Universal and DVD 18's

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Wayne Klein, Sep 25, 2005.

  1. Wayne Klein

    Wayne Klein Agent

    Mar 9, 2005
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    While I have had only occasional problems with the DVD18 releases from Universal, I personally hate dual sided discs. 1) They don't stand up to wear and tear 2)Because they have to go through two additional pressings for the format they are prone to a higher error/flaw rate. Universal hasn't addressed any of these issues. Other folks, on the other hand, have had numerous problems based on what I've seen at amazon.com and in some of the emails sent to me regarding items I've reviewed.

    The "Hammer Horror" series has been the most recent culprit. Again, my problems with it have been minor (some pixelation issues) but others I've spoken with have their DVD players freeze, picture glitches and pixelation problems at such a high rate they've vowed not to buy Universal product until they fix the issues. I've noticed this (I write reviews for a couple of websites on DVDs)to be a much larger problem with Universal compared to some other studios. Personally, I feel it's not the best format and would rather have a bit of extra space taken up on my shelf and pay five or six bucks more than get product that might come apart because of DVD rot or other issues.

    I also have an issue with the TV DVD releases from Univesal save for "Battlestar Galatica" (the new series) which Universal has done a great job with. These dual layered, dual sided discs usually come without extras and with a much more pronounced problem with the image quality than other releases from other studios (Warner's superb "Kung Fu" releases for example with the exception of the 16x9 enhancement on season one or "Lois and Clark").

    I appreciate that this is a business and that marketing has a certain budget to work with and there is a projected sell through on these titles. However, it would be helpful if Universal also made some effort with extras for many of these sets or at least a couple of commentary tracks. Given the studio's track record (which showed a huge improvement for a short span of time) it seems there's a trend now to rush these shows to market vs. actually putting value added material on the releases. Again, there are some series that fans will buy no matter what but I have heard plenty of comsumer complaints (and there's lots listed at amazon.com) about the QC of the discs themselves as well as the lack of extras.

    Universal, I hope you're listening. Your reputation is on the line along with sales. Let's see an improvement. Also, may I suggest that you ask the fans (via your website vs. this forum as not everyone comes to this site)what they'd like to see released, how much they'd be willing to pay for releases with extras and what sort of extras appeal to them. There are some (MGM comes to mind)studios that have added value to releases but haven't thought through the extras and just throw them on. A few well planned, well executed extras are better than a zillion of pointless featurettes or extras that fans will never watch again. Universal's superb "Battlestar Galatica" is a good example of what the studio should do more of. It's the best release Universal has put out with great extras and it's got excellent video quality at a good price.

    Any other thoughts on this issue?
  2. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

    Apr 24, 1999
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    I APPLAUD Universal's move towards DVD-18s- they represent what the format was designed to do which is store several hours of content on one disc! I'm completely sick of all the unnecessary "2-disc sets" out there when most of the time they could have fit everything onto one 2-sided disc. I've bought several titles simply because they were DVD-18s, since they're still not extremely common they carry a certain "neato" factor for me [​IMG] I see right through the releases that include 2 1-siders trying to make it look like "more"!

    However, I must ask what they are thinking by not putting ANY labeling whatsoever on the second side! Instead they have the usual Side A info printed on that side, then on the innermost ring near the hole they print "Side B on other side" or something to that effect. (Fox has been doing something similar lately also.) A common complaint about 2-sided discs is the small print, so having unlabled sides probably isn't winning anybody over- some of the less tech-savvy consumers out there might not even know it's OK to put the disc in with no label facing up! I've never understood why they can't print on the ENTIRE center, like they've been doing on most of the DualDisc DVD/CDs- those have nice big lettering with room for some artwork and other stuff too, and give people a better idea where they should and shouldn't put their fingers.

    It appears that there've been problems with the discs made by Technicolor in Mexico, the ones I've bought so far have played perfectly however (just watched side 1 of Emergency last night and will watch the rest by the end of the week, and you can be sure I'll post if there's any problems with them!) Obviously they should have their discs made elsewhere until Technicolor can get everything straightened out if there have been a lot of defective discs. As far as I know Warner (WAMO) is the only other company that can make DVD-18s so far, and I haven't heard of any problems with ones made there.

    I was avoiding Universal for a while because of the forced trailers on many of their discs, but they seem to have finally stopped locking out the menu button during those now, and I'm glad to see them pushing the limits of what the format can do by putting up to four movies on one disc, or special edition material without the superflous extra disc and extra packaging that usually goes along with it. Looking forward to getting all the Leave It To Beaver shows on a smaller number of discs!
  3. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

    Aug 2, 2001
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    I'm with Wayne here.

    I have personally passed on more than $300 worth of releases because they simply don't play on a lot of machines, and I personally have had three different players from different manufacturer that these discs did not work on.

    Personally, until they make players that can read both sides of the disc, there is absolutely no reason for a two-sided disc. Two DVD-9s take up no more space, plus they can be put in a multi-disc changer for instant access. The same amount of material can be put on two DVD-9s, and you don't have the compatability and manufacturing problems either.

    You have points, but only when the discs work.

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