Star Wars: Episode I DVD Mac Compatibility Issues

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Date: Monday, October 22nd, 2001, 13:53
Category: Archive

You may remember our story from last Wednesday that the new Star Wars Episode I DVD-ROM is not compatible with Apple’s DVD player software on some Macs. The two disc set features DVD extras that are not viewable on some Mac systems, and on others the movie is unviewable altogether.

Star Wars: Episode I

This is a real sin because Macs are used heavily in the production of the Star Wars prequels (including Episode II which is being shot on location in Australia) and Mac users are some of the series’ biggest fans. Several of you wrote to share your experience with the EPI DVD.


You may remember our story from last Wednesday that the new Star Wars Episode I DVD-ROM is not compatible with Apple’s DVD player software on some Macs. The two disc set features DVD extras that are not viewable on some Mac systems, and on others the movie is unviewable altogether.

Star Wars: Episode I

This is a real sin because Macs are used heavily in the production of the Star Wars prequels (including Episode II which is being shot on location in Australia) and Mac users are some of the series’ biggest fans. Several of you wrote to share your experience with the EPI DVD:

I have a 500MHz Pismo, dual booting 9.2.1 and 10.1. Both discs seem to work fine in both OS’s. I have whatever DVD player was installed with 10.1, and on the 9.2.1 side, I have DVD player v. 2.7. Everything seems to work exactly as it should, though I have not had time to try everything. In particular, I am eager to check out this “secret web site” you guys keep referring to. [mlamarre]


I don’t lock up at the FBI screen but I’m using a dual 800 so that may affect it. Also, the DVD content is slow. The pointer will go over a link in OS 9 and it takes it’s time to glow showing it’s being selected. In OS X all the features are very responsive not like OS 9. Also a note is on the second disk under the featurettes, web documentaries, and StarWars.com click on the StarWars.com link and it says that these features are not currently available using an Apple Macintosh. Maybe, and I’m taking a huge leap on this one because we Mac users don’t want to infringe on any monopolies out there any time soon *cough* Windows 95 or higher *cough*(excuse me), that the featurette will be Mac compatible soon. We can dream can’t we? [DarthCrawnGamore]


I have been able to watch all of the DVD content on my iBook Dual USB and a friend was able to watch it on her G4/450 (both running 9.1) without experiencing any of the problems he describes. Perhaps he simply needs to upgrade (or downgrade) his software… I can offer one tip to help with finicky DVDs. Hold down Command-Option-I when you insert the DVD or Control click on the DVD’s icon and select "Mount as ISO9660." This will help with discs that aren’t DVD-Video (UDF) format. However, Star Wars is not one of those discs… Now if you’re complaining that the exclusive DVD-ROM content is not Mac-compatible, I agree with you 100% and I’ll sign any petition you have to change it. That’s just wrong. [Marc Robinson]


I am guessing that you have only tried to play it on the Apple DVD Player under OS 9.x. Playing it under OS X yields a much better experience. Disk 1 plays flawlessly; you can pause it, fast forward, reverse, and all the goodies work without flaw. Disk 2 gave me a bit of trouble, I can play the deleted scenes fine, and viewing the still photos works well too. My system locked up hard after trying to view the commentary by Rick McCallum however, I got the spinning beachball, the video file itself looked like it was corrupted because immediately after clicking the link, the entire video window had dirty artifacts all over it. It skipped and stuttered until it finally stopped after 5 or so seconds of play, then nothing. I couldn’t switch to another application or even bring up Force Quit, I had to manually reboot my system. The first time I’ve ever had to do that with OS X. Screwed up my 21 day uptime too. [saulg00d]


i thought i saw a story here that the dvd player with sys osx 10.1 did not work. have to report that it works fine on my g3 bronze powerbook. [william rankin]

Some Technical reasoning for the Macintosh incompatibilities:

Unfortunately, the main technology used to create DVD-ROM (the Interactual Player) is PC only.

But, there is more. The reason it is PC only is because the software uses an Active X control to control the DVD video (and allow for other content to sync with it). Most DVD-ROM content uses web technologies like HTML, Flash and Javascript that would work fine on a Mac.

The problem is the is not API to control the Apple DVD player (more or less enclose it in a different window) like Interactual does.

Apple needs to provide these tools to developer before you are likely to see any true DVD-ROM on the Mac.


In case you guys have not yet seen this link from InterActual (the software that allows the EP I DVD to link to dvd.starwars.com and authenticate) here is a URL. I logged on with a Windows PC and there is quite a bit of backlash from Mac users there. They all must have access on a PC with DVD to even get there though.


Peter Foley got this reply from the DVD enhancement vendor:

Thank you for contacting InterActual technical support. InterActual Apple Support

InterActual-enhanced DVD titles, also known as DVD-ROM titles, include added-value features provided by studios to their customers. These features typically contain HTML content interacting with DVD-Video playback. These HTML pages may be stored locally on the DVD, or reside online at a studio web site.

The inclusion of InterActual-enhanced ROM content will not affect the playback of DVD-Video from within the Apple DVD Player (assuming your machine is capable of it). However, depending on several factors discussed below, your ability to use the ROM content may vary based on title.

InterActual has two products, InterActual PCFriendly and its successor InterActual Player 2.0. InterActual PCFriendly had limited Apple support, and certain titles were released with limited Apple DVD-ROM capability. With the release of InterActual Player 2.0 and its increased DVD-ROM capabilities, Apple support was dropped primarily for the two reasons outlined below:

1) Apple’s DVD implementation does not allow DVD-Video to be embedded within an HTML page.

There is no mechanism (API) for displaying DVD-Video any place except within the Apple DVD player. Apple does not provide a method by which DVD-Video can be embedded within an HTML page as is possible on Windows-based computers.

2) Apple provides limited support of external DVD playback control.

As a direct result of #1 above, the only way to play back DVD-Video within the Mac OS is by using the Apple-supplied DVD Player controlled via AppleScript. Not all versions of the Apple DVD player support AppleScript consistently, and therefore do not provide the advanced control required for many DVD-ROM features.

These and other limitations prevent even basic integration and control of DVD Video on MAC OS systems, which is needed to provide an interactive experience. While a Mac is often used in the development of enhanced ROM content, these playback limitations remain. InterActual and its customers have requested Mac support from Apple, and hope to include features for the Mac audience in future InterActual-enhanced DVD products.

I hope this clears things up.

Sincerely,

Sami
DVD Applications & Support Engineer
InterActual Technologies, Inc.
(408) 436-6700
9:AM – 9:PM Pacific Standard Time, Monday-Saturday

We are following this story very closely and would like to hear about your experiences with the Star Wars EPI DVD on your Mac. Please be sure to include your Mac model and the exact OS version that you are running.

Another note: This is a hot-button issue with the vendors involved with the EPI DVD project. If you are involved with one of the companies producing the DVD and have feedback to contribute, we suggest that you write to Go2Mac from a personal email account on personal time. Apparently some companies f

ilter their email for “certain addresses” and will terminate the employ of colleagues that make comments to the press. (Ahem.)

Go2Mac believes in the right of free speech! Drop us a line from your free email account and set the record straight.

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