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Why did Universal convert the doubles to singles for "Miami Vice" and "The A-Team"?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by bmasters9, Jun 13, 2010.

  1. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Well-Known Member

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    I've heard people praising Universal for converting the doubles to singles for their complete series releases of NBC's hit series "Miami Vice" and "The A-Team," and I agree with the glowing reviews as well. What I'd like to know is, was it really complaints about the doubles of the original releases that influenced that decision?
     
  2. pitchman

    pitchman Well-Known Member

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    When Universal went to the DVD-18 format (primarily for TVonDVD sets, but for some film collections, too) they wound up with problems (and defective product returns) aplenty! The discs were plagued with quality control issues and the failure rate was incredibly high. The discs did not play correctly (or sometimes, even at all) in a vast number of players. These discs were simply not ready for prime time. I know from personal experience how frustrating it was to return a set two, three or four times and then have to play through the entire thing each time to make sure I had "glitch-free" discs. I have five DVD players in the house and some Universal DVD-18 discs would not play in ANY of them. Even my "tank-like" Denon DVD-3910 choked on a number of discs. I quickly reached a point where I stopped buying all Universal DVD-18 product, no matter how badly I wanted the content. Fortunately, Universal abandoned the format and have since reissued some titles in the considerably more reliable (industry standard) single-sided, dual layer format.
     
  3. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Well-Known Member

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    Aha! You answered my question very well. This is why I didn't purchase any of the originals of "Miami Vice" (appealing though they looked): because of the problems with the doubles. I'm still thinking, of course, about eventually purchasing the complete release of "Vice"; Universal did a very wise thing, I still believe, in converting the doubles to singles for that, "The A-Team," and "Knight Rider." That said, thank you for your very informative and helpful response.
     
  4. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I remember those "Universal DVD-18" defect days. That was, iirc, due to a mfg issue originating from one of their plants in Mexico.


    A Team Complete Set: This one's tempting but I'd have to double-dip since I have all of the season sets on the shelf. I was fairly fortunate with the S1-4 DVD-18 sets since I didn't encounter a major defect that prevented me from viewing a disc. I did see a few pixtel/freezing defects but I was able to view the episodes without more than ~30 seconds of scenes affected with one particular defect area.
     
  5. HenryDuBrow

    HenryDuBrow Well-Known Member

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    Those discs were a bad idea all along, I'm glad they stopped with those. My Night Stalker set is infected with the problems.
     
  6. ChrisALM

    ChrisALM Well-Known Member

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    I had more problems with Universal DVD 18s than all other discs combined. My A-Team sets and my Rockford Files first season set have problems. I had trouble with Adam 12 Season 1, McCloud and one of my Columbo sets. I finally started staying away from Universal Shows on DVD 18s to avoid the hassle. Besides, there are many other shows I am interested in that don't have that problem.


    I may eventually double dip for the A Team complete series set, and if shows like Emergency get a complete series release on single sided discs, I would pick it up because I don't have any of those seasons yet.


    I read recently (at The Digital Bits website, I believe) that Universal is going to come out with a double sided Blu Ray disc. Ugh!
     
  7. cineMANIAC

    cineMANIAC Premium
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    Someone already came up with a double-sided Blu-ray, with a DVD on the other side! In fact, I think I may actually own one of them. As for the DVD-18 format, did anyone ever figure out why they were prone to glitches, besides the problems with scratches? I still think the format could be useful for storage purposes, in terms of the number of discs used for large-scale box sets, for those of us where shelf space is an issue.
     
  8. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Well-Known Member

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    And if I recall correctly, it was Paramount that did that with NBC's original 60's "Star Trek" (HD-DVD on one side, regular on the other). That 60's NBC "Trek" has more than been a moneymaker for Paramount, in that it's been released more ways than anyone can shake a stick at (first single discs with 2 outings apiece, then full seasonal releases on DVD, then HD combined with regular DVD [for #1 only, IIRC; the two others were just remastered regular], and now straight Blu).
     
  9. Jack P

    Jack P Well-Known Member

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    I went through more aggravation with DVD-18s from Universal than I care to remember. It was the most godawful idea any studio has ever come up with.

    One solution to the problem for me is that if I discover a disc that freezes up on one machine still plays normal on my computer then if I burn a new copy of the DVD (for myself!! Not for boot purposes) on a double-layered blank, I'll get a normal playback on the machine where the original kept freezing up. It's a lot less of a hassle then constantly buying new sets looking for the perfect one. And even if a glitch is only for a few seconds on one episode that is unacceptable from my standpoint because I expect ALL releases to be glitch free from a viewing standpoint.
     
  10. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Now, if only Universal would reissue the HAMMER HORROR COLLECTION on single-sided discs. This set represents possibly the single greatest disappointment and aggravation in my collection.
     
  11. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Well-Known Member

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    Seconded!


    The DVD-18's were awful, and all of them originated in a factory based in Mexico.


    There is no inherent problem with DVD-18's as such, they are just more difficult to make error free and the problem is compounded by the fact that not many manufacturers actually make them.


    So the issue was, unfortunately Universal didn;t have many choices anyway, and they went with probably the cheapest source, and it turns out that quality control was lax to say the least.


    On top of that, no every disc was bad, and even with those some players could cope with them and some couldn't. So there was no apparent consistency to the problems customers were reporting.


    I guess Universal stopped using 18's because of the huge return rate on them - it must have cost them far more in the end than any savings they made on pressing more single sided discs and using bigger packaging. It got so bad that Amazon wouldn't do exchanges on some sets, they only offered refunds, because people were exchanging over and over.


    Also, it generated a lot of negative publicity. People got to hate the things, you'd exchange a set and get a different bad disc, stuff like that. And the only way to tell was to play them all the way through and wait to see if they screwed up - sometimes they would give you a screeful of garbage rather than freeze, so you couldn't even leave them stuck in a player whilst you did something else. I like the Hammer films but not enough to watch eight of them all the way through three times without taking my attention off the screen.


    Luckily here in the UK we got the Kolchak set on single siders right from the start....whew.
     
  12. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Well-Known Member

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    The thing that I've wondered about is the issue of DVD-18 "shelf rot" that I've read about occasionally on the 'net. It's been a while since I've re-watched some of my Universal DVD-18 sets but the few that I've sampled after the first viewing have been ok.



    That's a good idea. I might need to look into this for my A-Team single-season sets if I don't decide to get the complete series release.
     
  13. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Well-Known Member

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    I still live in fear of that one. I had a bad set, returned it and got a new set. I'm now terrified to watch the new set in fear that it too will lock up like crazy.....oh well.

    Universal has the dubious honor of being the only studio that has me frightened to own their double sided dvd's(I also returned problematic Buck Rogers, and Quincy sets).
     
  14. ChrisALM

    ChrisALM Well-Known Member

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    That is what happened to my A Team sets and The Rockford Files Season 1 set. I have 3 episodes of Rockford that freeze up and maybe 5 or 6 A Team episodes spread across multiple seasons.

    Originally all of these sets played fine. So these DVD 18s - if they don't fail you now they may fail you later. The bad news about these discs doesn't get any better with time.
     
  15. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Well-Known Member

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    I think you sold me on that A-Team Complete set :). I'll watch that one for an Amazon "Deal of the Day" sale or somewhere else. I see that it's $89.99 at Amazon today. Hmmmm :)
     
  16. Jack P

    Jack P Well-Known Member

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    The Munsters was also a case of Universal reissuing a complete series set on single sided discs after first releasing the individual seasons on DVD-18s. I can't recall if the same thing happened with Knight Rider though.


    I'm now spending this evening "backing up" S1-2 of "McCloud" and "Kolchak" before its too late!
     
  17. Jack P

    Jack P Well-Known Member

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    (Deleted)
     
  18. pitchman

    pitchman Well-Known Member

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    That Hammer collection is by far the worst! I went through FIVE copies before I finally nailed a set that plays all the way through on my PS3 (but NOT my Denon DVD-3910, two Panny's, or two Sony's). I forget which one, but one of the Universal Classic Monster series sets released around the same time as the Hammer collection is notoriously bad, too. Leave It To Beaver (The Complete First Season) is another title to steer clear of...
     
  19. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Well-Known Member

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    They did that for "Knight Rider." The complete release of that series is also on singles. I have three of the original double releases.
     
  20. ChrisALM

    ChrisALM Well-Known Member

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    That is what I will eventually do - replace my A Team season sets with the complete series release. With the Rockford Files, there was only the first season that was released on the DVD 18s, so I only need a new season 1.


    I haven't watched The Munsters in a long time, but they originally played fine. My son watched the Universal released two seasons of Leave it to Beaver last winter, and they are still good. It has really been a hit or miss kind of thing for me.


    The bottom line for me is there has been way too many bad Universal DVD 18 discs. Universal switching to single sided discs is very welcome news.
     

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