Why should directors and actors have the only commentaries you can listen to on your DVDs? Suppose you're watching a popular or controversial movie and you want to hear a particular historical or political perspective on it? Or hear it translated to a language not on the DVD? Or hear the wisecracks from a couple of your funny friends, like on Mystery Science Theatre 2000? There's a new utility, Sharecrow, that lets you play commentary tracks in sync with your DVD.
The Sharecrow player [download] plays DVDs on your computer screen. This utility synchronizes the commentary playback with your DVD playback, so even if you pause, skip around, or rewind your movie, the commentary will stay in sync. (The Sharecrow creation utility enables you to assign locations in your own recorded commentaries to DVD title and chapter beginnings.)
Can you do all this without Sharecrow? Sort of. A lot of good movie and TV show commentaries are on the Web. You download them, cue them up in your audio player or iPod, and make sure to start them when you hit Play on a movie viewer or a DVD player. Everything's cool as long as you don't press pause or want to skip around. If you do, good luck resyncronizing the commentary.
Sharecrow is not ideal for people whose only Windows display is a small laptop in their home office and who like watching DVDs in their living room. It is also not enough for the true multimedia junkie--we need a version that works with downloaded movie files. And it would be useful to have a version that works directly on a TiVo. But those are early stage nitpicks. This is a great idea for movie buffs, especially those with Windows Media Center setups.