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Deep Ape Review: The Rifftrax DVD Player

It would seem to the naked, dirty eye that I’ve left behind my days of writing reviews. But nay, say I. As long as I have opinions, I will desire to force those opinions on others. It’s the American way. Of course, since I’m only 50% American, I’ve been slacking off horribly. Now, with the release of the Rifftrax DVD Player software, I have found something so lovely that even I cannot procrastinate it any longer.

For the majority of the Rifftrax brand’s lifespan, the hordes of Nelson followers have been clamoring for a piece of software that would simplify the tedious process of synching the Rifftrax MP3s with their fetid DVD counterparts. Speaking for myself, I know that this has been a large factor in keeping me away from the commentaries. No matter what Rifftrax employees will tell you, synching is a huge pain in the ass. People tried using certain programs, but nothing really seemed to make the process easy enough. Fortunately – and believe me, I’m going light on the hyperbole here – Rifftrax has finally made the synching process downright delightful.

The Rifftrax DVD Player, now currently in beta, far exceeds my expectations of what Rifftrax synching software ought to be. As you can see in the interface pictured above, it’s sleek and relatively straight-forward. Simply pop a DVD in your computer, load the .riff file (more on that later) and, in theory, the player links the commentary and the DVD together, allowing you to start, stop, fast-forward, and rewind them both simultaneously with just a click of a button.

Why do I say “in theory”? My laptop’s DVD player isn’t quite in working condition, so I haven’t actually been able to try it out myself. So, yes, this is a somewhat incomplete review. Still, from what I can see, the player looks like a phenomenally sweet piece of work, especially considering that it’s only just in beta. It’s totally free (not sure if that will ever change), so I’d recommend downloading it right away. Check the FAQ, if you’re still not satisfied, Demanding McDemandypants.

Are they any negatives? Well, yes. For one, Mac users and fans from outside the U.S. are out of luck, as it requires Windows XP/Vista and only works with NTSC DVDs. The Rifftrax in question also has to have a .riff file available, and not all of them have one yet. If you’ve already paid for an MP3 Rifftrax, check the “Files” tab in your order history to see if there’s a .riff file available for the track(s) you own. If so, the .riff file should be free to download. You can even extract the MP3 from the .riff file via the Player, should you need to port the track around in your iPod of choice.

So, if you’ve been complaining about the synching aspect of Rifftrax, your days of legitimately whining are over. (Unless you don’t have a DVD drive, that is.) If you’re still skeptical about the software, the folks at Rifftrax put together a video tutorial for the player, which is embedded above. The negatives are fairly minimal (for me, at least) and I’d have to grade it thusly:

A-

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