[mythtv-users] OEM vs. Retail Drives - Was: Dell dual-quad...

Brian Wood beww at beww.org
Thu Oct 25 19:52:59 UTC 2007

Yan Seiner wrote:
> Josh White wrote:
>> I'm not worried about the price point, I'm sure even at $36 I'm paying 
>> 10x the manufacturing cost.  What I am worried about was the fact that 
>> the outer layer of packaging was a cardboard box, then a layer of foam 
>> peanuts, then bubble wrap, then a plasitc bag, and then the drive 
>> itself.  No asus box, nothing.  No manual, wires, registration card, 
>> anything.  All I got was a box that they threw some basic packaging 
>> materials in and a drive.  Like it was just pulled out of a system they 
>> had lying around.  I guess that's probably better packaging than dell 
>> receives at their assembly plants, but still.  Not what I'm used to. 
> OEM v. retail - the OEM stuff is bulk-packed, with little to no stuff - 
> maybe a CD.  Retail comes in a nice box with stuff.
> You pay more for retail packages.  Do you really need the package?  :-)

One other difference between retail and OEM that is unique to DVD drives:

The retail versions come with some sort of software to play commercial
(ie: CSS protected) disks. That software is licensed to do this.

Without such a license you are technically in questionable territory if
you play a DVD, and even more so if it's CSS "protected".

An OEM bare DVD drive is sold on the assumption that the system
integrator will be providing licensed software to play protected DVDs,
as well as (perhaps) a licensed MPEG2 decoder. The retail drive makes no
such assumption.

These issues are not usually of interest to Linux users, as there is no
"legal" way to play a CSS disk under that OS that I'm aware of (in the
USA that is). There have been one or two attempts to create licensed
Linux DVD software, they all seem to fade away for some strange reason.

I've been told that the combined license fees for a commercial
standalone DVD player, including the rights to use the various logos
(DVD, CD-ROM,"Digital Audio" MPEG, MP3 et al) come close to $20 these
days. Even the stripped down versions of player software that ship with
retail drives must cost something, though perhaps not as they are often
used as marketing tools to try and sell the upgraded versions.

But in any case, no matter how it's packaged, all I care about is:

Does it work?

If it doesn't, does the vendor back it up?

I'll always pay a little more to buy from a vendor I know or who has a
solid reputation.


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