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DVD unsuitable format for rental ?

By Builder in Technology
Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 10:15:24 PM EST
Tags: Hardware (all tags)
Hardware

Everyone wants DVDs now -- better quality picture and better quality sound. But is buying them the only way to go ?


Having lived in South Africa and moved to the United Kingdom, I have spent many months being surprised by a lack of things that I took for granted back home. One of these is video stores. I really thought that there would be more of them around with the London being such an 'indoor' city.

Of the few that I have found within tube distance, 2 of them (one a Blockbuster, and I can't remember the name of the other) have started to carry DVDs as an option.

I own a DVD player, and I do prefer the quality of both the sound and picture that it provides. But on the whole, I don't buy many DVDs. I'll buy music concerts that I'm interested in or the occasional movie that might be worth re-watching, but I prefer to rent.

Having been presented with the option of DVDs, I rent them over video whenever possible. Of the last 5 that I have rented, two of them have been absolutely filthy and skipped as they started playing, and 1 of them was so badly scratched that it was unwatchable for a 5 minute segment. A segment, might I add, that was critical to the plot!

When I compare this to the hundreds of videos that I have rented over the years, I start to wonder about DVDs' suitability as a rental format. I've never had to clean a video before playing it. Over a period of time, my VCR heads get dirty, but those I only have to clean once every hundred or so movies.

I'm interested to hear what other people think of this topic. Is there a way to make DVD usable as a rental format, or will the robustness of VHS win out?

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DVD unsuitable format for rental ? | 83 comments (83 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
I've always thought VHS was a terrible format. (3.66 / 9) (#1)
by tankgirl on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 12:16:10 PM EST

I've gotten so many tapes that are completely unwatchable, simply because they've been viewed too many times. Both mediums require care, and it's the responsibility of the rental company to keep these products in rentable condition.

Complain, maybe they'll talk to the guy/gal that rented before you, or better yet- charge them for a new copy to replace the damaged one. Then your viewing experience won't be ruined.

Also, it would be interesting to note, since you owned a DVD in both places, whether you've run across more damaged rental DVD's in England or South Africa.

cheers,
Jeri.
"I'm afraid of Americans. I'm afraid of the world. I'm afraid I can't help it." -David Bowie
Quality good, Quality bad. (3.00 / 4) (#2)
by duxup on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 12:27:15 PM EST

I rarely rent DVDs, but I did rent one recently and was concerned about possible quality degradation. Fortunately, the quality was good, but I can see how that might be a problem. If perhaps the video store had some sort of quick scanning device that could identify bad returned DVDs, and would replace them reliably, that would rectify the problem. Granted until a system was worked out where they could do so inexpensively, renting DVDs may become a big problem in the future.

However, I think DVD is unsuitable for rental because . . . there aren't any. Stopping by my local video store (Blockbuster) I find their new release section woefully inadequate. The new releases are droned in new re-releases (I'd rather not watch Throw Mama From The Train on DVD). To make things worse even filtering out the re-releases doesn't help. Very few good movies seem to get released on DVD until long after they are on VHS. The ones that are released on DVD in a timely manner are the ones that did poorly at the box-office (coincidence, I think not).

Where the hell do you live? (3.50 / 2) (#35)
by tzanger on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 09:22:11 AM EST

I live in the middle of nowhere Listowel, ON... that's 40 minutes from a decent (300k+ twin city), an hour from another and an hour and a half from Toronto (1.5Mil IIRC). We have no blockbuster, we have no Roger's Video. We do have a family run video store which has a great DVD section (a shitty web page though). New releases, old movies, you name it. Maybe the Blockbuster franchise you have close to you isn't getting the right funding / training from the megacorp heads.

All the DVDs from the hometown store have a sticker on the box: DAMAGED DVDs WILL BE CHARGED AT FULL REPLACEMENT VALUE. Seems to keep the quality up. :-)



[ Parent ]
DVD should be great... (3.42 / 7) (#3)
by Nafai on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 12:28:02 PM EST

...because they cost SO MUCH LESS than VHS tapes to reproduce. I don't see why the rental places don't (properly?) check DVDs upon return, and just toss out scratched ones and replace it with a new copy.

The materials cannot be more than $1 (probably more like $.25-%50) because most places use generic cases that can be reused, and the only recurring cost is the dvd itself.

I suspect the reason this doesn't happen is the motion picture industry will not let it. The fact that DVDs easily get scratched and need replacing is an income source for them!

So to summarize, I think DVD is an AWESOME format for rental, if the motion picture industry would work with the rental companies.

"work with the rental companies" ha ha h (3.50 / 4) (#4)
by Speare on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 12:56:18 PM EST

So to summarize, I think DVD is an AWESOME format for rental, if the motion picture industry would work with the rental companies.

That's funny. No really.

The motion picture industry HATES the rental biz. They tried to sue the shops out of existence when they first appeared in the early days of videotape.

Shops buy movie media just like we do. Shops rent movies until they stop renting them. If they judge the purchases right, they get many times their investment. That, and late fees, are what makes it possible to buy hundreds of movies and deal with the inevitable peanut butter stains and disappearances. Video rental is already a narrow margin business.

The distributors do not like the idea of making one sale, but letting dozens of families watch the movie. They would not like the idea, even if they got half of the rental revenue, and believe me, the rental stores will not offer half the rental fee in exchange for a few scratch-replacements.
 
[ e d @ e x p l o r a t i . c o m ]


[ Parent ]

Please (4.25 / 4) (#11)
by delmoi on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 03:58:32 PM EST

The motion picture industry HATES the rental biz.

No, the motion picture industry HATED the rental biz, now they love it. Why? Because they make a *ton* of money off of it. They can charge the rental places upwards of 100 per tape, but nowadays, they usually enter into deals where the rental place pays them a royalty per viewing, and the movie company provides them with enough tapes of a new release to sate their customers.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
At this point (4.00 / 2) (#13)
by ZanThrax on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 05:12:45 PM EST

almost every movie makes more money from video rentals than from the actual screenings in theaters. So of course the industry initially fought against it :)

My opinions are my own, not those of whatever philosopher or talk radio drone they may remind you of.




[ Parent ]
cost of rental movies (2.66 / 3) (#6)
by janra on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 02:17:44 PM EST

Ok, I haven't ever worked in a video store, but I was under the impression that video stores had to pay more for a given video than we do, because they rent them out.

Since most movies (well, those made in the states - I haven't checked all that many foreign films) have that 'this is for private viewing only' thing at the beginning, I thought that to legally make money off of the movies they had to pay extra for a 'licence' to 'publically show' and/or make money off of the tape.


--
Discuss the art and craft of writing
That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
[ Parent ]
Sorta (3.00 / 3) (#14)
by omegadave on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 05:25:48 PM EST

Movie rental stores do pay more than consumers do for a new movie because they get it months in advance (ever notice you can rent it before you can buy it at a store?). What happens is that the movie goes down in price after a certain number of months, which is when stores start to sell them. The only exceptions to this are "sell-throughs", movies releases to rental stores and retail stores at the same time, at a low cost, usually done by a publisher that has a movie appeals to everyone.

[ Parent ]
DVD rental scheme needs to be changed (none / 0) (#78)
by richie123 on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 11:17:31 AM EST

I suspect that the rental agreements that Blockbuster and all need to be changed so that the store pays for rental licenses, and not for the disks themselves.

That sounds like the fairest way to run DVD rentals since the disks cost next to nothing to make, and are easy to damage. The store should buy a 100 rental licenses, and have a backup supply of disks to replace damaged ones, and then return damaged disks to the movie distributer.

[ Parent ]
Well, here's the problem.... (3.90 / 10) (#5)
by omegadave on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 01:10:53 PM EST

Having worked at a local, family owned rental store for the past year, here are the problems with DVDs that I've noticed:
  1. They are ruined fast. People don't know how to care for them. This leads into the second problem...
  2. They're expensive. And having to reorder them constantly is not an option because of the time between ordering and receiving, in addition to customers not wanting to pay $100+ to replace them.
While I know VHS tapes get ruined after so many viewings, it was after 75+ viewings typically, compared to the DVDs which have the potential to be hopelessly ruined each time they're rented. Also, if you all are having a hard time finding DVDs to rent, look for a local, non-chain store because they're more likely to have a big selection (We've switched over to DVD mainly as a way to set ourselves ahead of Blockbuster).

Expensive? Compared to what? (2.00 / 1) (#37)
by tzanger on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 09:24:59 AM EST

Replacement value of a VHS tape: $100-250 (CDN). Replacement value of a DVD: $50. Those are the prices the hometown store I go to charges if you damage their stuff.



[ Parent ]
Netflix (3.71 / 7) (#7)
by Refrag on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 02:40:38 PM EST

I've rented many, many DVDs from Netflix since the comany was founded. I've had two discs that arrived in a condition that didn't permit pleasurable viewing. (one was cracked)

I think DVDs are suitable to rental, especially because of their low cost to the rental company. If a DVD is damaged to the point that it affects playback, it shouldn't cost too much to replace it.

Who knows if there is a viable counterpart to Netflix in England, but I'd look into it if I were you.

Refrag

Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches

But they are expensive! (3.66 / 3) (#9)
by Builder on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 03:32:50 PM EST

I've not heard of netflix. Is it a rent by mail kind of thing? We had something here (http://www.urbanfetch.com/) but they shut down.

As far as not costing the rental agency too much to replace them goes, I'm not too sure. I'm not sure if the for-rent industry get significant discounts, over and above what they get for video. As a consumer, it costs me about 20% - 30% more to buy something on DVD than it does on VHS. If the rental agencies are paying the same premium, then for them VHS will continue to make sense. Buy once, rent 50 - 100 times. DVD looks to be buy once, rent 10 - 50 times.

I've hired DVD's 5 nights after the store got them. This means that they can't have had more than 5 previous viewers. On 1 of these occasions I got the one that I describe in my story where a 5 minute segment was unwatchable

If I ran a video store (which I am looking into doing), I'd choose the format that gives more customers acceptable quality with a lower cost to myself, than one that gives fewer customers excellent quality at a higher cost to myself (which I would have to pass on to them)


--
Be nice to your daemons
[ Parent ]
Netflix (3.66 / 3) (#10)
by Refrag on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 03:44:55 PM EST

Netflix rents through the US Postal Service.

VHS tapes cost upwards of $100 when they are first released as part of the rental pricing period when they aren't available to the public. DVDs as of yet do not go through this period, the video store can buy the DVDs for (I'd imagine) the same price that Best Buy or Amazon.com pay for the discs.

Refrag

Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches
[ Parent ]

rentals per disk (3.00 / 2) (#50)
by wonderslug on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 12:58:20 PM EST

I've actually talked to a local rental place about this and what he said is rather disturbing. On average, he said, he barely covers his cost on a DVD before it is so scratched that it's unusable. So that's somewhere in the range of buy once, rent 5-10 times. Nowhere near even your numbers. He also said that if the movie companies start charging exorbitant prices for the rental copies like they do with VHS, there's no way he'll be able to keep doing rentals because of this problem.

Change the country in my email to its initials if you want messages to get to me.
[ Parent ]
Sounds like a great idea (3.00 / 1) (#53)
by deaddrunk on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 04:11:09 PM EST

I wonder if they'll let me have a UK franchise.

[ Parent ]
MovieTrak: DVD rental-by-post in the UK (4.00 / 1) (#61)
by smellycat on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 06:24:54 AM EST

MovieTrak do a DVD rental by post service in the UK. I've used them quite a few times, fast service, fairly cheap and really easy to use.

[ Parent ]
You can have the same problem with both. (3.00 / 7) (#8)
by Anodos on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 02:51:23 PM EST

You mentioned that there was a 5 minute segment that you couldn't watch, because it was skipping? Well, what about a VHS that was so wrinkled, that you couldn't watch it?

Each format has pro's and con's.

This article, and the comments, surprise me. (2.33 / 3) (#12)
by ZanThrax on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 04:47:17 PM EST

I've never had a problem with a rented disc, but I've had plenty of bad tapes. (Orders of magnitude difference in rental numbers, admittedly.) Rented at least three dozen different movies during the year or so that I had a "temporary" roomate in here, and they all played perfectly. Also, are DVD rentals really rare most places? The Blockbuster and Rogers around here both got into DVD's a couple years ago, and now get everything they can in both formats. (naturally, they still get way more tapes, since far more people still have vcrs only) Little shithole local rental places are mostly avoided here, since their selection is usually crap, their prices higher, and their membership requirements more outrageous. (I can get a rogers or blockbuster card easily. the local shitholes want to see bill stubs as proof of address, SIN, photo id, and a paycheck stub sometimes too.) Plus, I know of only one that has any discs at all.

My opinions are my own, not those of whatever philosopher or talk radio drone they may remind you of.




You Should Not Rent The Best DVDs (3.00 / 3) (#42)
by iorek on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 11:58:35 AM EST

I've had quite a few problems with rented VHS tapes, and I've had no problems with rented DVDs. However, that's beside the point.

The best DVDs contain too much information to enjoy in a night. Period. You can spend 5 or 6 hours exhausting its features, or just watch the movie and return it knowing what you've missed. The latter drives me nuts. No matter how bad the movie was, I feel obligated to watch the extra features. In the case of MI-2, they were better than the movie itself :-)

I guess the subject should read: The Time I've Wasted Watching DVDs--rented or bought.

iorek


"Ted Dibiase is a f***ing genius!" - W
[ Parent ]
I prefer the local stores (3.00 / 1) (#67)
by woofbot on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 12:07:22 PM EST

Actually, in my area, the only place I can get DVDs is the "local shithole". Of course I haven't been to Blockbuster in over a year, so that might have changed. Regardless, I prefer the local place. Its only $2.50 a night (less for older flicks), and they actually carry unusual films (read Anime).

[ Parent ]
What's with the anime? (3.00 / 1) (#74)
by Dwonis on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 07:06:12 PM EST

Could you explain to me what is the big deal with Anime? I have a couple of friends who like it, but I've never really sat down and watched one.

[ Parent ]
Just watch, you'll see (none / 0) (#75)
by CrayDrygu on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 11:37:03 PM EST

The best way to find out what it's all about is to actually sit down and watch some. Get your friends to loan you some videos, or go out and rent some. Here's some of my favorites (and note I'm not an anime fan the way some of these people are, so there's not much of a bias in that regard):

Dragon Half -- I think only two episodes of this are available in the US, which is unfortunate, 'cause it's great. It's incredibly funny, and it plays on a ton of different anime stereotypes. Even my mother liked it, and she never watches anime.

Princess Mononoke -- After having almost all my friends reccomend this to me, I sat down and watched it. I've never seen a movie like this one. There's no clear "good guy/bad guy" thing going on. It's very intelligently done, both plot and art. And if you ask me, they did a good job with the voices, too (though with the DVD, you can still watch it in Japanese with subtitles if you prefer)

The DragonBall series -- That's DragonBall, not DragonBall Z. It's marketed in the US as a kid's series, and from what I hear, it was pretty well butchered by the company that brought it over, but if you don't know what's missing, it's still a great cartoon.

Escaflowne -- I don't own this one, but I saw most of the series, and was suitably impressed. It's a more serious plot than the others I've reccomended (I'd say it's even more serious than Mononoke, but I was also rather tired after watching several hours of it, and it was almost a year ago...my memory's fuzzy). It's a great story, though. I want to watch it again some time.

Those are the ones I've liked so far.

[ Parent ]

A few reactions to various comments: (4.37 / 8) (#15)
by Gutboy Barrelhouse on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 05:52:06 PM EST

Is there a way to make DVD usable as a rental format, or will the robustness of VHS win out?

VHS cassettes are obviously designed so that humans never touch the tape. If there were sufficient motive, the same thing could easily be done for DVDs: you'd stick the whole cartridge into the machine, which would slide back a piece of plastic to give the laser access. I'm not trying to claim that at this point it would be practical to make this change, but it would work. Most DVDs would outlive their owners if this were done.

I think DVDs are suitable to rental, especially because of their low cost to the rental company.

This is a VERY nice thing for the rental companies, for as long as it lasts. As noted by others, new VHS cassettes cost big bucks (say, $50-100, depending); there are odd exceptions that are "priced to own" at initial release. It's not exactly true that this is a special video store price: anyone can buy them at street date, but no retail outlet would bother to stock them on the shelf at that price, so you have to place a special order. However, it's clearly the case that the studios inflate the price in order to profit from the rental business. After 6 months (or so) the price comes down.

As DVDs become a bigger and bigger part of the rental game, it will be interesting to see how long they remain cheap at initial release. Do you think the studios will stand by as orders for $100 items (VHS) drop off, replaced by orders for $20 items (DVD)?

If a DVD is damaged to the point that it affects playback, it shouldn't cost too much to replace it.

I presume that like CDs, DVDs are literally dirt-cheap to press. However, at least one poster seems to think that this is what the rental places would have to pay as a replacement charge. No: it would be the usual $20 (or whatever) price. Still better than replacing a VHS, of course.

Complain, maybe they'll talk to the guy/gal that rented before you, or better yet- charge them for a new copy to replace the damaged one.

Yeah, but this is hard to do in practice, because it's lousy customer service. Say you come in with your wrecked disc and ask the store to chase after the previous guy. The previous guy can easily say, "nah, it was like that when I got it, too", or "no no, I returned it in perfect condition; the present guy wrecked it and is trying to avoid blame". Chasing after customers and challenging their honesty in this way is simply no way to run a service-based business.

It would be nice to check each disc before and after every customer rents it, but at bigger chains they deal in too much volume to actually accomplish this on a busy weekend - and if you can't do it 100% of the time, there's not much point in it at all.

Checking discs (4.40 / 5) (#20)
by vaguely_aware on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 07:21:58 PM EST

Yeah, but this is hard to do in practice, because it's lousy customer service. Say you come in with your wrecked disc and ask the store to chase after the previous guy. The previous guy can easily say, "nah, it was like that when I got it, too", or "no no, I returned it in perfect condition; the present guy wrecked it and is trying to avoid blame". Chasing after customers and challenging their honesty in this way is simply no way to run a service-based business.

It would be nice to check each disc before and after every customer rents it, but at bigger chains they deal in too much volume to actually accomplish this on a busy weekend - and if you can't do it 100% of the time, there's not much point in it at all.

There's a medium-sized video store close to where I live, and they do exactly that. It's very simple, really. When you rent a DVD or disc-based video game, the clerk checks the disc. There are several levels of quality, clean, few light scratches, scratched and cracked/unusable. The clerk shows you the disc, informs you of his opinion and if you agree, it's printed on the reciept which you initial.

You are asked to simply hand the disc to an employee when you return it, where they check it. If it's clean or has few light scratches, you're clear. If it's scratched or cracked, they have to check the checkout log and if it was in a better condition when you checked it out, you get to buy it.

It's not a perfect system. Obviously you can't use the night drop, for example; but it's worthwhile to me (someone who takes care with discs out of respect) not to get stuck with bum rentals.

The whole process isn't any more time consuming than, say, having a checker who moves like he was underwater (*cough*blockbuster*cough*) and is fine because most of the burden lies in the return, not the checkout. Most weekend returns happen on weekdays.


----------
"The metric system did not really catch on in the States, unless you count the increasing popularity of the nine-millimeter bullet." - Dave Barry


[ Parent ]
it's called (3.00 / 2) (#34)
by chale on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 04:58:29 AM EST

laser disc. my roommate at the time had bought a LD player (late 80's) and the discs come in a holder that slides into the machine. the machine slides back the cover to get to the disc and you remove the holder from the machine. you reverse the process to get the disc out of the machine. having had experience with the LD format, i thought that the DVD format missed the boat by not adopting the same protective measure. i think the influence of CDs must have affected their thinking.


When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -John Muir
[ Parent ]

That's not LD (4.00 / 1) (#56)
by inpHilltr8r on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 09:24:08 PM EST

I dunno about your mate, but all the laser discs I've ever watched were naked 12" shiny discs, with no protection other than the LP style sleeves they came in, and that goes back to when you could only get CAV discs.

Ahh, CAV laser discs, a truly fun format, Empire Strikes Back came on three double sided discs, but you could do perfect fast/slow forward/reverse with no tracking lines, and no delay. The hours of fun we had making Luke and Darth dance to the music...;)

[ Parent ]
That's CED (4.00 / 1) (#68)
by b1t r0t on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 12:35:27 PM EST

CED (Capacitive Electrical Discharge, I think) was the horrible format produced by RCA and sold by Radio Shack which actually used a needle to track grooves on a disc. The capacitance of the disc at any given point made the signal. But it still used a needle. Bump the player while it was playing, and you could put a permanent skip in the disc.

CED was total crap, and it probably did more to turn the public off to LD than anything else, even though it was a completely different format.

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

Checking CD's (3.00 / 1) (#70)
by gromm on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 04:21:07 PM EST

Actually, this would be/is feasible if the outlet from which you rent actually keeps their DVD's behind the counter, retrieving them only when you come by to rent them. (that is, they don't actually keep the discs on the shelves, just the cases) This is actually an extremely common method, since it also reduces/eliminates shoplifting of DVD's and VHS tapes. Keeping a log only requires a quick visual check and a bit of software used once you return your media, eliminating the need to do such a thing at the counter while you wait.


Deus ex frigerifero
[ Parent ]
DVD sales stronger than rentals so far... (3.50 / 6) (#16)
by ContinuousPark on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 05:58:42 PM EST

As indicated by this NYtimes article I think you'll find interesting: Sale of DVD's Is Challenging Movie Rental Business(free reg. required)

I've been tempted to buy vhs versions of movies I really liked only to be stopped by the tought that they may damage over the years making my investment useless. With DVD (and a multiregion player for those of us outside the US, don't get me started on the region coding crap!) I don't have that concern, it's more likely that they will last during my lifetime; so now I don't rent vhs movies, I only go to the movies and see things the way they are supposed to be seen or get the dvd later. I understand that VHS is all over the world and it's an established format but, if you're concerned about getting a good viewing experience, vhs is not really an option to me.

VHS wearing out? (3.00 / 3) (#19)
by R343L on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 06:59:44 PM EST

My family owns maybe 20 vhs tapes. Some of them get watched a lot because we leave movies on for noise (most of TV sucks) when we aren't listening to radio. Plus movies like the Star Wars trilogy are "sick" movies--we watch them when we are sick over and over again. Since we usually buy the wide-screen versions some of the quality issues aren't a problem (the issue of resolution, etc. hardly matters on a tiny TV :) ). But we've never had them wear out, or even get static or choppy in parts. As I would guess some of them get played possibly 40 times a year (this is what happens when you only own a few tapes :) ), you would think they would wear out, but they haven't (yet) and show no signs of it. Now, I suppose if I had kids who wanted to watch the Land Before Time everyday they would wear out! :-)

Rachael
"Like cheese spread over too much cantelope, the people I spoke with liked their shoes." Ctrl-Alt-Del
[ Parent ]

Wear and tear on rentals (3.33 / 3) (#29)
by fluffy grue on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 12:33:53 AM EST

Rent some over-watched anime from your local "we only stock a few anime titles which I think my brother's friend mentioned because a few furry-toothed geeks seem to keep on renting it" video store and then say that video tapes don't noticeably wear out. :) Good ones to try are Akira and Dragon Half, assuming they're actually in when you try to rent them.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Rentals (3.50 / 2) (#31)
by R343L on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 02:07:40 AM EST

Oh I agree about rentals. In fact, we rented "Bedazzled" (the devil, Elizabeth Hurley, tempts a geeky, socially inept guy played by Brenden Fraser) the other day. It had a few spots in the beginning that just got completely bad (fuzzy, static, etc.)...funnily enough that wasn't the reason we didn't watch it all. It just sucked--slow, the socially inept bit very overdone. Elizabeth Hurley looked real good though! :) We stopped watching about the point he was turned into the drug lord. But for home use, they just don't get watched enough to make them get that bad.

Rachael
"Like cheese spread over too much cantelope, the people I spoke with liked their shoes." Ctrl-Alt-Del
[ Parent ]

Rentals will mostly die (3.00 / 5) (#17)
by Wah on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 06:17:53 PM EST

even now Blockbuster is moving towards a retail establishment. They buy tons of the most popular vids, then sell the excess. I don't think DVD's are very good for rental either. People just don't treat rental equipment very good, and with the price of new DVD's about 4X the price of a rental, not to mention digital availability, rentals as a business model are probably (mostly) on the way out.
--
Some things, bandwidth can't buy. For everything else, there's Real Life | SSP


Maybe if purchase price (4.00 / 1) (#24)
by ZanThrax on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 11:10:46 PM EST

gets down to under twice the rental price, I'd give up on rentals, but there are far more movies that I'd like to see once (and will thus rent) than there are movies that I'm likely to watch at least three times (and will thus buy)

My opinions are my own, not those of whatever philosopher or talk radio drone they may remind you of.




[ Parent ]
about 4x the cost of rental? (3.50 / 2) (#48)
by coffee17 on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 12:54:21 PM EST

for $30 a month, I get between 20 and 25 DVD's from netflix. Let's call this $2 a rental. I rarely see a DVD for less than $16 and usually they are $20, or $24-$27 if the DVD is something I consider "good" . Perhaps if you were comparing Blockbusters $4 rentals with the $16 DVD's it would be 4x, but again, the $16 DVD's are either used or something I wouldn't be buying, and it's rare I'll be desperate enough to hit a blockbuster...

But perhaps you need to educate me on how to buy cheap new DVD's, which I would be most grateful of, but until I start seeing "good" DVD's at about $14 and under I'll continue to rent DVD, rip to DIVX and just buy the movies that I *really* like and will not settle on DIVX for.

[ Parent ]

yes, about that... (3.00 / 2) (#51)
by Wah on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 02:47:10 PM EST

the Netflix (and Blockbuster matched them) deal are a bit different, since you are paying up-front and then take more actions to get a better price. A move to the subscription model, no doubt, but more of a sign that rentals as we know it are dying rather than flourishing.

Mainly my comment was based on the stacks and stacks of $4.99-9.99 (US) movies that I saw for sale at three local Blockbusters (two other chains have already closed up shop). DVD's will definitely reach this price in a few years, since they are cheaper to mass produce.

For you personally, keep up with the rippin', it's another behavioural factor in the whole mix that will continue to erode the usefulness of rental establishments.
--
Some things, bandwidth can't buy. For everything else, there's Real Life | SSP


[ Parent ]

erosion? (4.00 / 1) (#52)
by coffee17 on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 03:07:01 PM EST

For you personally, keep up with the rippin', it's another behavioural factor in the whole mix that will continue to erode the usefulness of rental establishments.

Actually, if it wasn't for the ripping, I'd be consuming far fewer movies, for the sake of "collect them all" as I might want to watch them sometime in divx quality, and it sucks to have to go out, or wait for mail order. Judging from my habits previous to netflix, I was renting two movies a month from blockbuster. That's a mere $10 thrown to the rental industry. Now I'm giving them $30 and more or less time-shifting my rental. Also, as I lack any bandwidth, I'm not trading movies, and I'm certainly not giving away any.

Mainly my comment was based on the stacks and stacks of $4.99-9.99 (US) movies that I saw for sale at three local Blockbusters

$4.99 ... at blockbuster? out of curiosity, where do you live? In sunnyvale, CA, I've yet to see Blockbuster mark down pre-viewed VHS to less than 7.99 for ultra crappy movies, with the standard price being 9.99-12.99 for VHS ... heck, that's almost retail for pre-viewed... yeah, I'm going to swallow that. Similarly, the pre-viewed DVD's there are outrageously close to new prices at 15.99-23.99 for run of the mill, baby-spit-up-on-the-dvd-but-who-cares-its-rented pre-viewed dvds... Bah, sili con valley sucks.

[ Parent ]

I think so, maybe "global warming" (4.00 / 1) (#54)
by Wah on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 04:41:19 PM EST

Also, as I lack any bandwidth, I'm not trading movies, and I'm certainly not giving away any.

This was what the rippin' comment was about. You aren't, but many others like you are. And then there's folks like me, who don't rip, just give away (and grab some too). You also reminded me of something else pretty important. Even with DSL or Cable, your car to the video store and back still packs some impressive bandwidth.

Similarly, the pre-viewed DVD's there are outrageously close to new prices at 15.99-23.99 for run of the mill, baby-spit-up-on-the-dvd-but-who-cares-its-rented pre-viewed dvds... Bah, sili con valley sucks.

That seems to be one of the more expensive places to live. The stuff I saw is in a northern Colorado college town. And it was all tapes, I haven't priced DVD's since I don't, as of yet, have a DVD player. I'd say I'm boycotting them, but I'd probably have to eat those words in a year or two. Nonetheless, they still aren't quite as ubiquitous as VCRs, at least not here (but maybe in your wild desert paradise, all made of sand).

I'm not sure how it will all effect the consumption of movies, but I my guess it will continue to go up as price goes down and availability goes up. It's a battle for attention as much as anything, who knows, maybe soon the price of a rental might be 30 minutes of previews.
--
Some things, bandwidth can't buy. For everything else, there's Real Life | SSP


[ Parent ]

wild desert paradise? not. (4.00 / 1) (#65)
by coffee17 on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 11:30:59 AM EST

Even with DSL or Cable, your car to the video store and back still packs some impressive bandwidth.

never underestimate the bandwidth of a truck full of tape going down the interstate.

Nonetheless, they still aren't quite as ubiquitous as VCRs, at least not here (but maybe in your wild desert paradise, all made of sand).

first, let me say that sili con valley is in now way even a near facsimile of a pardise. Too many SUV driving parents fleeing the repo man, too much sun, too much heat, not enough rain... perhaps I should start heading back to seattle. Secondly even here, DVD's aren't too common. Of the people at work whom occaisionally get together outside of work, maybe 50% have DVD players... of course, that's not the greatest sample of people...

[ Parent ]

DVD as a rental? (3.22 / 9) (#18)
by Signal 11 on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 06:52:28 PM EST

DVD is a superior format. The discs are smaller and less bulky to transport and store, last longer, degrade to less of a degree, and can be more easily manufactured.

The only disadvantage to the DVD format is one of legality: Because it is a "digital" format, suddenly it is different from the format used by a VCR, despite the fact that they are functionally identical. As such, a variety of rights of mine which I have when using the VHS format I cannot exercise when using DVD.

Examples: Forced watching of the "FBI warning" on many DVDs. Excuse me, but if ignorance is no excuse from the law, why am I being forced to watch this for 30 seconds every time I want to watch the movie? Second major complaint with DVD - Forced watching of advertisements and introductions. This is the single biggest complaint I have against the DVD format. My second complaint is that it locks out independent film producers and local people.

It does not cost me much to get a camcorder and create a VHS cassette which I can distribute locally. However, if VHS disappears, suddenly I can no longer distribute my own movies, I have to pay someone thousands of dollars simply because they're authorized and I'm not.

That is why I am opposed to DVD as a standard - the grounds are legal and not technical.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

Excuse me? (4.33 / 3) (#22)
by Miniluv on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 09:23:27 PM EST

1) How many DVDs, percentage wise, force you into the FBI warning, plus previews and advertisements? I once looked through my 20 DVD collection, and found two. Both by non-major studios.

2) How is the independent film market locked out of DVD? Can they not afford Apple G4 Towers with Superdrive to press their own DVDs? My understanding is that non-CSS encoded disks will play in any player, it's only when CSS is used that the region codes must match for descrambling to happen. Couple this with the fact that more and more region-less players are hitting the market, or players which are easily "hackable", and you'll be seeing as much freedom with DVD as with VHS.

So, is there some special DVD law none of the rest of us know about? DMCA applies only to circumventing CSS, which anybody with a licensed player doesn't need to do. Get a licensed player and make bit-for-bit copies of your DVDs and you're all set to go.

Come on, tell me how to moderate. I DARE YOU!


[ Parent ]

FBI warnings (3.50 / 2) (#27)
by fluffy grue on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 12:31:04 AM EST

I have several dozen DVDs. Almost all of them have the forced FBI warning (the only one I can think of which doesn't is Reefer Madness, which is in the public domain and I only bought it on a lark anyway), and many of them have forced introductions.

One of the subtly insulting things is that if you actually do want to read something on a forced-play segment, you can't pause it to read it, either. Fight Club has three screens of warnings - FBI, Interpol, and Tyler Durden.

The Tyler Durden one is really long and it only gives you about two seconds to read it. All I've ever managed to read from it is something about how if you're really going to bother reading the fine print which tells you what to do, you'd might as well spend your time doing something constructive like masturbating. I really want to read the whole thing, but my DVD player isn't "allowed" to pause. So I can't. Bastards.

Let's see... examples of memorable forced introductions: The Matrix (which isn't too bad), Yellow Submarine (which is pretty long), most of Pioneer's more recent releases such as the Tenchi movies (they actually FORCE you to sit through the Dolby Digital and THX wankfests - in their older DVD releases you could actually - get this - skip them), and Fight Club (even after the triplicate warnings it still makes you sit through a little montage).
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

My experience (3.00 / 2) (#30)
by Miniluv on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 02:03:50 AM EST

Like I said, it tends to be the minor studios that force you through all that crap. Of the DVDs I've rent, every Jackie Chan movie has forced it, as have the Chinese kung-fu movies I've rented, such as Twin Warriors.

The Matrix intro is pretty minimal, as is the Patriot, which are the two mainstream ones I have which force it.

Every anime dvd I've seen definitely forces you through it, though I think that again ties in with the "minor studio" categorization.

Come on, tell me how to moderate. I DARE YOU!


[ Parent ]

Tyler's warning (3.66 / 3) (#33)
by guppie on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 03:25:45 AM EST

The text: (found on a screenshot on http://dvd.ign.com/reviews/343.html)

If you are reading this then this warning is for you. Every word you
read of this useless fine print is another second of your life. Don't you
have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can't
think of a better way to spend these moments? Or are you so
impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all
who claim it? Do you read everything you're supposed to read? Do
you think everything you're supposed to think? Buy what you're told
you should want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the
opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and mastrubation. Quit
your job. Start a fight. Prove you're alive. If you don't claim your
humanity you will become a statistic. You have been warned ...... Tyler"

How ironic to waste 10 minutes typing this, but then again, it's on company time ;-)

What? The land of the free? Whoever told you that is your enemy.
-Zack de la Rocha
[ Parent ]
Thanks [n/t] (3.00 / 3) (#44)
by fluffy grue on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 12:15:01 PM EST

Are you really so trusting of my subject line to believe there's no text here?

Oh, and you could have just done copy-paste of someone else's typed-in text, or done an A HREF to the page or something. ;)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Forced intros? No pause? (3.50 / 2) (#38)
by tzanger on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 09:33:05 AM EST

Sounds like your DVD player is defective. :-)

I have a (relatively cheap) Panasonic DVD which'll also play MP3 CDs and (I think) VCDs. I have never been forced to watch an FBI warning or into. I checked my Matrix DVD and there's no forced intro on mine. Maybe your DVD is adhering to one too many regulations. :-)



[ Parent ]
Defective? (2.50 / 2) (#43)
by fluffy grue on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 12:09:41 PM EST

Well, it's an older one (Sony DVP-S550D) but it's still one of the better ones, quality-wise. But yeah, they were adhering to one too many regulations. :) Newer Sonys let you fudge things a bit (and some of them, such as the DVP-S360D, don't even bother with things like region "protection" or macrovision - I've been considering "downgrading" to it).

Oh, and this player was not cheap. :P I guess that's the price I pay for being an early adopter. :/
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Not YOURs being cheap... (2.50 / 2) (#49)
by tzanger on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 12:55:04 PM EST

Oh, and this player was not cheap. :P I guess that's the price I pay for being an early adopter. :/

No no no no.. MINE was cheap ($300CDN, about $170USD) -- It does support macrovision <sigh>



[ Parent ]
I grokked that (2.00 / 1) (#57)
by fluffy grue on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 09:51:35 PM EST

I was just contrasting mine to yours.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Another cute warning (3.00 / 2) (#46)
by coffee17 on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 12:38:31 PM EST

On my "Transformers, the Movie" DVD the FBI intro has a picture of some upper food chain FBI guy along with the text, and they graffity glasses and mustache on the image.

[ Parent ]
WHAT?! (3.00 / 1) (#59)
by fluffy grue on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 11:31:46 PM EST

Transformers the Movie?! ON DVD?!?!

HOLY SHIT!
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

way more than meets the eye (3.00 / 1) (#63)
by coffee17 on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 11:19:01 AM EST

head over to http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00004YA6T/qid=988125936/sr=1-1/ref=sc_d_2/104-3164974-7859149 or where ever you shop and grab it, 'cause it is around. I got it for $10 a few days after last annual gift giving day.

[ Parent ]
opps (3.00 / 1) (#64)
by coffee17 on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 11:21:38 AM EST

damnit, I missed seeing that your "holy shit" link was to the movie itself... I wasn't trying to drum up business for any particular company, just trying to supply additional info. Bah, sometimes I wonder why I both taking my foot out of my mouth.

[ Parent ]
It reads (none / 0) (#72)
by Inoshiro on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 05:02:19 AM EST

From IMDB:
" WARNING: If you are reading this then this warning is for you. Every word you read of this useless fine print is another second off your life. Don't you have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can't think of a better way to spend these moments? Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all whoclaim it? Do you read everything you're supposed to read? Do you think everything you're supposed to think? Buy what you're told you should want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you're alive. If you don't claim your humanity you will become a statistic. You have been warned...... Tyler"



--
[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
DVDs and Independents (3.66 / 3) (#26)
by dreid on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 11:17:27 PM EST

1) VHS is a long way from disappearing completely, the average ratio of VHS:DVD in rental places around here is atleast 2:1 and usually 3:1.

2) Independents can always fall back on VCD and SVCD which can be burned in any CD-R/RW drive and played in most DVD players, DVD-ROM, and CD-ROM drives, all with only minimal hits to quality, and with a low-budget indy you're not likely to notice it.

[ Parent ]

Unfortunately (3.66 / 3) (#32)
by dvNull on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 03:16:39 AM EST

Many DVDPlayers and CD Players are refusing to play CDR/CDRW disks.

I *do* on occasion create my own mix cds (mostly of independent DJ mixes). I took my latest compilation to play over at my brothers place and his DVD player (which *can* play audio cds) refused to play it.

Yes at one point there will be an Agency you have to license your own life from ..


If you can see this, then the .sig fell off.


[ Parent ]
Are you sure (2.00 / 1) (#62)
by prs24 on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 08:17:32 AM EST

In my experience

DVD drives use an orange laser to read the discs due to its wavelength. However, if you burn to a cyan / sliver CDR they will frequently not play since the blue layer looks dark to the orange laser - it fails due to lack of reflectivity.

Similarly, several new CD players fail on blue discs, older ones fail on green discs since they tend to have red lasers in them due to manufacture price.

Very old CD players have IR lasers and work fine, CDROM drives tend to ignore the overall refelctivity - it's only the contrast that matters and the CDRs are fine for this.

My solution is to buy silver/gold mix CD's from KODAK, currently 0.50 [around 70cents] which seem to work fine in everything.



[ Parent ]
What the rental places need to do... (3.00 / 5) (#21)
by Anonymous 6522 on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 08:12:38 PM EST

...is take care of their DVDs. If they get scratched up, then they should fix them. It's not that hard. I bought this little doohicky the other day for about $20 that will remove most scratches on DVDs in about 3 minutes per disc. Blockbuster and friends should just buy one for each store and have their employees check for scratches and fix them if needed.

"I'm sorry, but it's vital to the health of the U.S. economy that we destroy the entire Earth." -- Chris Stratton, Delivery Driver




The only problem is... (3.66 / 3) (#41)
by Darth Yoshi on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 11:06:40 AM EST

...if it's that DiskDoctor thing, it works, but you can only use it only a few times per CD (I don't know how many) because it actually buffs-off the top surface of the disk. And, I've heard that, using a DiskDoctor sometimes makes the CD more susceptible to scratches (I guess it depends on the quality of the plastic). *shrug*

On the other hand, for a home user, if the choice is between using the DiskDoctor and buying another (possibly discontinued) CD, then it's worth its weight in gold. :-)



[ Parent ]
Even just wipe them properly (5.00 / 1) (#77)
by puppet10 on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 09:24:59 AM EST

3 out of 4 of my last rentals just needed to be wiped with a bit of ethanol to remove fingerprints to eliminate skipping on my player. So I've been returning the DVDs I rent in better condition than I receive them, maybe I should ask for a discount :). Btw to clean a disk just use an optical grade cloth (get the cloth used to clean eyeglasses) some ethanol (isopropanol if you must) and wipe from the center to the edge in a straight line, repeat until you've wiped the entire disc. Do not wipe in a circle, please.

[ Parent ]
dvd in LA (3.25 / 4) (#23)
by dr k on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 09:41:11 PM EST

In Los Angeles pretty much all the video stores carry DVDs now. It is very competitive here, everyone wants to carry the same stuff as the store down the street. If you can find one, the independant stores are the way to go - most everything rents for $1, even DVD.

That is not to say that the store owners are happy about the whole thing. For every new movie, they have to buy two different formats (multiple copies for popular items), and as the studios re-release stuff on DVD, they tend to release different "editions" - a Director's cut, a Limited Gold Edition, and various rubbish. Most of the first generation DVDs were done poorly, so they are being re-released again.
Destroy all trusted users!

Be kind put it back in the friggin' box! (2.66 / 3) (#25)
by dreid on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 11:10:52 PM EST

A common problem I've seen with the way people treat DVDs (and CDs) is they've gotten used to being able to leave a VHS tape out sitting on the coffee table and it'll pretty much work like it's supposed to next time you try and play it, not always the case with a DVD. If you leave a DVD sitting out on the coffee table out of the box, shiny side up, there are a number of ways it could get scratched, you could knock something over on the table, it could get pushed under books and papers, your cat could sit on it, a lot of things can happen. What i'm thinking is the rental places should start charging people for scratches and in cases where the little $20 doohickies don't fix the damaged discs make them replace it. Of course there are a few kinks in the system. And it would make the renters life just a little more uncomfortable to sit there while you check for scratches, but if there aren't any, and this method keeps them from getting scratched beyond repair, we'd all be a lot happier. #END RANT

You did what? (none / 0) (#73)
by Dwonis on Wed Apr 25, 2001 at 06:43:23 PM EST

Shiny side up? You mean with the label side down against the table? I have news for you: if the "shiny" side gets scratched, it can be repaired, but if you scratch the label side, the disc is toast. Ever scratched a CD-R on the label side and peeled the entire foil off?

The data is on the label side.

[ Parent ]

DVD protectors? (3.33 / 3) (#28)
by apm on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 12:32:35 AM EST

I've always wondered if it would be possible to come up with some sort of plastic film sheet that you could put over the data side of the DVD, which would protect the disk itself from scratches. It would be semi-adhesive, possibly like the suction-based stickers that you can put on windows. The rental store would just remove the sheet and replace it with a new one every time the movie gets returned. That way the disk itself would never get scratched. Would something like this be possible, or would any sheet blur the disk to the point of being unreadable by the laser? Just a thought...

Caddys for DVD - Back to the future. (2.33 / 3) (#40)
by Zukov on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 10:49:01 AM EST

There was a time, when all computer cd players ( This was back when there were only three models in the world) took CDs in Caddys.

Caddys are plastic boxes with a moveable shutter to expose the disk. When the disk is out of the player, the caddie protects it with the shutter closed. When the disk gets put in, the shutter opens and the data surface can be read.

There is no need for jewel cases with this system, but each caddie costs more than just a simple jewel case would.

http://sdm.sony.com/pkg/caddy.html

ȶ H (^

Yes, I have just bumbled upon Gnome Character Map. Please ! me.
[ Parent ]

RE: Caddys for DVD - Back to the future. (3.00 / 1) (#60)
by beowulf on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 01:16:52 AM EST

Strangely enough, I have one of these types of drives. However, I don't know if it actually works, because I can't tell if it's hooked up, and I'm too lazy toopen up my computer. It's kinda interesting though.

[ Parent ]
The best CD drive I saw (none / 0) (#81)
by dasunt on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 01:08:55 AM EST

The best CD drive (in physical design) I saw was a 1x old Mitsumi CD drive a friend has in his old computer. When you push in on the faceplate of the drive, the entire mechanism pushes out (but is still connected to the computer, like a drawer), then you lift the cover of the drive and stick the CD on the spindle yourself (kind of like a pop-out portable discman. Other then the age, speed, the fact that it needs its own ISA card to interface, and the fact that linux seems to hate it (DOS, Win3.11 and Win98 don't mind it at all), I would get myself a drive exactly like it.

[ Parent ]

They make those (3.00 / 1) (#69)
by jhillyerd on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 12:39:20 PM EST

I've seen CD/DVD protector sheets at the local Silver Platters store. I found something similar on the Fellowes website: CD ProtectorTM Damage Resistant Film.
The ones in the store were pretty expensive though, somewhere around $1/$2 (US) each.

[ Parent ]
Re: DVD protectors? (3.00 / 2) (#71)
by sigwinch on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 08:23:56 PM EST

What about something like the protective coatings used for plastic eyeglasses? A service company could spin coat a hard, protective polymer onto the disk. The rental companies would send all their disks out for coating before renting them. With a mature process and high volume, the cost would be only a few cents per disk. Seems like quite a business opportunity.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

scratches on the data side (none / 0) (#76)
by Locus27 on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 09:15:56 AM EST

most of the better produced dvds are encased on both sides with plastic, especially the flipper discs. the problem isn't so much scratches in the data (which are really pretty rare), but scratches in the protective plastic layers that disperse or interrupt the beam. also, it's not scratches that go across the width of the disc that give so much of a problem, as the beam just quickly skips over this. it's scratches that go along with the spin of the disc that really play hell with the beam.

quick example/experiment for you to try. if you've got a car and you're washing it, rather, hosing it off, and you spray across a seam quickly, perpendicular to the seam, what happens? you get a little back splash, but most of the water goes into the seam. now, what happens when the stream of water along the length of the seam (along the bottom of the door or along the hood)? you get wet. i guess it's easier to understand if you've done it. try it at one of those power-washing places with the high power sprayers.

the moral of the story is this: don't spin the farkin dvds in the cases. don't leave 'em layin around on the table (and especially don't slide 'em off the edge to pick 'em up). and if you've got a picky dvd player (for all the cool things they've got, apex players are really picky), don't bother renting dvds. buy 'em or borrow 'em from someone you know takes care of 'em. oh, and keep 'em away from peanut butter.

"You're one fucked up cookie."
-Shawn R. Fitzgerald

[ Parent ]

Fast Forward and Rewind (3.50 / 4) (#36)
by lungfish on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 09:24:27 AM EST

The reason why rental tapes get so bad (in terms of playback, not in terms of plot and acting) is because a lot of people tend to fast forward and rewind tapes quite a bit while playing them. This creates a sudden tension on the tape media and quite a bit more force than just playing it, which stretches it out and can cause wrinkles. Since vhs is a helical scan system, it doesn't react well to streches and other distortions to the media it's on.

Just playing them puts the force on the tape pretty evenly, so even though it will stretch a bit over time, most vcrs can deal with it no problem (though old ones that don't have auto tracking may have problems). Same thing with rewinding and fast forwarding without playing them.

But by far the worst is the freeze frame pause button. That just stops the tape, while the head continues to spin, so the same section of tape is just getting worn down and heated up by the friction of the head against it. That's why vcrs won't hold a freeze frame for more than a minute or so.

Tape slack (4.00 / 2) (#39)
by LocalH on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 10:16:21 AM EST

What we do at work whenever we need to retension a tape (any format, including VHS) is fast-forward (not search, fast-forward) then rewind through the entire length of the tape.

[ Parent ]
At least part depends on your dvd player (3.66 / 3) (#45)
by coffee17 on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 12:21:06 PM EST

I have a subscription to netflix.com so I get a bunch of dvd rentals, and most of these dvd's seem to have been around quite a bit. About one in 2 will at least have minor skips on my DVD player, however I can take the same disk and play it on my computer, or rip it at about 8MB/sec with no noticeable slowdown according to 'vmstat 1' no matter how bad the dvd is (including one which had a several minute freeze on my dvd player).

Why is this? I bought my DVD player last Augost for $180 at Frys. Bargain basement Toshiba. Of course, my dvd rom is also a bargain basement Toshiba, I'm not sure why it's so much better. Perhaps it is a mixture of not enough memory in the DVD to buffer effectively combined with stupid software/hardware which doesn't deal well when the buffering situation breaks.

Of course, this annoyingly means that I effectively have to buy a new DVD player, as this one is getting real annoying... the PS2 I just bought could fill the shell nicely, however I want it in my room with the computer, instead of in shared space with roommate... she likes to watch uninteresting, IMHO, tv during the times I'd most likely want to be gaming, and I don't think she's into games so she won't miss it... oh well, perhaps it's time just buy two of the svideo output thingies and just start moving the PS2 as needed...

And annoyingly enough, I bought the PS2 for FF{7,8,9} and started 9 last night, then realized around 2am last night that a PS1 game will not write to a PS2 memory card. Ouch.

PS2 DVD playback (3.00 / 1) (#58)
by atrowe on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 11:30:29 PM EST

In my experience, the PS2 is a decent DVD player EXCEPT for the fact that it doesn't handle scratched discs very well. I've had several rental discs that I couldn't play in the PS2. Other than that, it seems to handle playback quite well. I've never noticed any artifacts or pauses between layers. I'm quite happy to use it as my main DVD player. Anyone know where I can get a decent remote for it? I've tried several, and the all need to be pointed DIRECTLY at the PS2 in order for it to pick up the IR beam.

[ Parent ]
Is it like CD-ROMS? (none / 0) (#82)
by pos on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 01:23:58 AM EST

I don't know about DVD's but I know that RedBook audio CD players are different than YellowBook or OrangeBook CD players.

A company is making a system that will allow a disc to play in a CD audio (Redbook Audio) player but not a CD-ROM drive. They are using the differences (namely error correcting) in the formats to screw with the CD-ROM and CD-R drives. It puts corrupt data in the ECC section of the disk and a CD-ROM drive will try to read it forever and never get it. An audio cd player will happily ignore it and continue playing.

The problem is that many new cd players (even car cd players) are actually CD-ROM drives. The discs won't work in these players at all. And, probably it's already been cracked by now.

This didn't stop at least one Country-Western artist from releasing his record using it about a month ago. More artists are looking to follow. People who own incompatable players are simply screwed I think.

I don't know if this has anything to do with DVD but perhaps it sheds some light on the issue.

-pos

The truth is more important than the facts.
-Frank Lloyd Wright
[ Parent ]
Good reason for buying a DVD copier (4.20 / 5) (#47)
by bored on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 12:51:41 PM EST

This has been an issue since DVD was released. It was cited as one of the failings of the media early on. I came to the conclusion the other day that the whole problem would be easily solved if:
  • The studios allowed people/rental stores to exchange scratched DVDs for new ones. This would be a good solution the studio's could even charge $.20 for the replacement to cover their costs to produce the disk.
  • The other solution would be to actually allow people to make duplicates of the disks. That way the rental store would be exercising the main reason for fair use, to cover their asses should the original get damaged. This would be pretty convenient for everyone too. The rental store makes copies of the originals and rents them out. If the disk gets damaged they just make another copy. If the copy disk gets lost they send the 'owner' a replacement fee, make another copy and continue to rent it.
Naturally though the studio's don't like either option because then they make less money from the rental stores having to replace movies every 10 rentals. I didn't make the 10 rental number up either. The little mom and pop shop where I rent DVD's has a used isle where they sell previously rented movies. You can pick though the disks and they can look up on their system how many times a particular disk had been rented. I was looking at three different disks of a movie the other day and they had been rented 7,9 and 12 times each.

Trade organisation (4.00 / 2) (#55)
by jovlinger on Mon Apr 23, 2001 at 05:04:23 PM EST

I'm suprised that video stores don't form a trade organisation that demands that DVDs be made *effectively* as durable as VHS. Whether the MPAA then want to provide cheap replacements or whether they develop better production techniques would be up to them.

[ Parent ]
rental (3.33 / 3) (#66)
by gold tone ranking monkey on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 11:33:03 AM EST

having had experience renting playstation games from a chain, i can say i don't think DVDs are a good format for rental at all; out of 20 or 30 PSX games i've rented, probably 7 or 8 wouldn't even boot. another 10 were scratched to the point that it interefered with play, and all of them were covered with fingerprints, and i think peanut butter. i hope it was, anyway.

i think DVDs could be an acceptable rental medium if stores would inform their customers that damage to the disc would result in the customer having to pay to replace it, and most importantly, sticking to that. there should be some kind of consequence for people who don't take care of rentals in the same way there would be if you returned a book with cigarette burns and cola residue to a public library.

i haven't rented any DVDs as of yet, partly due to my concerns about scratches, fingerprints, etc., partly due to the fact that i've already bought 20 or so in the past 3 months, and in large part due to the fact that the chain i used to patronize are closing all of their local outlets.

-b.

DVD - not just physcial problems... (4.00 / 1) (#79)
by jeep on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 02:10:00 PM EST

I agree DVDs can be very fragile especially in a rental environment.

However another bugbear for me, renting DVDs in the UK, is that they often charge a small premium and the DVDs are in a 4:3 ratio - not a widescreen one! They don't even have a choice, it's TV style letter boxing or nothing.

Ok so the bonus features sometimes make the extra cost worthwhile but I find it very frustrating that with a wide-screen TV I need to buy a DVD to really enjoy my TV and DVD player to their fullest.

Is this common elsewhere or are just Brits being hard done by?



--
The FREE e-democracy Project
Promoting Free Software in Government

Same here.. (4.00 / 1) (#80)
by Bigs on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 03:19:56 PM EST

I see it here all the time.. I have a nice DVD player and a widescreen TV and the movies are nice in 16:9, but the subtitles are 'off-the-screen', so I have to set my TV to 4:3 (or other weird zoom modes) :(.
Fortunately, I have no problems with English, so I can just turn the subtitles off (that is one of the advantages of DVD).

I've had some DVD's that skipped and stuff, but most of the time a wipe over the disc before inserting it is sufficient and I really dig the audio and video quality of the DVD's. Keep in mind that the layer-change sometimes causes a little hickup sometimes too (some publishers just can't manage to put that between two scenes).

[ Parent ]
Brits (none / 0) (#83)
by Refrag on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 06:29:51 PM EST

It must suck to live in England.

Refrag

Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches
[ Parent ]

DVD unsuitable format for rental ? | 83 comments (83 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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