So today, for the first time (well, the second, but I wasn't actually serious about fixing it the first time), I tried to get DVDs to play properly on the laptop. Now, given the fact that it's a near top-of-the-line laptop with a ton of power and a monster 17" screen, you'd think this would just work, right? But no, ultra-choppy display. Crappy sound. Very, very annoying.
Turns out the IDE device wasn't in DMA mode. God knows why it wouldn't be turned up to full speed, but there it is. Some googling and investigating (and use of the windows help system to figure out what to google for) soved the problem. And now I have a working DVD player. Woo.
But I shouldn't have had to have fought the damned thing in the first place. Jeez.