I recently bought a Compaq Presario 5130 which comes bundled with a DVD Player. I was advised by Compaq that the player plays Zone 3 as well as All Zone discs. I tried unsuccessfully to play a Zone 3 disc - my computer also crashed in the process. Someone else ran the same disc on their stand-alone DVD player and had no problems. I then ran a few All Zone discs on the player. While the video was all right, the audio was poor, fading in and out, and the player would not respond to menu commands. I called Compaq and was told that since the player worked with some discs and not others there was no effective way to 'check' my DVD player for malfunction. I called the Compaq technical support hotline and was told Compaq had received other complaints regarding the player and had requested tests. However, the technician did not know when, or if, the tests would be run and whether or not a solution would be found. The technician also said DVD incompatibility problems were well-known industry-wide and no solution seemed in sight. I called Compaq's customer support to lodge a customer complaint and was told, in a remarkable display of condescension, that as a special favour to me, they would test the discs in question on their own machine. As I don't own the Zone 3 disc in question, this would mean I would have to shell out $200 to buy a disc that I know won't run on my computer, or rent it at $28 a day, with no promise from Compaq on when it could return the disc to me. The customer services representative also told me that even if they found something wrong with my player and/or the discs, the only thing she could do was to request that tests be expedited. Compaq's position, as I understand it, is that since the warranty does not cover third-party products, they are really under no obligation to do anything. Their offer to test my discs was a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. This pre-supposes, of course, that there is nothing wrong with the DVD player which is covered by the warranty! Compaq apparently is aware that certain Zone 3 discs will not run on the DVD player, but is not able to advise consumers on which discs will run and which won't. The customer services representative advised vaguely that 'shorter' discs generally fared better than 'longer' discs. Please invite your readers who may have experienced similar problems to e-mail me at maylee8netvigator.com. MAY LEE Hong Kong Incompatibility problems are still an issue with DVDs. But in your case I would imagine the problem is with the players rather than with the discs themselves since your friend had no problems playing them. I find Compaq's apparent attempt to blame the discs more than a little strange and would like to see it explain this to customers through this column. At the end of the day, you aren't in a great position. If the machine won't play Zone 3 discs, that's that. Over the years, I have learned the hard way never to spend money on version one of any technology if I can help it. It is much better to wait until the technology is more mature (and often cheaper) before falling for all the supposed bells and whistles.