[Deleted]! [Deleted]! [Deleted]!

So … there I was.

Watching Terry Prachett’s Hogfather on the TeeVee, and just as Susan (Death’s Granddaughter) and Bilious (The God of Hangovers) head off on Binky (Death’s horse) …

… the picture went right down the khazi.


Something DirectTeeVee neglects to mention in their ads is that if you have heavy cloud-cover, the signal tends to, shall we say — break up — on it’s way to your dish.

Since it is, as I type, snowing, it’s safe to say that we’ve got heavy cloud-cover.


Great. Just great. And I was so enjoying that movie, too.

A quick run around the Intarwebz reveals that a Hogfather DVD is available. In England. In the PAL/SECAM format.

Since American TeeVees run on the NTSC format, this doesn’t perzackly help me any.

Bugger ’em all.



Abby ... Normal?

37 thoughts on “[Deleted]! [Deleted]! [Deleted]!”

  1. A lot of DVD player software supports playback of PAL/SECAM disks. The region lockout code may be a bigger issue (since a UK disk is Region 2 and a DVD drive you bought in the U.S. will be Region 1). Some free or open source software players will ignore the region lockout codes too, though newer DVD drives have regional lockout built into the disk. It’s kind of a gamble, but since you really seem to want to see this movie, you might want to give it a try.

  2. If it’s snowing, check the surface of your dish – any snow or moisture there can futz up the signal as well.

  3. Far be it for I, John Q. Internets, to suggest something illegal, but have you thought about commencing to the ol’ piracy? Or, failing/avoiding that, I think there are some pay-per-movie film streaming businesses that offer legit and legal content direct-to-computer. I can’t remember any names, but hopefully someone who does will catch sight of the comment…

    ~Baker M. Romeo

  4. We recorded it to the sat/dish hard drive. Maybe that can be burnt to a DVD…. for my own personal use of course, which is completely legal.

    BUggrit, Millennium hand and shrimp!

    Email me.

  5. I’ve got dish and it is pretty good about not crapping out in heavy weather. It had to be raining extremely hard or have a thunderstorm tower directly in-line with the dish and the sat to drop the signal below the threshold. Snow has to be quite heavy before it kills it. It even managed to stay up during an ice storm last winter which covered the entire dish and LNB in a heavy glaze.

    Now if a bird gets up there and decides to perch on the LNB or the arm it can whack the signal. Then there was the raccoon incident….

  6. See? If we’d just had the sense to not stop fighting the war until it was over, England, as the 14th state, would be in the same region code as the real world.

  7. My wife picked up a copy a week ago, in the US so it better be NTSC, I don’t have a PAL player. I haven’t watched it yet it was intended as a Christmas as gift for the family.

  8. There are many DVD players available that are multinorm (supporting all region codes)…we bought one for $80 so we could get Quinn DVDs from Germany.

  9. Last I checked, it was legal for one person to make a copy of a copywrited work and give that copy to an aquaintance, provided that no one makes any tangible profit.

    That being said, and the wife being a HUGE Pratchett fan, I own a copy of the PAL disc. If asked, I can turn that into something that your NTSC can understand, if asked to do so.

  10. There used to be a copy available on Youtube, in 5 sections.

    As an aside, a little pam cooking spray on the old dish will prevent snow accumulation. Won’t help you with the cloud interference, but it will prevent your dish from becoming an unusually large, flat snowball.

  11. This is why, when I bought my last DVD player, I specifically went looking for the ones that had been modified to be region-free/all-region and had the PAL to NTSC converter.

    I already have the signal converting VCR.

    Having family all over the planet means you have to pay just a little bit more for the pleasure of getting around artificial trade impediments.

  12. hey Lawdog, look up the PHILIPS DVP3140 its a dvd player that’s region free, and will play divx and avi files as well. I have an older version and it plays just about everything I’ve thrown at it. Its on for under $40 at circuit city right now with free shipping. Cheers,

  13. I had DirecTV for about 4 years before switching to DISH. It is a bit better about sticking through the weather. Not perfect, but better.

    And if anybody finds a way to burn off the DVR please let me know 😉

  14. Play the DVD on your ‘puter? I would assume that you can download whatever you need to make your computer read and play a DVD from anywhere. (Assumptions can be a problem, though…)

    We never got any snow, though we had some rain that landed kinda slushy on the windshield.

  15. Check Borders book stores. They’re selling NTSC versions for $17, or at least they were last Tuesday when LabRat and I got our copy. It doesn’t seem to show on their website, but I swear on a stack of Discworld hardcovers they had a big ‘ol stand full of Similar-To-Our-Christmas goodness.

    Ho. Ho. Ho.

  16. Until March you can only get the NTSC DVD at Border’s. They have exclusive marketing until then.

    I bought a low-cost portable DVD player because it is Region free and plays either PAL or NTSC discs. So I was able to watch the Hogfather DVD I ordered from Amazon.uk.

    And one nitpick, it’s “Bilious (The Oh God of Hangovers)”.

  17. While I haven’t tested the specific model I’m about to link, what you need is a DVD player like this that will convert PAL to NTSC (as well as being region-free so it can play R2 discs such as you will get from Britain). Either that or wait until it shows up in NTSC region 1.

    Here, try something like this.

    * Plays Region 1,2,3,4,5,6,9,0 DVDs from anywhere in the world
    * Dual Voltage 110V~220V & PAL NTSC Compatible
    * Plays DVD, Audio CD, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, Audio CD, MP-3 and WMA on CD-R/CD-RW
    * Digital Cinema Progressive Scan (3:2 Pulldown)
    * Built-in 3 way 16MB PAL to NTSC video converter allows playback of PAL movies on a NTSC TV or NTSC DVDs on a PAL TV. Basically this DVD player will play any region DVD movie on an American TV without any extra equipment, even RCE and REA movies.

  18. Get yourself a bigger-diameter dish, best money I ever spent. We have big trees, plus the snow and rain…zero downtime since the bigger dish.

    Doesn’t have to be the old NASA-size monsters, just about 2x diameter of the factory one and you’re good to go.

  19. babsrn:
    And if anybody finds a way to burn off the DVR please let me know 😉

    Three meathods:

    Go to tivocommunity.com and hack the snot out of your tivo.

    Get a slingbox and stream your tivo video to the net.

    Get a video capture card for your PC, and pipe your tivo output into it.

  20. Hogfather on american TV?!?!?!? Who was showing it??? We have Dish with Showtime and Encore, please, please, please tell me it was showing on one of those channels!!!!!

    In the meantime, here is an interesting Pratchett site:


    Who is going? 😀

  21. Try doing a search on the internet for DVD hack codes for your player.

    I’ve found it quite easy to use them to turn a NTSC player into a multi-region player

  22. Bigger dish! Amen! They are not easy to obtain, but the dishes used outside of the “normal coverage areas” are about 24″ in diameter and give you a stronger signal (to overcome the times that the snow, thundershowers, whatever do their worst).

    Try Alaskan and Canadian sources for the hardware. There was a time when they had to use a larger antenna for the additional gain to receive the weaker – out of main pattern – signal. I don’t know if this is still the case. In the “lower 48” those larger antennas are pretty much immune to rain outs – a solar storm is another matter, but much more rare.

    This is not one of those huge “C” band antennas, so don’t be afraid of severe geekification.


  23. Hogfather on american TV?!?!?!? Who was showing it??? We have Dish with Showtime and Encore, please, please, please tell me it was showing on one of those channels!!!!!

    It was showing on ION Television — whatever the heck that is.

  24. Hey LD, Did you go see Beowulf yet? I’m curious as to your take on it before I go see it.

    That & “No Country for Old Men”. As a Texas officer, how would you relate to Tommy Lee Jones’s character?

  25. OOO!OOO! Dish has ION, now I hope we are subscribed. Here is the description:

    Category: FAMILY
    Description: ION offers timeless, diverse entertainment with a mix of television series, classic TV favorites, movies, specials and sports the whole family can enjoy.

  26. LawDog- Border’s has Hogfather on disc! My lady bought me a copy day before yesterday; it shows up on the Borders website and everything…

  27. Dog?

    Mail me – markhb@gmail.com

    I’ll bung it up on my FTP for you to bag down. I don’t want to waste the bandwidth unless I know you’re having it, mind. It’ll play fine on your magic elf box.

  28. Check on Amazon for a PAL compliant player. I believe that is where my brother got his so he could play the Brit series, “Blot on The Landscape.

  29. Your rant about Direct TV ending with: “Bugger ’em all!” has you sounding like Foul Ol’ Ron.

    BTW I got to see the hole thing and it was great! They followed the book’s storyline to a T.

    (And Mr. Teatime was creey as hell, no?)

  30. As blackeagle alluded to, you can play PAM/SECAM DVDs on a computer, and if you buy another drive that you dedicate as your “Region 2 Drive” (since DVD drives are under $30 now). If you don’t have your computer in a place that’s good to watch movies from, then use software like DVDShrink and burning software to put it onto a DVD you can play on normal NTSC/Region1 players.

  31. The DVR schedule says that Hogfather will be playing throughout December. Perhaps you will be able to pick it up on the TV 101 on DirecTV on one of those sessions. After all, it can’t stay cloudy forever. 🙂

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