagged Fantastic 4 Rise of the Silver Surfer and also Music For Montserrat, a DVD from 1997. The grand total for my purchase? RMB 14, which is exactly $1.84.

Well, you’ve heard them say, “you get what you pay for…”

I got back to my hotel room and popped them into my laptop. Fantastic 4 was first – I was a bit surprised that the disc itself is actually screen printed, and looks legit, other than some chinese characters under the title. I popped it in, and not much surprise, no menu – it just began playing, and seemed to start midway through the opening credits. The quality is awful. Pixelation like crazy, mosaic, etc. It even looks like the image is squashed. But I really laughed out loud when I heard the first speaking – I am not even sure what language it is. Since I have not seen the movie, I am not sure what to make of the 45 seconds I watched. It sounded like Italian or something on a voiceover, then to add to that it was subtitled in Chinese! Awesome.

Next, the Music For Montserrat. Sadly, I can’t comment on sound quality because I am listening to it through a laptop. But it appears to be a direct copy of the actual DVD. Starts with FBI warning (oops…. is that me?), then has a menu screen, DTS or DD option, etc. Picture quality seems decent, and through the cheesy speakers in my lappy sounds fine. It does appear the sync of the vocal is off a bit. I will pop it into my home rig in a week or two once I am home and let you know what I find with the audio quality.

So there you have it, your report from the road. No surprises, I guess. But I figured it would be worth the exercise for you, our loyal readers!

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  1. June 21st, 2007 at 11:26 | #1

    You cad – now the RIAA will be all over this site… I think I hear them at the door now. OMG, they’re HERE, they’ve just broken down the door and are heading into the ro

  2. June 21st, 2007 at 16:24 | #2

    If you get caught with those and get arrested I am so not bailing you out!!!!

  3. June 21st, 2007 at 18:37 | #3

    It’s RESEARCH, only RESEARCH!!! There is no way the RIAA is gonna (wait, knock on the hotel door….) mess wi

  4. June 22nd, 2007 at 11:02 | #4

    Actually, it’s the MPAA. They don’t sue people as much as the RIAA. Don’t worry, the fine is something like $100,000 per movie. Seems fair, considering each DVD is only like $20 new, anyway. $200K should be fine for you guys, you can just sell some of that sweet hardware you get for free! *laugh*

  5. lea
    June 24th, 2007 at 19:28 | #5

    we have several movies that adam (my husband) bought in china and they are HORRIBLE. i don’t know why he keeps buying them (he picks two of three up on every trip), for some reason seeing a DVD on the street that has not released in theaters and for less than a $, he cannot pass it up… even though they are PAINFUL to watch. he usually watches them on his laptop on the plane ride home and then throws them away (before i do my “that is illegal and really horrible to watch” speech).

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