Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Self-Diagnosing DVD Player

Inspired by Dickcheney6's post "Pre-play disk check"
  [vote for,

While the title pretty much says it all, this idea is intended to ensure the quality of your movie-viewing experience. Most of the DVD players I've owned conduct some sort of pre-play disc check to make sure the disc is playable. Yet despite this check being performed, DVDs still tend to freeze up from time to time at the most inconvenient times. This problem is very often caused by a problem within the player itself, and can happen even when the disc is in pristine condition.

There are all sorts of things that can go wrong with a player to cause this problem. The player can overheat, the disc tray can be slightly out of alignment, the laser can be out of alignment, the laser's lens can be dirty or fogged, or there may even be a short in the wiring caused by a penny that was inserted by your toddler. If any of these conditions exist, there's a good chance that any DVD you play will freeze or hang up, regardless of the disc's condition.

You can tell sometimes if the problem is with the player or the disc by trying to run the disc in another player. I have 3 players, although one tends to overheat very quickly so I keep it in the closet as a tester. But even if you deduce through this testing that the problem is with the player, you're left wondering what the problem is and if it's something you can fix yourself.

So what I'm proposing is a DVD player that can run a systems diagnostic, checking things like the alignment of the disc tray, lens clarity, laser calibration, running the fans at maximum power and measuring the internal air flow and pressure to ensure adequate ventilation, and electrical flow through the wiring to determine if there's a short anywhere, and if there is, which wires are having trouble.

The results would be displayed on the screen of the TV it's plugged into, in the form of a text-based explanation along with a 3D schematic of the player with the problem area(s) marked in red, along with the industry standard warning that you should not attempt to make any repairs yourself and opening the case will void any applicable warranties.

(But come on, we're Bakers! We don't need to heed no stinking warning! Risk is what we do!)

21 Quest, Apr 17 2009


       Douglas Hoffstadter's "Godel Escher Bach" has a lengthy discussion of record players that assess their own ability to play a particular record, and records designed to defeat particular record players. The obvious question arises how the self-diagnosing mechanisms diagnose themselves.
spidermother, Apr 19 2009

       There's a few ways to do it. Use an automated calibrator to check the laser, use the laser itself to check lens clarity, a series of laser levels (one or two at either end of the tower and another on the disc tray) could ensure the disc tray is level with the rest of the tower for alignment, and I already said how to check ventilation in the post. I guarantee you there's no record player that could do all that.
21 Quest, Apr 19 2009

       the screen on the front of the VCR could say "Err (insert 2 numbers) and then a list could be in the instruction book listing all the error codes. The number after "Err" would indicate where the problem lies. The manual states what that message means, and whether it's just a minor adjustment or a dirty lens (the latter can in some cases be solved without ever opening the VCR- all you need is a cleaning disk) or if it's a major problem like stripped gears, a broken belt or electrical short/failure
Dickcheney6, Apr 19 2009

       That would work quite well, DC6. I hadn't thought of the existing small screen on many players as a message board. That would actually be better because it could be used in the absence of a TV.
21 Quest, Apr 19 2009

       A silly thought for a self-identification / verification routine for a DVD player.
DVD: "Enter Diagnostic Routine Start Code:"
Person: Bleep, Blip, Bloop
DVD: "..."
zen_tom, Apr 20 2009


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