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Do DVD's disintegrate over time?

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14 replies to this topic

#1 of 15 OFFLINE   Matt Everett

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Posted December 11 2002 - 06:27 PM

"Amarcord", a Fellini movie I bought on DVD about 3 years ago, won't play right. It gets about 5 minutes into the movie and starts breaking into pixels. Then it starts freezing up. Then the sound drops out. The more chapters into the movie I get, the worse it gets until all you see is a rainbow of huge pixelatted chunks. There are no scratches on the disc and no signs of layer separation, haziness, or anything unusual at all. When I bought the disc 3 years ago, it played fine. Now it's defective. The disc isn't at all warped, and doesn't make any strange noises as it spins. I have tested it in two players (toshiba sd-2109 and PSX2) and neither can read the disc properly. It has been stored in its case at normal room temperatures since I bought it. I have no idea at all what is happening. I fear this could happen to other DVD's as well. Any thoughts on this? Thanks, Matt

#2 of 15 OFFLINE   Anders Englund

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Posted December 11 2002 - 07:17 PM

If the movie is still available, I suggest contacting the studio for a replacement. DVDs shouldn't degrade, but there have been some talks about the glue between the layers not holding ("DVD rot"). However, I seem to recall that this was only an issue with DVDs pressed by WAMO over a certain period of time. On the other hand that doesn't seem to be the issue with your disc, since DVD rot usually only case problems after the layer change. --Anders
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#3 of 15 OFFLINE   PhilipG



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Posted December 11 2002 - 07:59 PM

"And brother, when it dithintegrates, it dithintegrates!" Sorry, couldn't help thinking about Duck Dodgers when I read your title. Have you considered that your DVD player is old and not as good with certain discs as it used to be (needs cleaning and/or realigning)? I wouldn't trust a PSX2 for confirmation. Take the disc into your local friendly electronics supplier, and see if it'll play on a new machine.

#4 of 15 OFFLINE   Bjorn Olav Nyberg

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Posted December 12 2002 - 01:43 AM

I just wanted to say Philip could be on to something. The same thing has happened to me, with Armageddon CC and Ghostbusters (Ghostbusters is a known rotter, but I don't think I had heard those reports back then) Anyway, those discs started pixellating for me. I also tried them on a friends machine, where they played ok. I then turned the DVD player in for service, and they said the optical pickup was damaged, and they replaced that part, and afterwards those problem discs played ok again.
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#5 of 15 OFFLINE   Matt Everett

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Posted December 12 2002 - 03:15 AM

It's possible, yet I've checked the player with several other discs and it's fine. Even if the PSX2 isn't a great DVD player, the disc malfunctions in the same manner in both machines. I'll check it in a friend's player this weekend and see how it goes....

#6 of 15 OFFLINE   Mark Zimmer

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Posted December 12 2002 - 03:47 AM

The PSX2 seems to have problems with a lot of discs. A friend who uses it borrowed my Blade, Godfather and Pi discs, and none of them would get past the layer change on his PSX2. They play perfectly fine on all five of my players (Sony, Tosh, Apex, Malata and DVD ROM). But if Amarcord won't play on the Tosh either, that's a problem. Since this doesn't seem to be associated with the layer change, check the hub of the disc. Even a tiny crack can upset the balance of the disc and cause it not to track properly, giving the result that you noted; with the various kinds of hubs that won't let go of a disc, these cracks happen with disturbing frequency.

#7 of 15 OFFLINE   Charles Ms

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Posted December 12 2002 - 04:07 AM

Although my version of "Armacord" doesn't pixelate - i had the same problem with "The Testament of Orpheus" which happens to be from Criterion too. So is this just coincidence, or are there some weaknesses in their quality control management ?

The Orpheus DVD is only available in a 3DVD Box, so it is also very costly to replace it, ... Posted Image

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#8 of 15 OFFLINE   Jeff Ulmer

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Posted December 12 2002 - 04:30 AM

Criterion uses the same replicators that everyone else does, so this isn't isolated to them. If you can't exchange it at the store you got it from, try contacting Criterion directly at their website.

If the disc has rotted, it should be visible.

#9 of 15 OFFLINE   Matt Everett

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Posted December 12 2002 - 04:35 AM

That's the odd thing. There's no visible separation or 'rotting'. I double-checked the hub and it looks fine. I have plenty of Criterions that work fine so I don't think it's anything specific to them. Right now I've got an error rate of 1 out of 300 DVDs, so that's not bad... yet I hope this doesn't happen to other discs.

#10 of 15 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted December 12 2002 - 06:05 AM

The Toshiba 2109 is a four-year-old design. If you've used the machine an awful lot, it could be in its terminal phase now. Just because other discs might play well doesn't mean everything is honky-dory. And Sony Playstation is not a good litmus test for testing the excellence or otherwise of DVD authoring. Just take the disc to a friend's house or to a willing retailer and test it there.

#11 of 15 OFFLINE   Sean Aaron

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Posted December 13 2002 - 03:34 AM

I agree with those who say it could be the player. I had similar problems with my Sony DVP500D and initially suspected the media as it was isolated to one disc, but then found over time that more and more were having problems, but it never reached the point where I couldn't watch a disc; just that it was more "persnickety" about what it would play. I took it in (the one time getting an additional support contract paid off -- I got a loaner machine) and the optical pickup was replaced and problem solved. For a moment I was considering replacing DVDs...thankfully I didn't. It probably pays to get your player recalibrated just to be sure -- especially a machine in use for 4 years. The test in a friend's player should be the definitive answer.

#12 of 15 OFFLINE   Matt Everett

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Posted December 15 2002 - 07:09 PM

It's definitely not the player. I tried it this weekend on two friends' players... one rendered the same pixelated image as my Toshiba, and the other gave me a disc read error. I took it back for an exchange, which plays fine. I am puzzled by the deterioration of this DVD.

#13 of 15 OFFLINE   Page


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Posted December 15 2002 - 07:53 PM

I had a problem with my "Fifth Element" DVD that kept pixalating and breaking up at the same spot (just a few minutes of one chapter) on three different players--one was a Panasonic RP-82 which was only two weeks old. No sign of anything wrong with the disc and this was a home copy that I own and handle very carefully. So, I'd say "Yeah"--some DVDs do "rot" over time. Why I couldn't tell you. (By the way, this was the widescreen side. The full screen side didn't have a problem at that spot...why couldn't it be the other way around--I can't stand full screen versions of widescreen films!)

#14 of 15 OFFLINE   LennyP


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Posted December 15 2002 - 09:57 PM

It is NOT the player, it is the dye on the disc. I've had numerous problems exactly the same as Matt Everett has described with custom DVD-Rs by Princo, basically I bought a box of 100 and 90% of them showed that pixelating effect deeper into the disc, closer to the borders. With time, only half a year, those discs that worked perfectly, can barely now play the first 20 mins of about 100, they do disintegrate with time if the DVD has been poorly produced. I'm now using better DVD-Rs and never had a problem like that ever again. Witnessing this with a studio produced disc is very disconcerning, but that's all it is, bad dye that disintegrated and doesn't reflect the information correctly, lots of drop outs. Of course different players react differently to non-100% discs, some, like most Sony's don't recognize such a disc at all, saying it's dirty, etc. The Holy Grail player (Malata N996 for uninitiated) plays everything but pixelates towards the end.
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#15 of 15 OFFLINE   Matt Rexer

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Posted December 16 2002 - 05:51 AM

[quote] I'm now using better DVD-Rs and never had a problem like that ever again. [quote] What brand, and where do you get them? I've run into the disintegrating dye problem just recently... very frustrating.
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