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Think DVDs last forever? Say hello to DVD Rot

By bee in News
Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 02:26:32 PM EST
Tags: Movies (all tags)

DVDs were supposed to do for movies what compact discs did for music-- provide a digital format for movies that never wears out and lasts virtually forever. Unfortunately, the Sydney Morning Herald reported over the weekend that DVDs are not as indestructible as you might think; unofficially between 1 and 10 percent are coming down with DVD rot.

Even better, since it can take a year or two for a DVD to go bad, the distributors are generally refusing to replace the defective DVDs, since the warranties are usually only for 90 days or so. Some rental stores are reporting that they sometimes can only get 2 or 3 rentals out of a DVD before it becomes unplayable-- hardly an 'indestructible' format.

DVD rot is generally a combination of corrosion of the internal surface, and delamination-- literally, the layers of the disc separating from each other. The Sydney article claims that the main cause of this is poorly designed cases, but ambiguously doesn't say whether this is the clear plastic shell that is the outer layer of the disc itself, or the storage container the disc comes in.

The question I have is: have the distributors known this all along, and figure that they'll get more sales of people re-buying failed DVDs than they'll lose from bad publicity about defective ones? Or is this just a natural result of cutting corners in the manufacturing process? Either way, I'd recommend taking a closer look at your DVDs and check them to see if yours are dying.


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Do you own any DVDs that have gone defective?
o No, I don't own any DVDs 23%
o No, but I don't own that many DVDs anyways 46%
o No, and I have a fairly substantial collection 22%
o Yes, but I was able to exchange it 1%
o Yes, and I'm stuck with it 5%

Votes: 161
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Sydney Morning Herald
o DVD rot
o Also by bee

Display: Sort:
Think DVDs last forever? Say hello to DVD Rot | 77 comments (53 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden)
This isn't news (4.25 / 4) (#1)
by Sven on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:40:06 PM EST

I read the same thing in The West Australian on Saturday. The mainstream press would like to pretend that this is a huge conspiracy that they've just discovered, but people have known about it for years. A very quick search on Google Groups shows that people have been talking about it as far back as 1998.

In any case, people should be aware that this is something that could happen to their DVDs, and if it does they should be pestering the distributors for a replacement.

harshbutfair - you know it makes sense

Even before 1998 (4.66 / 3) (#7)
by 90X Double Side on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 12:09:16 AM EST

...since DVD rot is essentially the same thing as CD rot! It's a failure of the glue that holds the layers of the disc together, so the only difference between CDs and DVDs in this regard is that DVDs have more layers. It's amazing how one little article in a mainstream newspaper can get people so worried about a problem they've been living with for over a decade (which is not to say that the problem doesn't exist, it's just that eveyone who owns a CD is already living with it: why the sudden shock and dismay?). Here's the statement The Digital Bits made about the article today:

We've been getting a lot of e-mails from people who are suddenly worried about "DVD rot" affecting their movie collections. It seems  a recent article in The Sydney Morning Herald addressed the issue, claiming that it affects between 1 and 10% of all DVD discs. First to explain... "DVD rot", or any kind of optical disc rot, is something that can occur when the bond between             the different layers of a disc fail, a process called delamination.  This tends to happen most frequently with rental discs, that are put through extreme wear and are often poorly handled.

Of course, this story has a lot of you freaked out and checking your movie libraries. Can DVD rot occur? Yes, in limited cases. But I can tell you that we've never experienced this here at The Digital Bits, and we've looked at literally thousands of discs. More often than not, we believe that what's happening is that people buy a new DVD player, and go back to watch older discs in their collection on it. Each DVD player reacts a little differently, and sometimes a disc that had no problems in the past can cause a pause, or freeze on a different player. Also, these things can be caused by scratches on the disc's surface - scratches which can be repaired by kits available on the market. To test this, you need to make sure the error is repeatable, and that it happens the same on more than one model of player. Again, this isn't to say that DVD rot isn't possible or that some people aren't experiencing it. It's just to say that you shouldn't start worrying too much. If you are concerned, pick a sampling of the oldest titles in your collection and watch them. But generally, we believe the problem isn't large enough that people need to worry.

“Reality is just a convenient measure of complexity”
—Alvy Ray Smith
[ Parent ]
Netcraft confirms: *DVD is dying. (3.56 / 16) (#2)
by it certainly is on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:40:11 PM EST


kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.

Nah. (none / 0) (#72)
by tkatchev on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 12:45:05 PM EST

More like stillborn.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

charnel house (none / 0) (#77)
by ethereal on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 06:14:44 PM EST

Say it!


Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

Of course they knew... (3.66 / 3) (#4)
by DeadBaby on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:44:00 PM EST

There's no such thing as a perfect storage medium. I'm sure they knew there was a chance it would rot. We'll probably never have perfect storage mediums.

If it makes you feel any better though... The ratio of rotted DVD's vs. pirated movies probably negates the percieved sales surge you suggest will occur due to rotted DVD's.

Problem solved.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan

The perfect storage medium is a RAID-5 (2.00 / 1) (#17)
by Mysidia on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 10:41:00 AM EST

... with automatic offsite backups

CD/DVDs are effective data transfer mediums, definitely not the best for extended archival purposes.

-Mysidia the insane @k5
[ Parent ]
I find it amazing (4.33 / 3) (#5)
by j1mmy on Tue Feb 04, 2003 at 11:49:19 PM EST

that plastic can degrade.

Plastic is vulnerable to UV (4.85 / 7) (#11)
by RyoCokey on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 01:12:51 AM EST

Almost all plastics are slowly destroyed by UV rays. Witness the glazing of headlights as time goes on, etc. Additionally, as the basic material of plastic is just hydrocarbons, bacteria and fungus occasionally eat plastic.

"It's from Indymedia. It sure as hell is fiction." - rusty
[ Parent ]
My sarcasm failed :( [n/t] (4.50 / 6) (#16)
by j1mmy on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 09:07:10 AM EST

[ Parent ]
It's ok (3.50 / 2) (#47)
by RyoCokey on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 01:00:42 AM EST

If there weren't so many insufferable idiots on this site, I'd still have my ability to sense sarcasm. I miss it sometimes.

"It's from Indymedia. It sure as hell is fiction." - rusty
[ Parent ]
and by "site" (none / 0) (#71)
by Wah on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 10:21:47 AM EST

you mean "planet", right?
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure on that. (4.00 / 1) (#64)
by static on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 06:13:32 PM EST

They use UV-light to cure the plastic in a CD or a DVD. The CD "rot" problem of a decade ago was from an older and cheaper manufacturing process that used hot air to cure the plastic.


[ Parent ]

Overblown (4.50 / 6) (#6)
by snowmoon on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 12:02:59 AM EST

For those unfarmilar with the legacy of "rot". It's a term used to describe a process by which certin type of optical media "break down" or  oxydize over time.  This degration is progressive and renders the media unplayable over time.  The most notorious "rot" was laserdisk rot where the picture slowly became unwatchable.  CD's also had a problem with rot while they were still in the process of refining mass cd production.  There were many doomsday articles about the loss of cd's as well and over the decause that many of us have owned CD's I would bet the number of "rot" damaged disks is almost none.

First off DVD ROT is a horrible term.  In DVD's it more akin to "layer seperation".  I would like to see your figures on the rental quote since it seems highly questionable.  Even if it were close to being true it has more to do with handling than "rot".

Yes, some people have reported "rot" on a small number of their DVD collection.  Most of these people live in climates that are not condusive for ANY type of media storage.  ROT is a manufaturing defect and most manufacturers WILL REPLACE roted disks.  ROT can ganerally be traced back to one or two PLANTS where poor manufacturing has cause layer seperation.

On the other hand the majority of owners have had no rot problems at all.  People on http://www.avsforum.com/ , some with collections of 1000+ have not reported one case of rot in any of the high risk titles.

Perhaps (3.50 / 2) (#8)
by bee on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 12:56:55 AM EST

The figures on the rental quote came directly from the linked-to article. I weakened their statement mildly in my summary.

Layer separation is only one of the problems mentioned-- there's also corrosion of the interior material, which I would doubt has much if anything to do with user handling.

Statements like 'the majority of owners have had no rot problems at all' are probably true, along with statements like 'the majority of Windows owners have never experienced a Blue Screen of Death'.

[ Parent ]

Climate? (3.80 / 5) (#9)
by omegadan on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 01:04:44 AM EST

How is the climate inside my air conditioned house not acceptable for media storage? And why do I have several bad disks ...

Religion is a gateway psychosis. - Dave Foley
[ Parent ]

"Laser rot" overrated (3.00 / 1) (#57)
by b1t r0t on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 02:22:12 PM EST

A bad laserdisc pressing can have speckles due to dust inclusions, etc. during manufacturing, but the disc does not get worse over time. In my experience, this is much more common than laser rot. Unfortunately there are too many people who don't know the difference and call this rot, too.

In true laser rot, the disc gets worse over time, in a way reminiscent of snow on a remote TV station. I have some old CAV Discovision discs which are clearly rotted, but I also have some which are merely speckled.

-- Indymedia: the fanfiction.net of journalism.
[ Parent ]

Not entirely true... (none / 0) (#65)
by pla on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 09:57:34 PM EST

The most common form of DVD rot results from manufacturing defects. But check out this article from "Nature"... A fungus that does actually "eat" CDs (and should do just as well on DVDs).

Somewhat uncommon, but one more nail in the coffin of the "CDs/DVDs last forever" argument against digital backup rights. Suck on *that*, Jack Valenti.

Personally, I make backups (as XVid or SHN files) of all my DVDs and CDs, and most certainly will not stop this habit. HDD space costs almost nothing these days - For the price of one replaced DVD, I can store backups of 5-10 full length movies, or 3-5 with no compression at all (though a 2Gb XVid can *easily* store an 4.5Gb DVD without any noticeable degradation of quality) . For the price of one replacement CD, I can store 20-30 audio CDs in a totally uncompressed format (double that for the lossless SHN, FLAC, or Monkey's formats).

So while I agree with you in practice, not making backups of CDs and DVDs seems just as stupid and wasteful as not making backups of one's important financial info.

[ Parent ]
This seems to be a serious issue with DVD-R (3.50 / 2) (#10)
by RyoCokey on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 01:10:15 AM EST

I've had a really bad luck with two separate brands of DVD-R. Had a 25% rot rate on the first batch within weeks, and now have %4 on the second brand. Anyone else having this problem?

"It's from Indymedia. It sure as hell is fiction." - rusty
Best luck with HP DVD+R and DVD+RW (4.00 / 3) (#12)
by demi on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 01:27:27 AM EST

I have seen some pressed DVDs that were of abysmal quality. Some of these were Asian pirate DVDs that were scratched from the day I bought them. Since the feature spacing on the DVD surface is so much smaller than for CDs or VHS, it doesn't surprise me at all that the normal formation of tiny cracks on the aluminum inner disc would render a lot of the low-quality media unusable.

I've probably burned 50 DVDs already (Ahead Nero software), and I had occasional problems with every brand except HP. I don't know who makes their DVDs, but those are certainly the highest quality I've used so far. They're more expensive, too, but keep an eye on pricewatch and you'll find them cheap.

Check your DVD's (4.66 / 6) (#13)
by gokul on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 04:44:49 AM EST

You mention that people should check their DVDs before buying. How exactly do you do that ? The article seems to mention that rotting only starts about a year or two after the cd is bought.
The only solution would be customer pressure so that the poorly pressed DVDs be replaced by the distributors.
Or are we going to see mass recalls like in the car/trye industry etc. ?

Easily damaged data layer (3.50 / 2) (#19)
by krek on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 11:26:03 AM EST

I remember when DVD's were first introduced, they were supposed to be double sided with a nice plastic coating on each side to protect your data. Instead, what happened was that they removed one side and put disc art on one side. The trouble is that the data is on the other side of that disc art, the slightest of scratches or indentations on that disc art will very seriously damage the data on the other side.

It is the same for CD's, and my theory is that they did this on purpose, to make the discs easier to damage, and therefore more likely to need replacing. If you want DVD's that will tough it out better than most, buy the old ones, in the cardboard cases, they are almost all double sided discs (standard and widescreen) with the data firmly, and securely, ensconced between two layers of plastic.

Well (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 03:27:44 PM EST

I have NEVER lost a CD or had problems because of damage to the disc art and underlying data layer - it's always scratches and shit on the bottom that have given me trouble.

"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

I lose them often due to that (4.50 / 2) (#33)
by t v on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 04:13:21 PM EST

Look closely at your cd's and dvd's.  While I don't think it was done for the specific reason of shortening their life, you can easily see that the data layer is not pressed between the plastic housing, it is either part of the top-side label or the label is screened / placed over it.

I have lost too many cd's to having that top layer getting scratched in my car.  I now take every cd I get and copy it directly to a cdr for use in my car (totally within my rights - RIAA don't come after me!).

My thoughts about the data layer not being pressed within the disc are all in line with the manufacturing process being cheaper.  One less step if you don't have to press another layer on the disc after placing the data.  I may be completely wrong, but'it seems like a much more likely scenario.

[ Parent ]

No... (4.50 / 2) (#34)
by fluffy grue on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 04:14:44 PM EST

Two-sided DVDs were always intended to be one choice of formats for certain purposes. Many DVDs (notably ones released by Warner Bros.) are two-sided, putting 4:3 on one side and 16:9 on the other. This is cheaper than putting both versions on a single-sided dual-layer disc, and is a lot easier for most people to deal with than having to actually configure their player to select the right video track.
"Ain't proper English" ain't proper English.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

All DVDs are "double sided" (3.00 / 1) (#58)
by b1t r0t on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 02:35:38 PM EST

Having one side with label art does not mean that the data can be damaged by something happening on the label side, like you can do with a CD. If you don't believe me, stick your fingernail into the hub of any DVD, even a single-layer. There's a gap there because all DVDs are made of two layers bonded together.

-- Indymedia: the fanfiction.net of journalism.
[ Parent ]
No, I don't think DVDs last forever. (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by Fon2d2 on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 11:33:42 AM EST

I'm not stupid. I've mistreated plenty of CDs to know how you handle them can significantly affect their quality. I've often wondered about the medium they chose for DVDs. The higher density makes them much more sensitive to scratches than CDs yet there is no jacket. It must be a matter of cost versus benefits. But still, VHS tapes come in a jacket. And really, how much does it cost to press a DVD? I've certainly faced my share of problems with DVD rentals, what with all the skips and the pauses. It's damn irritating, and in my opinion, inexcusable.

Not according to Jack Valenti. (4.71 / 7) (#36)
by gr3y on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 10:06:46 PM EST

Jack Valenti, President of the MPAA, was interviewed by Harvard Political Review online. In the interests of "full disclosure", the interview was posted to Slashdot's front page today (2003/02/05). It is currently available from the Harvard Political Review online.

Jack said that DVDs last forever, which is why there's just no need to copy them, ever:

"But you've already got a DVD. It lasts forever. It never wears out. In the digital world, we don't need back-ups, because a digital copy never wears out. It is timeless."

Quoted from: HPRonline

Interesting, no?

I am a disruptive technology.

DVDs vs. CDs (4.66 / 3) (#38)
by DarkZero on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 11:29:37 PM EST

Some rental stores are reporting that they sometimes can only get 2 or 3 rentals out of a DVD before it becomes unplayable-- hardly an 'indestructible' format.

This statement is completely unrelated to DVD rot, but it brought something to mind that I've wondered about in the past. Does anyone know if there's a difference in durability between DVDs and CDs and if so why they would be like that? Almost all of the DVDs that I've ever rented have been riddled with defects. I rented a DVD from Blockbuster that wasn't exactly in and out the door all the time (Night Walker: Midnight Detective) and it was unplayable. I rented Gran Turismo 3 for the PS2 and it had a glitch that made it unplayable at one point until I fixed the disc. Almost all of the other DVDs that I've rented have had at least two places where the video freezes and they've all been covered in scratches.

Compare this to CDs. I've taken CDs out of the library and they've been fine. I rented probably dozens of PS1 games during the life of my system and never once had a problem. An almost 100% rate of defect versus a 100% rate of flawlessness. This is all just anecdotal evidence, but if it's just me, then my luck with rentals must've turned really, really sour as soon as the DVD format became the norm in games and movies. Then again, it's not just my personal anecdotes, because anyone that I've ever talked to at a rental store has espoused their hatred of the DVD format. They tell me that their DVDs are practically disposable.

So, what's wrong with them?

Don't know (3.00 / 1) (#42)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 11:59:50 PM EST

Don't know what's wrong with them. I think DVD's are more fragile too, but I haven't had many problems and I use Netflix. In fact I can only think of one movie that skipped, and it was only in one spot. Of course Netflix and Blockbuster have a different clientele, maybe Netflix customers are more respectful to the disc.

Tapes are far more durable than DVD's but they do lose quality over time. DVD is a much better format of course, and stores can replace them because they're so cheap.

jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

Not just surface hardness (3.00 / 1) (#52)
by locke baron on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 09:40:33 AM EST

But flexibility, too. I was polishing one of my DVDs  just the other day, and it took far less force to bend (and subsequently crack) it than it would have for a CD. I hadn't noticed this with SuSE's DVD-ROM installation media, but it seems to be near-universal for DVD movies (except those on DVD-R, which surprisingly, seems to be as durable as CD-R).

Why this is, I'm not sure, but I half-suspect it's intentional. (seeing as amateur DVDs don't suffer from this, nor does most non-game software on DVD).

Micro$oft uses Quake clannies to wage war on Iraq! - explodingheadboy
[ Parent ]

Blockbuster (4.00 / 1) (#53)
by rhyax on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 10:04:07 AM EST

I worked there for a while, honestly, I don't know if dvds are more prone to damage, but customers damage everything at an alarming rate. This is based more on visual inspection than playing-defects though, so I think is more likely to be due to customer-caused damage. After about 3 rents is is almost guaranteed that at least one large visible scratch will appear. I don't know why this is, we don't rent enough ps1 games to compare really. Customers damage other things as well though, game controllers are good for maybe 2 months etc.

My theory is that it is the clientele, those 45 year old women in the SUVs who can't hang up the cell phone when they're checking out are probably good to get the dvd in the machine in the correct orientation, anything else is wishful thinking. (this may be shocking, but I couldn't count the number of times a dvd gets shoved through the drop-box slot not in a box! yes, this happens with vhs too, but it's much more durable.)

[ Parent ]

data more compressed (4.00 / 1) (#63)
by Rhodes on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 04:22:54 PM EST

The laser reading the data is significantly shorter wavelength on DVD's than CD's. That means that per unit area, there is more information on a DVD. That means scratchs will affect more data. My subjective impression is that DVD's are scratched more easily than CD's, and the scratches more devastating.

[ Parent ]
why are DVDs scratchable? (3.00 / 1) (#40)
by Delirium on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 11:46:44 PM EST

It seems inexcusable that such a new format as DVD is so easily scratchable. The original playstation games years ago were coated so this wouldn't be a problem, and I even own a few audio CDs with similar coatings (the underside is black-colored). Why don't DVDs have this?

(Yeah, this is unrelated to the delamination, but related to the low number of times DVDs can be rented out before being replaced.)

Layers? (none / 0) (#75)
by xL on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 01:11:53 PM EST

I could imagine such a thick coating is incompatible with dual layer discs?

[ Parent ]
Stupid Consumers! (3.00 / 2) (#44)
by bjlhct on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 12:06:36 AM EST

There are better glues, better etc that would make these hold out for longer. But no, companies save maybe 2 cents on each because they figure that people don't care or don't know. And they're right which annoys me to no end.

I mean, I'd pay a couple bucks for a properly designed heatsink in my computer to get rid of the fan. But naah you can't even find such a thing outside of apple.

[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism

heatsinks (3.00 / 1) (#48)
by Schnapp23 on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 02:18:11 AM EST

Zalman makes some cool looking heatsinks that can be run without fans.

[ Parent ]
Apple? PowerPC? (3.00 / 1) (#51)
by olethros on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 07:48:02 AM EST

If you mean the PowerPC processors, it is because of the ultra-cool design they have :P - they also have embedded versions of those. They are tiny. (I only saw a PPC 604e, not the newer stuff that is used in Macs, but I guess the size is similar).
-- Homepage| Music
I miss my rubber keyboard.
[ Parent ]
Even better: (3.50 / 2) (#45)
by regeya on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 12:06:59 AM EST

Some stuff I've gotten, like, say, O Brother, Where Art Thou? were corroded before I ever got them home. I've only seen one case of delamination.

The industry managed to turn a potential "perfect" home-video format into today's 8-Track Tape.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

Haven't seen this yet... (3.00 / 1) (#49)
by seebs on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 03:21:35 AM EST

But I've had a couple of disks which *started out* slightly damaged; they have a sort of "oil slick" pattern to them, rather than the normal smooth silver, and various players choke on them to varying degrees.

Returned? (3.00 / 1) (#55)
by Platy on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 12:32:33 PM EST

Have you been able to return them and get a "good-looking" replacement DVD?
Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earthbound misfit, I.
[ Parent ]
Haven't tried yet. (3.00 / 1) (#59)
by seebs on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 03:14:46 PM EST

Haven't tried yet, just about to do a couple more tests with different players, then call the store and fuss at 'em.

[ Parent ]
Good luck then! n/t (3.33 / 3) (#62)
by Platy on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 03:58:44 PM EST

Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earthbound misfit, I.
[ Parent ]
disposable rental DVD's (4.00 / 1) (#60)
by idea poet on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 03:27:12 PM EST

Slightly off topic, but still relevant. Friend of mine went for an interview at a very, very large plastics company and he was shown a new concept in rental DVD distribution - the DVD you never have to take back.

Apparently this new type of disc gets packed in light sensitive packaging, and once opened, takes about four days to rot beyond use - when it should be thrown away.

Not to mention what this would do to the environment - DVD's are made from some of the most toughest plastic ever.

On the positive side, (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by ethereal on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 06:13:56 PM EST

Our distant descendants can use sharpened DVDs to scrape hides and cut open roots or the odd animal they capture.


Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

And they dont make everlasting lightbulbs either.. (3.60 / 5) (#61)
by Jaritsu on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 03:49:18 PM EST

They could! But where's the money in that?

When I was in 8th grade my testosterone induced plastics / metals shop teacher taught us all something invaluable. It was a yearly tradition to make acrylic hall passes and sell them to the various teachers as a sort of fundraiser and class project. He told us to use a certain kind of acrylic (I cant remember the name, but it was higher durometer, more brittle and prone to cracks and chipping) rather than the good stuff. When asked why by the students he said "why do you think?".

Everyone went through the usual reasons, was it cheaper? Not really. Did it look different? Not noticeably. Was it easier to work with? Not at all.

It simply ensured that this time next year the old passes would have worn out and the teachers would have to buy some new ones.

Like this article points out (scroll down to see it) Companies such as FlexPlay and Spectra are already making disposable DVDs. Yes, these are planned for short time use in mind, not the same logic as light bulbs and hall passes made to die. But the principal isn't that much different.

Companies like Disney would love nothing more than for DVDs to wear out fast enough so you would be forced to re-buy the same DVD. They were one of the biggest supporters of that ridicules DIVX format and at the time had no plans to release anything on DVD.

As I'm sure you already know, if someone can make a few extra bucks on re-purchased DVD's then they will make it happen. DVD's, like everything else nowadays, are made to be just "good enough to pass". Why would you expect anything more?

"Jaritsu, have you stopped beating your wife yet?" - Kintanon
Not exactly rot, not exactly common (3.00 / 1) (#66)
by Belgand on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 11:07:36 PM EST

So far as I'm aware this has been going on for a long time. It started back in the days of Laserdiscs and wasn't even terribly common back then. Mainly you only got it with early discs. Essentially the problem is cheap, substandard glues being used that allow the layers to seperate. Likewise small pockets of oxygen can form between the layers and lead to seperation as well as other problems. Still, it's not exactly the sort of thing you need to worry about. Get back to worrying that your monitor is pumping dangerous radiation into your skull and transgenic crops will destroy all life on the planet. Even that crap is more productive.

OT: VCDs (4.00 / 1) (#67)
by The Shrubber on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 02:53:56 AM EST

Out of curiosity, why again is it that VCDs never made it to the West?  They seem to be all over Asia, and do the job quite nicely.  Ok, i've never personally used one and maybe you don't get 10 million options and directors cuts, but why not VCDs?

My best guess (none / 0) (#69)
by plenty on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 05:46:13 AM EST

The West already had a substantial installed based/extremely high penetration of VCRs when VCD technology emerged, and as MPEG-1 (the VCD standard) offered no improvement over VHS (it's actually lower resolution than tape), there was no reason for consumers to adopt the technology. In Asia, on the other hand, VCRs while still common are nowhere near as ubiquitous as in Western countries and VHS rentals/sales are not nearly as easily available. Therefore, the market environment was more conducive to the spread of VCDs (especially given their much lower production costs and the fact that there are CD factories dotted all over the continent).

[ Parent ]
Quality. (none / 0) (#70)
by nada on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 06:40:20 AM EST

VCDs are really bad quality.

[ Parent ]
Not SVCD (none / 0) (#74)
by BLU ICE on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 07:16:45 PM EST

Significantly better quality than VHS.

"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

[ Parent ]

I burn SVCDs and VCDs all the time., (none / 0) (#73)
by BLU ICE on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 07:16:08 PM EST

SVCDs and VCDs can be played in almost any set top DVD player. Using Nero, you can have high quality video on CDs that you burn yourself. I encode and burn my divx movies and tv shows to SVCDs quite a bit

VCDs are kind of an old standard now. It holds an hour of mpeg1 video at VHS quality. SVCDs use mpeg-2 encoding, which gives you laserdisc quality. Virtually indistinguishable from a dvd player.

Ok, i've never personally used one and maybe you don't get 10 million options and directors cuts, but why not VCDs?

Actually, they support full menuing, chapters, extra features, etc, just like DVDs. SVCDs are excellent. A near DVD quality movie that you can burn yourself.

"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

[ Parent ]

I love the comment from Warner Home Video (4.85 / 7) (#68)
by arcade on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 02:58:44 AM EST

Warner Home Video's managing director, Stephen Nickerson, said: "If a customer has a problem with a disc and it is clearly a manufacturing problem we will replace it. The question is whether it is caused by a manufacturing problem or customer abuse."

The reason I love this comment, is that according to the same people - you do not BUY the contents of the disks. You licence it. If that was the case, they SHOULD provide you with a replacement for the cost of new media+shipping, as long as you can turn in an old "bad" disk.

But no. They want it both ways. As usual. *sigh*


Think DVDs last forever? Say hello to DVD Rot | 77 comments (53 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden)
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