Watching movies on laptops

A friend came over on Saturday and had a laptop full of movies. He said he had bought the DVDs and just ripped them to his hard drive so he could watch random movies while sitting in a plane, or whatnot. One of the movies was “Gandhi.” What a wonderful movie. Anyway, I hooked the laptop up to my HDTV screen and watched it there. Other than being small (Sony’s HDTV doesn’t play 1280×1024 full screen for some reason, I gotta figure out if there’s some way to force it to be full screen) it was wonderful.

I wonder how many other people are doing that, though?

What prompted my post? This article by the Associated Press that says that most people won’t watch long things online. I think that’ll change over time as more of us get laptops with better screens and as more of us get screens at home that a computer can hook up to (most Windows Vista computers will be capable of playing video to an XBox 360, which is how I will watch, say, Ze Frank, next year).

Speaking of which, is there any way to play Quicktime movies full screen?

UPDATE: here’s the long video I’m watching now. It’s Ze Frank speaking at TED. What can I say? I’m an edge case. Just don’t call me that!

44 thoughts on “Watching movies on laptops

  1. We gave up paying for cable and our TV is now inside an old trunk. Any fall TV show I want to watch can be downloaded for free or a small fee. I love being able to watch TV in a small part of my screen and do other things. Likewise, I think sites like YouTube are slowly training people to get comfortable watching video online. Yes, it’s still short-form, but that of course, will evolve.

  2. We gave up paying for cable and our TV is now inside an old trunk. Any fall TV show I want to watch can be downloaded for free or a small fee. I love being able to watch TV in a small part of my screen and do other things. Likewise, I think sites like YouTube are slowly training people to get comfortable watching video online. Yes, it’s still short-form, but that of course, will evolve.

  3. Using windows? I’m pretty sure iTunes let’s you play all your movies in fullscreen, I use that for video podcasts like dl.tv and whatnot.

  4. Using windows? I’m pretty sure iTunes let’s you play all your movies in fullscreen, I use that for video podcasts like dl.tv and whatnot.

  5. Not sure about Windows, but on the Mac you can play Quicktime movies full screen with Real Player (which is nice & doesn’t have the annoying crap-you-have-to-disable that the Windows version has) or iTunes.

  6. Not sure about Windows, but on the Mac you can play Quicktime movies full screen with Real Player (which is nice & doesn’t have the annoying crap-you-have-to-disable that the Windows version has) or iTunes.

  7. Yah, Battlestar Galactica webisodes snippets are great. I don’t think Robert got into Battlestar Galactica tho…but it’s some of the best writing on TV, minus Veronica Mars…and Rome.

  8. Yah, Battlestar Galactica webisodes snippets are great. I don’t think Robert got into Battlestar Galactica tho…but it’s some of the best writing on TV, minus Veronica Mars…and Rome.

  9. Did you see the new episodes of Battlestar Galactica on scifi.com. Not really a long video but a very cool method to lead up to the new season.

  10. Did you see the new episodes of Battlestar Galactica on scifi.com. Not really a long video but a very cool method to lead up to the new season.

  11. The Jennifer Lin TED talk is amazing, too, especially the improv piece she does. Prodigy! Al Gore and Tony Robbins are worth watching, too – and you can subscribe to these in their feed.

  12. Sir,

    Since I spend a good deal of time traveling (trains, planes… is that a movie title?), I often rip movies with Mactheripper to my iBook and watch them there – when my wife comes along, we watch it together (possible with the 13.3″ screen since we still love each other).

    At home I have a Mac Mini hooked up to a 32″ TV via DVI (and a Miglia TV-tuner with built-in H.264 hardware support). Add to that the Frontrow software, the EyeTV software for controlling TV- watching/recording and the fabulous (AND free) Coverflow shell for iTunes, and I have a great setup for a true Media Centre. Since both the two latter programs connect seamlessly to Frontrow in their latest incarnations, the UI is amazingly simple for such a complex operation – and to be honest, the UI draw more admiring comments than even the simplicity of the Mac Mini “ranch” (the Miglia and the external Lacie harddisk both have the same zen’esque design as the Mini, and the flat-TV goes along with that). And did I mention the almost total absence of noise from the hardware? No?

    I’m just now exploring the possibilities of wireless media sharing with other rooms (one reason one should NEVER get rid of old Macs – they are perfect local media stations), and it sounds great. The 802.11g bandwidth is barely enough for videostreaming; the n version will be a welcome improvement…

    I know there are several OS projects, working on making a perfect media server UI for Macs, but so far the above mentioned parts make for a great sum total.

    Peter J. Pedersen

    PS – VLC rocks, by the way!

  13. Sir,

    Since I spend a good deal of time traveling (trains, planes… is that a movie title?), I often rip movies with Mactheripper to my iBook and watch them there – when my wife comes along, we watch it together (possible with the 13.3″ screen since we still love each other).

    At home I have a Mac Mini hooked up to a 32″ TV via DVI (and a Miglia TV-tuner with built-in H.264 hardware support). Add to that the Frontrow software, the EyeTV software for controlling TV- watching/recording and the fabulous (AND free) Coverflow shell for iTunes, and I have a great setup for a true Media Centre. Since both the two latter programs connect seamlessly to Frontrow in their latest incarnations, the UI is amazingly simple for such a complex operation – and to be honest, the UI draw more admiring comments than even the simplicity of the Mac Mini “ranch” (the Miglia and the external Lacie harddisk both have the same zen’esque design as the Mini, and the flat-TV goes along with that). And did I mention the almost total absence of noise from the hardware? No?

    I’m just now exploring the possibilities of wireless media sharing with other rooms (one reason one should NEVER get rid of old Macs – they are perfect local media stations), and it sounds great. The 802.11g bandwidth is barely enough for videostreaming; the n version will be a welcome improvement…

    I know there are several OS projects, working on making a perfect media server UI for Macs, but so far the above mentioned parts make for a great sum total.

    Peter J. Pedersen

    PS – VLC rocks, by the way!

  14. I am probably coming from a different perspective – but I agree that people do not want to watch things for a long period of time – if it does not have entertainment value. I think people will definitely become more tolerant of watching entertainment in differing formats (hence we see the invasion of utilities like the video ipod).

    In business (I’m an instructional designer), people neither have the time or desire to watch lengthy movies. I think people are looking for instant gratification. So until the need becomes great enough, setting an hour aside will be difficult (especially if the hardware setup does not allow for ideal viewing conditions – like watching movies from the hard drive.

    Just my .02.

  15. I am probably coming from a different perspective – but I agree that people do not want to watch things for a long period of time – if it does not have entertainment value. I think people will definitely become more tolerant of watching entertainment in differing formats (hence we see the invasion of utilities like the video ipod).

    In business (I’m an instructional designer), people neither have the time or desire to watch lengthy movies. I think people are looking for instant gratification. So until the need becomes great enough, setting an hour aside will be difficult (especially if the hardware setup does not allow for ideal viewing conditions – like watching movies from the hard drive.

    Just my .02.

  16. most people won’t watch long things online

    I think the statement really should be – people won’t sit in front of a computer and watch long things online.

    When the device moves to the living room and becomes a ‘component’ vs. a ‘computer’ this changes entirely. Whether it’s a Xbox360 or a TiVo or a Comcast Set Top Box, if the content was downloaded and available to me in the living room/media room, I would watch it.

    My home office has a single chair and multiple computer screens, my media room has a 62″ HD screen, surround sound, a leather couch and a wet bar. The latter is a much more social environment.

    It’s not that people won’t watch long form media online, it’s that people won’t watch long form media online in certain contexts.

  17. most people won’t watch long things online

    I think the statement really should be – people won’t sit in front of a computer and watch long things online.

    When the device moves to the living room and becomes a ‘component’ vs. a ‘computer’ this changes entirely. Whether it’s a Xbox360 or a TiVo or a Comcast Set Top Box, if the content was downloaded and available to me in the living room/media room, I would watch it.

    My home office has a single chair and multiple computer screens, my media room has a 62″ HD screen, surround sound, a leather couch and a wet bar. The latter is a much more social environment.

    It’s not that people won’t watch long form media online, it’s that people won’t watch long form media online in certain contexts.

  18. Umm just get an XBMC, the Ulitmate Media Center… ;) Even does RMVB’s…

    And VLC works full-screen for free, as does Media Player Classic. QT needs to be Pro for full (Apple being the toads they are), get QuickTime Alternative 1.75 and avoid all that tho. The encoding is worth the $30, but End Users not having full-screen, end results with not many USING. I know, as I see this with my video stuff, near daily. Bad move on Apple’s part, imho. Should go the PDF way, free reader, pay for encoder, crippling the player, just makes people toss it. btw, Jet Audio is another good player…

    Video 101…basicbasicstuffyoushouldknowthisalready.

  19. Umm just get an XBMC, the Ulitmate Media Center… ;) Even does RMVB’s…

    And VLC works full-screen for free, as does Media Player Classic. QT needs to be Pro for full (Apple being the toads they are), get QuickTime Alternative 1.75 and avoid all that tho. The encoding is worth the $30, but End Users not having full-screen, end results with not many USING. I know, as I see this with my video stuff, near daily. Bad move on Apple’s part, imho. Should go the PDF way, free reader, pay for encoder, crippling the player, just makes people toss it. btw, Jet Audio is another good player…

    Video 101…basicbasicstuffyoushouldknowthisalready.

  20. If you don’t want to fork out for Quicktime, then Quicktime Alternative may do what you want.

    You should then be able to play QT movies inside Windows Media Player.
    I havn’t tested it with high-def content yet though, so you might still need QT7.

  21. If you don’t want to fork out for Quicktime, then Quicktime Alternative may do what you want.

    You should then be able to play QT movies inside Windows Media Player.
    I havn’t tested it with high-def content yet though, so you might still need QT7.

  22. Mr. Scoble -

    Just created that script and have sent them to you via email as both an editable script and the compiled runtime. Worked great (even with QT Pro).

    Nice tip Sam!

  23. Mr. Scoble -

    Just created that script and have sent them to you via email as both an editable script and the compiled runtime. Worked great (even with QT Pro).

    Nice tip Sam!

  24. my dell has an nvidia GeForce FX Go5200, which has an option that allows you to choose where to send your full screen video play back out to (your television in this case) it’s a dream for sure.

  25. my dell has an nvidia GeForce FX Go5200, which has an option that allows you to choose where to send your full screen video play back out to (your television in this case) it’s a dream for sure.

  26. It’s one of those arsehat things Apple does. If you just have the downloaded version of Quicktime, you won’t have the ability to make it full screen. However, if you’ve forked out for the ‘Pro’ version then you will be able to make it full screen.

    Why? I don’t know…

  27. It’s one of those arsehat things Apple does. If you just have the downloaded version of Quicktime, you won’t have the ability to make it full screen. However, if you’ve forked out for the ‘Pro’ version then you will be able to make it full screen.

    Why? I don’t know…

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