Scratched and scuffed discs becoming common?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Dave Farley, Jan 3, 2005.

  1. Dave Farley

    Dave Farley Second Unit

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    I don't know if it's just me but I've had the worst time with damaged DVDs in the last four months and I'm not someone who goes over these discs with a magnifying glass or always expects a completely flawless surface out of a cheap, mass-produced disc. Prior to September, I had only 2-3 bad discs out of a fairly large collection(400+). Since September, I've had the following come out of the package badly scratched or scuffed and/or skipping on two different players and a friend's htpc:

    -Star Trek:TOS-Season 1(three returns and they finally let me 'build' a good set).

    -Star Trek:TOS-Season 3(it took until the third set to get a good one)

    -Rocky Anthology(Rocky and Rocky V)=Rocky skips badly.

    -Winds of War(discs 3 and 5)=Disc 3 froze up twice.

    -Saving Private Ryan 4-disc set=film disc badly scratched and gives 'no disc' error.

    -Spider-Man '67(discs 1 and 3)

    -Three's Company-Season 3(discs 1,2,3)=3 is unwatchable due to pixelation.

    -Three's Company-Season 2(discs 1 and 3)=Lockups in two places on disc 1.

    -Wonder Woman(disc 1)

    -Schindler's List(it looks like someone took two fingers to it and scratched away)

    -Cheers-Season 1(discs 2 and 4)=2 freezes up during last episode every time.

    -Jack Ryan Collection(3 out of 4 discs badly scratched)=only 'The Sum of All Fears' looks good. Figures.

    -Sledge Hammer-Season 1(discs 1 and 4)

    -Married with Children-Season 2=disc 2 is very bad.

    -Top Gun(film disc and BB bonus are very bad)=bonus will not even read.


    I've left off film and TV sets with minor marks that don't affect playback as I'm not too worried about that. All of the above either have playback problems or look bad enough to cause concern. These problems occurred on a Sony NS725P and a friend's Denon 2900 and HTPC. The problems are repeatable on each player so the fact that they are scratched and have trouble in all machines rules out player issues.

    Paramount has been the biggest offender and they all have a 'Made in Mexico' sticker on them. All of my older Paramount titles did not have this sticker and had no issues. Anecdotal evidence of course, but an odd coincidence. I was actually considering going to Costco and buying the 7 season set of Star Trek:TNG but I've been afraid of what I might find in a 48 disc set. The TOS sets have been a nightmare for me but good for the gas station. I can't count the trips I've made back and forth.

    Unfortunately, a lot of time can pass from the time I buy a DVD or TV set to when I open it. Many of the above have passed the return date allowed by the stores. Will the studios exchange these without a problem?

    I don't really believe in luck but is it just odd coincidence or a lack of quality control all of the sudden?
     
  2. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Producer

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    Hi,

    I've had a couple of TV/DVD Season packs arrive with the same problem of visual scuff marks but I was fortunate in that they haven't affected the playback/picture's. They were both TV/DVD Season 1 packs of the 60's WWII series "Combat!". I get almost all of my DVD's from a 'net site for cost savings. I haven't found a local outlet (Dallas, TX) that can compete with the pricing from the 'net outlets or I'd prefer to go the local store route in case of a needed return item.

    Do you purchase the majority of your DVD's from a local store or from the 'net via parcel post? Just curious if you're seeing more of the problems from postage/handling issues, etc.

    - Jeff W.
     
  3. BrandonJF

    BrandonJF Second Unit

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    I used to buy almost entirely online and had to stop due to the huge number of loose, scratched discs I was receiving. It's much easier for me to return them to a brick and mortar store.

    But, I've been running into this for years. The worst offender for me has always been the Fox TV DVD sets in the Buffy/Angel/24 style packaging. It's rare that I get a good set on the first try.

    I look like a madman at Best Buy on Tuesdays as I shake every DVD I pick up.
     
  4. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    I have also found the Fox Digipacks to be the worst offenders: Buffy, Angel, etc. I usually buy from a local brick & morter, and usually check the discs before I drive home.

    I had one damaged Star Trek TOS disc sent as a screener out of the three seasons. I was able to buff out the scratches enough to get it to play.
     
  5. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    I found a scratch on I Love Lucy Season 2 and that disc plays loudly.....is that caused by the scratch? If so, is there a number I can call so Paramount can replace it?
     
  6. Dave Farley

    Dave Farley Second Unit

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    Thanks for the responses. It looks like I'm not the only one. I do the shake test in the store myself like Brandon mentioned. The younger clerks will give you a look and ask you about it. Once you explain the reason, they agree and many will mention that they've bought a few floaters as well and could have prevented it by shaking the case.

    Jeff, I buy all at local stores after a couple of bad online experiences sometime back.

    I've got to start opening these right away so I can make the returns to the store and not have to go through a studio exchange. Paramount is going to be shocked over the amount that I've got to have replaced.


    Here's a thread over at DVD Talk about the scuffed and scratched discs in the Season 1 Trek sets. It looks like the guy started it about four months ago and it's been dead for a while.


    http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthr...hreadid=383230



    ScottR,

    I doubt that the scratch would cause that but I don't have the set to compare. Here's a link to the customer service numbers and email addresses for various stores and studios. The studios are at the bottom and Paramount has two numbers listed. I can't remember which one is correct.

    http://www.dvdtalk.com/csr.html
     
  7. Christian Preischl

    Christian Preischl Screenwriter

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    Early December I had to replace 4 items in 1 week for that reason! Snmallville Season 3, Bourne Supremacy (R3), Firestarter (R2) and Hi, Mom! The Hi, Mom disc was firmly in place, yet it looked like somebody had dragged both sides over the floor before putting it into the packaging. I mean, those weren't just scratches, it looked like somebody scraped whole areas off the disc!

    When I buy multi discs sets, there is always at least one disc in the package that has noticable scratch marks on it, even if it's firmly in place! And I agree with the FOX sets being the worst offenders as far as loose discs are concerned! I don't have a single Fox R1 set that didn't have at least one loose disc when it arrived (Simpsons season 4 had 3 out of 4!!). Funny, because their digipaks look just like the Warner digipaks, yet with all 8 seasons I never had a single loose Friends disc so far.

    Strangely enough the problem with scratched (non-loose) discs used to increase for me every year around Christmas (cheap labor to compensate the holiday demand?), but overall the drop in quality in definitely noticable. I'd say that a minimum of 1 out of 3 discs I buy has some sort of scuff marks, finger prints or surprisingly huge amounts of dirt (dust etc.) on the playing surface. Most are not a problem and the discs play fine nonetheless, but it still makes me wonder what the hell is going on.

    Chris
     
  8. BrandonJF

    BrandonJF Second Unit

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    Good observation about the Friends sets - I can't recall ever having a loose disc in all 8 seasons of Friends, either - or any of the WB digipacks for that matter.

    That other style of case WB uses (not sure what the term is ) for sets like Smallville and Babylon 5, however... It was tough finding early B5 sets with all the discs intact.

    Never had a floater in a slim-case. I think I had one total in a WB snapper.
     
  9. Josh_C

    Josh_C Auditioning

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    Some of my discs have scratches that do not affect playback. Does anyone know the likelihood that these current scratches will give me problems later on (with increased shelf life)?
     
  10. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    One thing to consider is the differing tolerances that players have for these defects. Your software should outlast your hardware. Just because the DVD player you currently own is forgiving of a scratch, doesn't mean the player you buy two years from now will be.

    If a disc has a couple of very fine and mild scratches, I'll usually let it go. If it has scuffs or deeper scratches, it goes back to the store whether or not it plays on my current player.

    -Scott
     
  11. GarySchrock

    GarySchrock Second Unit

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    Babylon 5 hands down was the worst offender IMHO. Each season it would take several boxes to open before I could get a complete set. I'm picky, and want discs to be nigh on perfect. After all, I'm buying what's supposed to be a new product, I shouldn't get it in abused condition.

    By far the most common problem I see is where it looks like the disc was slid across the hub as it was put in the packaging. Pretty frequent on the digi-pack style packaging, and it's a pretty tell-tale mark.
     
  12. Tony Kwong

    Tony Kwong Supporting Actor

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    I haven't really gotten that many scratched disc. I've had a bunch of missing and duplicate disc thou.

    What I hate the most is unbalanced disc. They can cause major problems with the spindle motor of a DVD player/DVD-ROM drive. I had to replace a computer drive and a standalone player. All because of one crappy unbalanced disc that ruined the transports.
     
  13. Dave Farley

    Dave Farley Second Unit

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    This is what was happening with my Star Trek:TOS S1 set. Disc 2 in three straight sets had a bad scuff mark that looked like it was slid across something. Finally, I got a good one that was only covered in fingerprints.[​IMG] It cleaned up scratch-free and works great.
     
  14. John H Ross

    John H Ross Screenwriter

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    I was just pointed to this thread. I have exactly the same problems with Star Trek seasons 1 and 2 (season 3 is still in the post).

    I'm a bit gutted, especially having sold off my original collection of Trek DVDs...

    I've e-mailed Amazon to see if they'll replace them. Generally, because I'm in England, they send out a replacement without me having to return my faulty copies. Hopefully I'll be able to piece together a decent set.

    John
     
  15. John H Ross

    John H Ross Screenwriter

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    Well... Amazon has placed a replacement order for seasons 1 and 2 but they want the faulty sets back within 1 month from today.

    Hopefully the new sets will arrive quickly so I can swap the (hopefully) better discs and then send all the bad ones back.

    I'm just hoping that its not the same ones that are scuffed, or that the replacement takes 3 weeks to get here (across the Atlantic, no doubt via Customs). I could end up paying another $200 and being no better off.

    Ain't technology great.

    John
     
  16. Dave Farley

    Dave Farley Second Unit

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    The Star Trek sets have been the most frustrating thing I've ever dealt with, John. I actually didn't buy another DVD for a couple months after what I went through. Season 1 took multiple returns and finally building a set with good discs. Disc 7 still has some minor marks but works perfectly, unlike the other scratched discs. I lucked out and got a good Season 2 on the first try. Season 3 has been a problem. Check out the now-dead thread at DVD Talk I linked to in an earlier post in this thread.
     
  17. Jim Saunders

    Jim Saunders Agent

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    I have had issues recently with The Simpsons season 4 and Futurama Volume 1 where one of the center disk holders is broken and the disk slides around. I'm not sure what to call the case they came in.
    Can someone explain what a 'Digipack' is and the other types of cases?
    Any ideas on what causes the scratches and cracked/broken cases? They dont have people in China hand packing the sets and doing it on perpose do they? Dont laugh. They can probobly get cheap human labor that way thats cheaper then using an automated machine. I've talked to enough customer service reps in India the last few years to believe it.
     
  18. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Count yourselves lucky if it's just scuffed or scratched discs that still play. I bought all 7 seasons of DS9 from Amazon.co.uk, R2 (cheaper at the time, snazzier packaging IMHO and just a bit more extras). The first 2 seasons played fine, but for S3 and S4, 4 out of 7 discs in each set are either totally unplayable, or the second layer can't be read, and this is not from scratches either since the discs look fine -- it's obviously a manufacturing defect. Fortunately Paramount UK has a replacement program and I've previously replaced 3 discs, and recently sent another 6 in, but it is a real PITA.

    S5 had one dud and the last disc had problems with just one featurette, so far S6 seems fine, and I wonder what S7 holds for me... [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  19. Dave Farley

    Dave Farley Second Unit

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    Wow, that's awful. You've really got to wonder about quality control.

    It's a fear of experiences like yours, Yee, that has kept me from going and buying the complete TNG set at Costco.
     
  20. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Dave, if you're buying at Costco and you get a dud disc, wouldn't it be simple to just go back and get it swapped, or a refund? My problem is that I buy most stuff online -- cheaper, or simply not available here.

    Having said that, my R2 TNG sets were fine, and I don't think anyone else has complained of duds in their TNG sets (R1), so if you can get a good deal, why not?

    My guess is that with the explosion of DVDs generally and TV product in particular (with its multiple-disc sets), the demand for disc replication has shot up, leading to either teething problems with new replicators, or a fall in QC standards with existing replicators as they try to meet demand.
     

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