Universal's DVD-18s

Discussion in 'DVD' started by IanD, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. IanD

    IanD Stunt Coordinator

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    With special regard to the Lugosi and Hammer sets

    Did Universal offer fully corrected repressings and are these likely to be what turns up in a order?

    Also, if a set is faulty, can it still be ripped to make backup DVD-Rs? Apologies if this breaks the rules, I'm not talking about pirating, just about geting the damn thing to play!
     
  2. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    I've had no trouble with the Hammer set, but I know people who have. They must have been done HD. The studios were doing everything HD by then (& they look so good). I'm sure a Blu-ray release would do well.
     
  3. IanD

    IanD Stunt Coordinator

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    Simple DVD-9 reissues would be nice.
     
  4. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    Since there was a limited market for these and most of that market has already bought them, re-issued discs would not be likely since it would be a sure money-looser for them. That said I've still never had a problem with any Universal DVD-18 including these two sets in any of my 4 players but of course there are alot of complaints on forums about them but they were never enough to make Universal do a recall and re-issue.
     
  5. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    This doesn't seem right. When the margin error is as high as the Universal dvd-18's, they should have been recalled, and fixed immediately.
    I have had my trouble with their sets(I returned many myself).

    Just read the reviews of The Hammer set on Amazon, and you get an idea of just how many people got the shaft.

    Very unprofessional on the behalf of Universal.
     
  6. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    .
     
  7. mdnitoil

    mdnitoil Supporting Actor

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    A number of folks have reported being able to take problem discs and rip them down to single layer versions at home. Again, not pirating, but taking their own product and making it usable for their player. I've had to do this for a few titles myself. Anymore, I don't mind the DV-18 format as I look at it as just legally aquiring the data files. If I need to manipulate those files later to accommodate my player, that's fine.
     
  8. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    As normal with the internet those complaining seem louder than the majority who do not. So while there were many who had problems with these discs they were the minority or Universal would have recalled them and re-issued them. I have over 30 Universal DVD-18 sets and not a problem with any disc on any player and have watched several more than once. So again the error margin is not that high compared to the total number sold. These discs are more sensitive so handling and removing the discs forcefully can cause a problem and many issues are player related. But of course I agree that they shouldn't use them since they are more prone to problems with handling, players, etc. but the question was should they re-do them as DVD-9's and I'm sure the reason they haven't is they expect it to be a losing venture since the limited market for these films has been used up for the most part.
     
  9. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    It's only a small percentage of people, because you haven't had a problem. I've been a member of this forum for 10 years, and I've never heard a louder uproar than the one over these discs. I myself boycotted them do to the playability problems until very recently. As you can now pick up some of these titles for a price that's so low, I can stomach the idea that several movies probably will not play.

    As a final note, if this format was not a problem and only a small percentage of people had problems or complained, then why did Universal stop producing titles on this format?
     
  10. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

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    They stopped producing them because its about the same cost for them either way and they had complaints so theres no reason not too to make more customers happy in the future but the fact that they didn't recall and re-issue shows the complaints were not that numerous. I saw the many complaints on this forum but they still add up to a mere 100 people or so, I wouldn't call that major. And if we want to single people out and keep numbers I know at least 20 other people: friends, family, co-workers that have many of these discs and none have had problems. I only know that there were some problems with these discs because of complaints on this forum and internet forums are famous for small groups being loud and claiming to be the majority.
     
  11. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    I don't think handling the discs is of any relevance whatsoever. I'm sure 99.9% of us who handle dvd-18's handle them correctly. My dvd-18's that were faulty: did not work in my Toshshiba, Daewoo, or PS2(I never used my PS2 for a dvd player just for testing faulty discs).

    However My families newer Sony dvd model played them like a charm.......so it is in fact an issue of the dvd players. If you tried your flawless Universal discs on any of my players they would lock up in an instant.

    Here is an article from quite a while back but it justifies the the dvd-18 dilemma:
    http://www.videobusiness.com/article/CA6288658.html


    It's funny how ADV owned up to the problem but Universal(being the huge company they are) ignored it. No customer complaints my eye! Admitting there is a problem would admit a weakness, and we can't have that can we?
     
  12. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    Remember the Universal Monster Legacy box set with the ceramic busts a couple years back? I had to exchange it 4 times to get a set where the movies all played through. Even then the discs are shit, the 2nd disc in the Dracula set locks up after the movie finishes instead of going to the main menu. I was "satisfied" just to be able to watch House of Dracula all the way through. Every volume of the Abbot & Costello sets that I own have issues (I ripped them to divx files just to watch them without locking up after exchanging them twice and still found issues with the layer change), and it's only the last batch of Horror DVD-18's that I purchased that didn't have the problem (movies played all the way through, but IIRC the second side of the first Hammer disc also does the no return to the menu.) If they were authored so that it was a movie per layer, there shouldn't of been a problem since they all seemed to lock up at the layer change. The authoring company (who I suspect to be the REAL guilty party but the name escapes me) should of known better, and Universal quality control should of caught it after the first batch of troubles. It was a failure all around.

    To say the problem was minor is simply incorrect. Universal chose to ignore it. Just because the large majority of hobbyist have a small voice compared to the public at large doesn't eliminate the problem. To say it is a DVD player model issue isn't accurate either. There's a software standard that's supposed to be followed, and clearly Universal didn't do so since they only played correctly on a handful of players. I know I tried them on a friends Toshiba, a Panasonic, my LG (which plays EVERYTHING, even insanely scratched discs with crap all over them purchased used have played on this thing) and my XBOX. They all had issues with the layer change. You shouldn't have to buy a $1000 DVD player just to see a movie you purchased. These were all released as value titles (I never paid more then $20 per set), and the cheapness shines through in the quality. I wouldn't of bought them at all, but I knew that ultimately I could rip them into a playable format.
     
  13. smithb

    smithb Screenwriter

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    Standards have to be adopted by both sides, players and disk manufacturer's. I find it hard to determine which is at fault here. The current BR spec provides much more flexibility and look at how many BR disks won't play on certain players without firmware upgrades. In fact, every BR disk I have came with a disclaimer.

    So with DVD-18's, the same disk will work on some players and not others. How can we state with certainty it is the fault of the disk. If DVD-18's were part of the DVD spec then maybe some DVD player manufacturer's didn't properly test their players against all the possible disk formats before releasing. Or maybe some players were produced before DVD-18's became widely used.

    To say that a disk manufacturer has an inadequate QC process may not be accurate either. The disks could have tested out just fine on the players they used.

    The fact that AVD re-released in DVD-9's does not necessarily admit fault, but just that there were other options available that were better supported. So I can sort of see where Universal might take the "no fault" stance if they did produce all the DVD-18's correctly to spec. However, they would have had to have their heads in the sand not to acknowledge that people were having issues.

    My personal take is that the issue is probably with the spec itself in trying to fit four layers on one disk. Since a disk can play on one player and not another, it shows more of how low the tolerance is for playback. Some players have more issues then others.
     
  14. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    Your linking to very different issues. Blu-Ray is still a rather new format, and changes to it are to be expected, similar to how things where a bit dodgy at the dawn of DVD, when many people refused to think that it would surpass laser discs as a format. The manufacturers are taking responsiblilty as well. Most Blu Ray discs have a notice on the start up that you may need new firmware so there are no surprises if they don't work. It's the best they can do with the new format since it really is a player manufacturers issue.

    This is not the case at all with Universal and their norotrious DVD-18's. The discs issued by Universal came out far into the DVD formats acceptance by the public and at a time when players were plentiful and the bugs worked out of the system. Universal continued to put out bad discs. Warner's put out flippers and DVD-18s, and didn't have anywhere near as many cases of complaints about non-working discs. At least as far as I've seen on this forum, where as nearly every release from Universal did have issues. Despite complaints, Universal didn't acknowledge them, and continued to put out bad discs. They never prionted warnings about how they may not be compatible with your player, never issued a press release, just silence. If they knowingly put them out knowing that only a few players would be able to play them without issue, and screw the rest of the people, then they are beyond at fault and entirely inept in the running of a business. I mean really, it makes no business sense to say "Lets put out these discs at no additional cost benefit other then a bit of packaging, and who cares if they play on every player on the market."

    They are certainly at fault with this, and I'm glad they finally stopped so I don't have to worry about whither or not their discs will play.
     
  15. smithb

    smithb Screenwriter

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    I was referencing BR only from a complexity with standards viewpoint. BR has much more complexity built in which is why they are having issues. So while SD's are a lot less complex there can still be issues regarding the handling of format complexities.


    It is the very fact that DVD-18's came out later that may be causing all the issues. So I don't think it is unreasonable that many players would have issues with them since they may never have tested against them. How could they test against something that wasn't readily available. So it is very possible for players to be buggy regarding this format. No different then DVD-R's and DVD+R's. Some players handle some formats better then others.


    I've seen people complain about all DVD-18's, not just Universal's. Maybe they had more complaints because they used them more or maybe the tolerances were less. But again, many players read them just fine. I don't see how anyone can for certain can blame it on just one culprit. If the disks Univerals produced fit the standard then it is up to the players to handle the standard. Otherwise, it could be that the standard is flawed.

    Now I agree, Universal could have handled it better by acknowledging an issue and working towards providing disks compatible with more players. But that does not mean the disks were bad, but just that some players were having issues with them.


    I guess I don't understand the automatic assumptions the disks are bad. If it plays on my player but not yours, that leads me to blame the player and not the disk.
     
  16. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    Randy, that's just not fair. I know, because I was once saying the same things you are here, until I experienced DVD-18's problems for myself, and then seeing was believing. I used to blame people's players, I used to blame owners for how they may have been mishandling their discs --------- NONSENSE!.

    I am fanatically careful in how I handle all of my discs (or anything I own and collect) to the point of being rather obsessive about it. I have a friend who scoffed at the whole DVD-18 debacle himself, and who also said he's never had a problem with any of these releases, until the fateful day when it was his turn to eat his words.... he called me up and said his DVD of THE MUNSTERS SEASON ONE locked up on him, even after he'd played the same episodes several times already with no problems. As for me, I took no chances and re-bought the recent re-release of THE MUNSTERS COMPLETE SERIES (on DVD-9).

    I also don't think it's accurate to assume that the majority of people do not have problems with their DVD-18s; I'd wager most of them bought these discs and then never played them, or perhaps only played them one time successfully and then forgot about them and never even gave them a second play yet. And there are probably thousands of people out there who don't even go onto internet DVD chat forums to complain, who had problems but never made their voices known to us. There were probably more returns of defective discs to stores and Universal than we could possibly be aware of. Universal obviously stopped making these crappy DVD-18 discs, so they were aware there was a widespread problem with them -- and that wasn't just because some people complained online at a DVD message board that's actually a tiny drop in the ocean when you consider the whole world.
     
  17. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    Because DVD discs are all supposed to be capable of playing fine in any player. Not just mine or yours, but both. If there is something about one certain disc that makes it tricky between one player and another, then how's that the player's fault? A person may have played 5,000 DVDs in his machine successfully already without a glitch, and then he pops a DVD-18 into that same tried and true machine, but it won't work. It was a faulty technology which wasn't capable of being accurately read by ALL players, ALL the time - and they should have been perfectly playable, on each and every machine, on each and every play.

    On the back of my BELA LUGOSI COLLECTION set it reads: "THIS DISC IS COMPATIBLE WITH ALL DVD PLAYERS DISPLAYING THESE SYMBOLS" (R1).
    Well, that was not the case, was it? THE RAVEN screwed up in at least one of my very reliable Sony DVD players.
     
  18. smithb

    smithb Screenwriter

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    Joe, your whole argument can easily be voiced the other way as well. "THIS PLAYER IS COMPATIBLE WITH ALL DISKS CREATED FOR R1". I can take every statement made and easily reverse it, but I won't for the sake of time and space.

    Just as disk are considered software, there is software in the player (firmware) that is coded to interpret the disk and harware to read and output the video encoded thereon. Not all player software is written the same. It is written to fullfill a spec just as the disks are endocoded to do. Your argument is assuming that all players are constructed the same way and are equal, but they are not. My player has been more then capable of playing any and every disk I have thrown at it (including every DVD-18), except a few disks with obvious imperfections (scratches and such) on the surface.

    So if:
    - Player A plays a specific DVD-9 disk, and
    - Player A plays a specific DVD-18 disk, and
    - Player B plays the same DVD-9 disk, and
    - Player B can't play the same DVD-18 disk

    You automatic assume it has to be the DVD-18 disk? Doesn't make sense to me. My first assumption would be Player B is the problem because it is the only variable in the equation that is inconsistent.

    Now I'm not saying Universal is off the hook, but being a software engineer myself, I can easily see where Player B might not have been adequately tested to support DVD-18's, or that the DVD-18 spec is flawed in some way that may make it difficult for hardware readers or software to consistently support within tolerances. The last thing I would blame is the disk if it is proven to be playable on multiple devices successfully.

    So while I can't say for sure which is at fault, I think it is flawed logic to assume it is the disk with what facts we have to go on. We will just have to agree to disagree here.
     
  19. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    After playing probably more than 3,000 discs (maybe even 4,000) in multiple players over more than a decade, I've had three problems with discs freezing up and all of them were Universal's DVD-18s. When I got replacement copies, they all worked on the same players. Given that situation, what are the odds that it wasn't the disc? I'm not saying that every DVD-18 is bad but clearly there were many more problems than normal with the ones that Universal was selling. If there wasn't, why isn't Universal still using them?
     
  20. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Supporting Actor

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    If it was player related the problem would be consistent. For example, if it was a problem with Player B, then it would refuse to play every copy of a specific release. But that doesn't happen. What does happen is that people have been able to exchange discs that won't play for ones that will - in the same hardware. There have also been instances of exchanging a set where disc 1 won;t play but discs 2 and 3 are fine, and in return getting a set where disc 1 is fine but there are problems with disc 2 or 3. This cannot be an encoding or authoring problem, because that would mean in the given player then every copy woudl exhibit exactly the same problem.

    I long ago came to the conclusion that there was poor quality control on the manufacture of the discs, so that you get physical faults more or less at random - what confuses things is that some players seem better able to cope with the faults, one assumes because of a variance in quality of the hardware and it's inbuilt error correction facilities. Even more annoying is the fact that high quality equipment may baulk at these errors, where cheap players just "ram on through" and ignore them - but sometimes, this situation is reversed.

    A good example of this is my Hammer Horror set. The discs flatly refuse to play the second movie (ie, past the layerchange point) on my Pioneer player. But they play flawlessly on my (later and better) Pioneer player. They play fine on my neighbour's cheap unbranded player, but won;t on my mother's equally cheap unbranded model. Using a drive on my PC and disc checker software, bad sectors are revealed - on both PC drives. But one marks them as unreadable, the other manages to recover them (with multiple grindings and reads). This means that I would be able to "back up" the discs and burn an error free copy (which is, of course, illegal, so I haven't).

    It is certainly the case that DVD-18 are more difficult to make than DVD-9 (which are more difficult to make than DVD-5) - simply because there's more to go wrong. There are also far fewer factories that make DVD-18's; virtually all of Universal's were sourced from Deluxe in Mexico. In fact I don't think there are any other plants which mass produce them in the US. Where I live, in the UK, DVD-18's are virtually unknown and there are no factories that make them.

    It is interesting to note that Warner had a brief flirtation with DVD-18 in it's Wonder Woman sets: even more interesting was that some were made in Taiwan, and some were made by Deluxe - and in my sets, at least, it was the Deluxe ones that were troublesome.

    There is nothing technically wrong with DVD-18, so long as it is msanufactured error free and is compliant with the DVD standard then there should be no problem with them - it is no different from two DVD-9 glued back to back. But evidently, the manufacture of them in that error free condition is more problematic.

    It is also worth noting that the only way to find these bad discs is to play them right through whilst watching them at normal speed: because whilst they may cause a player to lock up, they may not - you might just get parts where everything turns into a burst of pixels but the player will carry on, or maybe just grinds a little as ir performs extra reads. Nor does scanning through at high speed or chapter skipping reveal the problems (sometimes, but not always).

    And how many people buy a boxset of 8 films or a whole TV series and then sit through watching them from beginning to end without letting their attention wander? It;s a fair bet that there are lots of people out there who unknowingly have bad discs, which they'll only find when they go to play that movie through for the first time since buying.

    Like Joe, I'm pretty obssessive with my discs, but I sure don't play every purchase beginning to end which watching it with unwavering intensity. Most discs I just inspect visually for gross damage like scratches.

    I do, however, scan anything more than a standard single sider on my PC - luckily 99% of DVD's are either 5's or 9's.
     

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