Friday, December 30, 2005


In order to view 2005 films in preparation for Academy Award voting this year, the Academy provided us members with a high-end new DVD players, SV300 Cinea DVD Player. The printing on the shipping box assured us that it "will also play all of your standard DVDs." The intent of requiring a special DVD player was to thwart pirates...or at least track those of us Academy members who might be inclined to advertently or inadvertently aid them. (In the final analysis, only Disney required we use Cinea to view films...The other film distriutors back down on the requirement...for the time being. Perhaps they are relying on other ways to monitor us.)

My Cinea machine started to act up right from the beginning. It froze at various points in several non-Disney DVDs...esapecially at minute 118 into Match Point, just as the detective was about to unravel the plot!! You can imagine, I was not happy. I called the manufacturer. The young lady (she sounded young, anyway) who answered their phone admitted that I was "not the first" to encounter difficulty. (My wife swears, in a subsequent conversation with her, the young lady said "hundreds" of like situations, but I'll accept the less incriminating slip of "not the first".) The young lady apologetically said, as representing Cinea, she "would of course send me another SV300 player" but...the catch: I had to wait at home all day for Fed-X to stop by and pick up the defaulted one. The rule was: you have to have the old one picked up in person before they will send you another. Pirates, again.

So I dutifully waited all day for Fed-X. They didn't show. Finally...a few days later, after a flury of calls with tracking numbers--during which I switched back to my own old Radio Shack DVD player to watch some other films--we got the transfer worked out.

When the new Cinea arrived, I called the powers that be, Cinea-central as it was, once again to prove I was who I was suppose to be...again...before my Cinea would become operative.. "What is your Academy number? etc. etc." the other person at the other end of the phone grilled me. A few moments later...apparently assured...the voice at the other end of the phone started the techincal steps to make the Cinea operative...guess what?...the new one didn't work either. So....the Cinea helper sheepishly said there would be another Fed-X appointment and machine tranferral.

I've got a few weeks to vote on the nominations yet. I refused to be frustrated. I'm a fair man. I will watch Disney films when my third Cinea arrives (that is, if the third Cinea DVD player works).

I wonder.... are the Vegas Academy Award's oddsmakers, and Disney marketing executives--and their stockholders--taking into account Cinea's problems in assessing their Academy Award chances ?


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