Should I get my DVD player cleaned at Best Buy?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott Leopold, Jul 21, 2002.

  1. Scott Leopold

    Scott Leopold Supporting Actor

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    I'm not sure if this has been brought up before, and a search didn't turn anything up, so I thought I'd ask. Our DVD player in the bedroom, which is the most used, has been freezing up in spots lately. There's nothing wrong with the discs, and if I scan back and play it over, it usually plays fine the second time through. I'm assuming it's due to the machine being a little dirty inside. I purchased it at Best Buy, and bought the extended warranty/service deal, which provides me with 4 free cleanings per year for the life of the extended warranty. However, I have some misgivings about this.

    First and foremost is the fact that it'd be Best Buy doing the work. While I've never had them work on anything for me personally, everyone I know who's had them do any work on any sort of hardware for them has had a terrible experience. One friend bought a PC there, and had problems hooking up her scanner. After a little more than a year, she was on her 3rd PC--they had to keep replacing them after screwing up the work and not having anything comparable in stock, so she also got some free upgrades. Unfortunately, she had only had a PC in her house for a total of about 2 months, and 90% of that time the PC didn't work.

    Secondly, It's an Apex 3201, and I've set it to be region free. I'm worried that BB might somehow reset this or mess it up during the cleaning.

    Thirdly, how long would it take? I've never known BB's time estimates to be accurate. Also, my parents had to mail their player back to the manufacturer to be serviced (more on that next), and were without a player for over a month. I'm not sure that's a sacrifice I want to make.

    Finally, are there any easy ways to clean your player yourself? My parents bought a cleaning kit that supposedly would clean the player. You put a solution on the disc, put it in your machine, and it cleaned it. This resulted in them needing to send the machine back to the manufacturer to have the laser replaced (this is what I was told by them). I'm just wondering if there's anything I can do to clean the machine properly, without running the risk of destroying it myself, or having BB do it for me.
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Scott, the problem you are having with the APEX player could be due to a dirty laser lens or a laser mechanism that is dying. There are lens cleaners available that do not apply any sort of cleaning solution. Radio Shack sells a cleaning disc for around $10. It looks like a CD but has small bristles hanging off of it at various points. All you do is put it in and press play. It's very easy to use. You might want to try it.

    If the Radio Shack lens cleaner doesn't work, you could always take it to Best Buy for a cleaning, but I can understand your reluctance to do that. Rather than doing that and going through a potential hassle of them breaking it and getting into a "he said, she said" situation, you might consider getting a new player. Fortunately, the APEX player wasn't that expensive. You could get a better replacement player by Sony, Pioneer, Panasonic, or Toshiba for $150. However, none of the players by the major manufacturers can be set to region-free.
     
  3. Stefan A

    Stefan A Second Unit

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    Scott,

    Why did you buy the extended warranty service if you do not like Best Buy's service department? Most people agree that the service plans are a scam anyway.

    In any event, since you paid for the service, you may as well use it. I don't know what to tell you about the region free problem. Does cleaning a dvd player affect the modifications? Find that out first.
     
  4. Scott Leopold

    Scott Leopold Supporting Actor

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    I bought the extended warranty because it was only 9.99, I wasn't familiar with the brand, and if it broke down during that time frame I wanted to be able to take it back for a replacement. The last thing I didn't buy the extended warranty on was my Acer monitor back in '92 or so (can't remember exactly, but it was a 4-year warranty), and it died 3 years after I bought it (I've had my current Sony monitor ever since). An odd side note is that I have a friend who worked for a company who bought nothing but Acers (24 of them, I believe), none of which were under an extended warranty. The company warranty was 2 years, and they all made it through that period just fine. By the end of the 26th month, though, every single monitor had died. This happened about a month after my Acer monitor died.

    I plan on checking out the cleaning disc at Radio Shack sometime this week, although I'm still curious to know if anyone has actually had BB clean their player for them.
     
  5. Jim FC

    Jim FC Stunt Coordinator

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    "Most people agree that the service plans are a scam anyway." This is your opinion disguised as a blanket statement, and it happens to be not true at all. A scam is something you pay for and then do not receive. There are plenty of people, myself included, who are glad they bought a service plan on their electronics. I bought a $60 coverage on a $600 27" TV, and three years later a repair that would have cost me $275 was covered. They may not be fore everyone and everything, but a service plan from a reputable dealer is far from a scam.

    The $10 BB coverage you got most likely consists of them putting one of those cleaning CDs in it and hitting play, as Keith mentioned. An honest-to-goodness cleaning -- dissasembly, hand cleaning of lens, alignment of laser, etc. -- would cost a bit more than a $10 warranty is likely to make BB. I wouldn't worry about the region-free thing, as I doubt they'd take it apart or fiddle with it in ansy way.
     
  6. Stefan A

    Stefan A Second Unit

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    Jim,

    Perhaps "scam" was the wrong word. But, I only made the statement based on the countless threads I have read here regarding the worth of those plans. Customers as well as employees here have pointed out that they are usually just a waste of money and a way for the stores to make some extra money.

    However, I don't want to ruin this thread - which is why I won't comment on it anymore.

    Stefan
     
  7. Jim FC

    Jim FC Stunt Coordinator

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    Stefan,
    Fair enough. The thread seems to be fizzing out anyway, so one more comment... the service department of any electronics chain is a money loser for the company. The fact is that the money you spend on a service plan is much more likely to go towards fixing somebody else's TV (or even yours) than into the pockets of the store you bought it from.

    Jim
     
  8. Jeff Mills

    Jeff Mills Stunt Coordinator

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    My take on extended warranty protection:

    During my engineering courses in university, I took a statistics course which included some reliability calculations. Something called the "bathtub curve" statistically predicts the failure rate for a given product, and from what I was told, holds especially true for electronics. The curve has failure rate on the y axis and time on the x axis. When a product is first built, the failure rate is fairly high, this is why most manufacturers "burn" their equipment in prior to shipping. If a part is going to fail, it will most likely fail at the beginning of its life. The curve then plateaus (very few failures), which is the normal service life of the product. The curve then begins to rise again (hence the term bathtub) and begins failing due to old age. This curve has been statistically proven and these so called extended warranties take full advantage of this knowledge to make it work in their favour.

    Now, shit does happen, and some parts will fail in a manner that is not according to this curve. But the cost of repair vs risk must be decided upon before buying the warranty. Is the component $150 and they want $50 for the warranty? Not worth it in my opinion. Is it a $3000 RPTV and they want $100 for the warranty? That would be worth it in my opinion. You need to evaluate the cost vs risk for every purchase. The risk of a part failing during the extended warranty coverage is quite low...but it does happen, so use common sense.

    Dont really know why I decided to post this here, but I thought it was a little info that some of you may be interested in.

    Jeff
     
  9. Chas_T

    Chas_T Supporting Actor

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    Agreed on the issue of cleaning. That disc cleaner from Radio Shack might do the trick. I too seriously doubt Best Buy would take the unit completly apart and do a thorough cleaning of the unit.

    As far as warranty and purchasing an extended plan, Jeff hit the nail on the head with his analogy and the "Bathtub Curve."

    I tend to base my decision too on the cost of the product and how easy is it to move in the event it needs servicing.

    Example: Sony XBR400. Extended warranty was $150. It was worth the piece of mind to know that for the next 5 years I don't have to move that 250 pound beast around if it needs servicing.
     
  10. DanielSmi

    DanielSmi Second Unit

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    I used to work at BB and what they do is break open the player and clean it with alcohol and I think they clean the laser with one of those discs and they might dust it, that's about it I wouldn't pay for them to clean it but since you got the PSP I would get it cleaned from them. This is totaly different from their computer service where they ship it away for a few weeks, but I think the don't have the guys that clean the players anymore but I'm not sure. If they don't I'm sure one of the computer guys could do it for you it's not hard they shouldn't have to ship it off, if they do then you better find a manager and yell at him for such an inconvenience and try to get some compensation like free dvd or something.

    Daniel Smith
     
  11. Adam Barratt

    Adam Barratt Cinematographer

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    I would suggest caution when using any sort of disc-based lens cleaning product. Anything on a disc that touches the lens with enough pressure to remove surface contaminants also has the potential to damage the lens surface or alter its alignment.

    My current Sony DVD player's manual included a pull-out card that specifically advised against using any sort of cleaning disc, and I have personally avoided using them for many years. If you absolutely must get the lens cleaned (I have never seen a lens, even one kept in an extremely dusty environment, that became dirty enough to cause playback errors), getting a service technician to do it is probably your best bet. If the lens is dirty enough to cause freezing, then a disc cleaner probably won't be sufficient in any case.

    Adam
     

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