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What do you do when you discover a disc issue? (1 Viewer)

Neil Brock

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I've bought hundreds of TV show DVDs, which probably comes to, I don't know, few hundred thousand hours of shows. I watch what I want at my convenience. But these sellers have a window of time in which you can return a defective product. If I watch everything I bought 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I wouldn't be able to get through the amount of shows I would get weekly (at least back when things used to come out). So, what are you supposed to do? When you discover a problem, you have to re-buy the whole set?
 

BobO'Link

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That's what I normally do - or just the effected season if possible.

Like yours, everything I own is long past the return date and some of the original manufacturers are no longer in business. I figure the majors *might* replace something if I ask politely but I rarely do. Fortunately I've not had that many things so defective they'll no longer play - a few episodes on one of the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea sets and an episode of classic Star Trek on DVD. I've not replaced either at this point as I upgraded Star Trek to BR and keep hoping they'll release a BR of Voyage... although since that's now a Disney property I should probably purchase a new DVD while they're available.
 

Harry-N

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I've rebought a couple of sets due to defective discs. One was a DVD season of M*A*S*H where a particular favorite episode went bad. It had been fine after several watchings, but one day it came up with errors.

Same thing with a Blu-ray of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION. Another favorite episode just stopped midway through, so I found a bargain re-buy on eBay that fixed the problem.
 

GMBurns

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Yeah, I think generally the collector is hosed when that happens. I've found corrupt discs several times when it was a few months later and I was told (politely, to be sure) that it was too late to get a replacement.

I did have a really positive experience with Shout about four years, long after the merger and the disappearance of the Timeless brand. I had a bum disc of the Virginian. I emailed Shout, told them I had purchased the set years ago from TMG, and asked if they'd be willing to give me a replacement for that one disc. They were! And I had it in my hands by the end of the week.
 

jcroy

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I've bought hundreds of TV show DVDs, which probably comes to, I don't know, few hundred thousand hours of shows. I watch what I want at my convenience. But these sellers have a window of time in which you can return a defective product. If I watch everything I bought 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I wouldn't be able to get through the amount of shows I would get weekly (at least back when things used to come out). So, what are you supposed to do? When you discover a problem, you have to re-buy the whole set?

To minimize this problem initially, I just rip every newly purchased dvd disc to the computer. If the computer gets stuck at a particular spot after numerous re-reads, then most likely it is a defective dvd disc.

(The exception are some Disney released tv season sets over 2005 to 2010, where they used some extra basketcase drm which had deliberate bad sectors to trip up or outright crash then-current ripping programs).
 

jcroy

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I still use the old Dvd Decrypter, which has not been updated since March 2005. It works on more than 99% of tv season sets on dvd.



The remaining 1% (or less) are mostly Disney titles which have extra basketcase drm, such as most of: The Golden Girls, LOST, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, Brothers and Sisters, Home Improvement, etc ... which were released on dvd over 2005-2010.

For example, it takes some additional elbow grease to rip all the seasons of The Golden Girls, which involves telling Dvd Decrypter to skip over the deliberate bad sectors of the extra basketcase drm. (This is done via PSL files prepared by hand).
 

Josh Steinberg

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I think the insight of ripping as a potential way of making a backup copy is a good one, but this is perhaps not the thread to go into the minutiae of different ripping techniques and related obstacles. We have several other threads that are more technically oriented and better suited to that topic, I think.
 

LeoA

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If I bought it direct from Amazon and didn't get around to watching it for a year or two, I've fudged things a couple of times when I've encountered problems by rebuying it and then doing a return.

Perhaps not quite on the up and up, but I also think it's fair to assume that a purchase is going to work correctly directly out of the shrink wrap and not feel obligated to immediately view it upon receipt of the set. Especially for something like a big complete series set.

What crosses the line for me is if I bought it from another retailer. For instance if I bought a set in-person at Wal Mart, I don't think it's right to make that another retailer's problem a year or two later by abusing the ease of doing a return with Amazon.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I've bought hundreds of TV show DVDs, which probably comes to, I don't know, few hundred thousand hours of shows. I watch what I want at my convenience. But these sellers have a window of time in which you can return a defective product. If I watch everything I bought 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I wouldn't be able to get through the amount of shows I would get weekly (at least back when things used to come out). So, what are you supposed to do? When you discover a problem, you have to re-buy the whole set?

At the risk of sounding didactic - and that’s my not intention - optical discs aren’t really an archival storage medium. They’re a consumer good with an uncertain lifespan. Which can definitely be a bummer for us collectors. I don’t think anyone ever seriously advertised discs as “this will last forever” but they certainly didn’t discourage anyone from holding that belief either.

With that said, I’ve found that a good number of labels will make good faith efforts to replace product, if they can. Criterion is very good about this. I might even rank them the best because they have kept extra copies of out of print titles on hand for replacements, which is extremely rare. Warner is generally pretty good, but it has to be in print. Fox was pretty good but slow to respond/send out a replacement; I’d assume their replacements are now handled in accordance with Disney’s policies. Disney will generally offer a replacement if you still have a receipt and if it was purchased from a retailer they sell directly to (in other words, they won’t replace an eBay purchase gone bad but will send you a replacement disc for something if you can show an Amazon receipt). I don’t think I’ve ever tried to get a Sony title replaced so I can’t speak to their process.

It can be a little bit of a pain to actually go through a replacement process years after the fact. I don’t think it’s that anyone means poorly but rather that it’s limited staff handling all the requests. There have been times when I’ll do a sort of cost/benefit analysis. I had a disc go bad in an expensive box set that wasn’t available individually, so that was worth a six week turnaround to send something in and wait for a replacement. I had another disc go bad that I wanted to watch sooner vs later and I could get for $5 at Amazon and had enough rewards points on hand to pay that - it was easier (and cheaper, if you consider the value of your own time) to just bite the bullet and replace it myself.

Nowadays I run a home theater PC/Plex server so everything gets ripped, which also serves as a backup to the disc. But in the many years before I did that, if I ever got a rare disc, an expensive disc or something I really cared about (especially if it went out of print), I’d just make a backup copy for myself.

There’s no perfect one size fits all solution. So my rule of thumb for myself is kinda this:
-If it’s precious, make a backup copy immediately
-If it goes bad, try to get a replacement from the studio/label
-If it’s not a rare title, check Amazon/eBay to see if a new or used replacement can be gotten for near the cost of shipping the bad copy back, if so, don’t bother with the replacement process.
 

Ron Lee Green

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I, too, have dozens of unwatched DVDs in my collection. That's one of the reasons why I just stopped purchasing DVDs. Not enough time. There's so much great stuff on youtube or the streaming sites. I don't think I purchased any new DVDs since 2019. If I do pull a DVD off my bookshelf that I haven't bothered to watch for years, and find out it's bad, I will eat my loss. I look at it this way: If it wasn't important enough for me to watch right away, then I probably didn't care enough about it in the first place, so I can live without it. I'm not going to buy it again. Move on to another DVD.
 

jcroy

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I don’t think anyone ever seriously advertised discs as “this will last forever” but they certainly didn’t discourage anyone from holding that belief either.

Back in the day when audio cds first appeared on the market (circa early-mid 1980s), I recall this ^ was one of the "perceptions" of the then-new digital cd format. Independent of whether it was true or false, which nobody knew for sure at the time. Though I don't know if Sony or Philips ever quoted this as "fact" in their advertising.

(Sony and Philips were the primary patent holders of the audio cd technology).

If anybody had ever asserted that audio cd discs "will last forever" in those days, most likely it was a journalist/writer or tv reporter who didn't get their facts right. (ie. In stereo magazines, news clippings/segments, documentaries, etc ...).
 

BobO'Link

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Early CD marketing pushed just how much sturdier and damage proof they were compared to LPs. I don't recall any mention of life span but it was assumed by most consumers that they'd last "forever" due to the way they were marketed.

I was in an audio store one day (roughly 1984 - CDs were still very new) looking at computers (was about to purchase my first one - deciding which) when a young couple came in looking at HiFi equipment. They were especially interested in a CD player so the salesman too great joy demonstrating the device. At one point to show how they were superior to LPs and "impervious" he took the disc out of the player, dropped it on the ground (polished concrete), and ground on it a bit with his foot (I'd already read about them in audio magazines and knew what could happen). They were shocked - he said "No worry... can't hurt these!" - put it back in the player - nothing. Wouldn't play. Player didn't even recognize he'd inserted a disc. He's now stuttering "Uhhh... that's never happened before! That's not supposed to happen!" The couple is giving him the eye, turned and left the store. I laugh to myself, finish checking out the computers/software they had, and left.


While I've read about CDs going bad I've never experienced this myself. I own over 1600 CDs and would make it ~2000+ when adding each disc in multi-disc sets. In the entire time I've been purchasing CDs (since the late 80s) I've only purchased *one* disc that wouldn't play. A few years back I purchased a new car that had only USB ports for music playback so I ripped my entire CD collection for car use. Only 4 discs wouldn't rip properly (they'd play - just not rip). One had a bad scratch caused by a slot player - I repaired it enough for it to rip. Another was too scratched to rip (and admittedly had playback issues) with the scratches on the label side making it unrepairable, with the last 2 just not cooperating at all even though looking pristine. Those 3 were replaced with new copies.

I've had more DVDs fail or be bad out of the sealed package than CDs, though it's been a very small amount (less than .5%) when compared to the number of discs I own. And that's not all that surprising when you take into account how a DVD is made. It's a far more exacting process than with a CD.
 
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jcroy

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Early CD marketing pushed just how much sturdier and damage proof they were compared to LPs. I don't recall any mention of life span but it was assumed by most consumers that they'd last "forever" due to the way they were marketed.

In hindsight, the marketing folks at Sony and/or Philips chose their wording right such that it created a "perception" of "lasting forever", without actually saying it explicitly.

I remember one of the huge "selling points" of the audio cd format was that scratches would not be audible. In contrast, a scratch on a vinyl record was immediately audible.

Also the other big selling points in those days, was that there would be no vinyl record noises and the (subjective) sound quality would be better than the pre-recorded cassette version.

In the end, the audio cd format wasn't much more than an easy way to convince then-middle aged boomers to "re buy" their old beloved albums again on a new format. (This completely failed two+ decades later with sacd, dvd-audio, bluray-audio, etc ...).
 

Peter Apruzzese

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David_B_K

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I remember a magazine ad at the time Compact Disc was just coming out. It showed a symphony hall, and the copy said something like "Sony has reserved row 12, seat 12 for you...forever". I daresay I have had very few CDs go bad since I started collecting them in 1985. Most were scratched, and only two simply stopped playing with no scratches. Probably 4 or 5 in all that time.
 

Neil Brock

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A bigger problem which I'm encountering now is that I'm finding a portion of the DVDRs that I burned around 20 years ago have gone bad. So far I've only discovered it on TDKs but I've found around 75 discs which either do not play at all or only play some of the shows but not all of them. The good news is I stopped using TDKs over 15 years ago but the bad news is I thought that was the best brand and I put my most valuable and rare tapes on them.
 

jcroy

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A bigger problem which I'm encountering now is that I'm finding a portion of the DVDRs that I burned around 20 years ago have gone bad. So far I've only discovered it on TDKs but I've found around 75 discs which either do not play at all or only play some of the shows but not all of them. The good news is I stopped using TDKs over 15 years ago but the bad news is I thought that was the best brand and I put my most valuable and rare tapes on them.

This is a very good point, albeit tangentially.

More generally since late 2015, I simply do not trust the quality of blank dvdr/rw discs.

What happened was the best quality manufacturer of blank discs Taiyo Yuden, sold their entire disc manufacturing operations to the worst quality manufacturer CMC Magnetics. (ie. No more "made in japan" blank discs worth mentioning for over 5 years).
 

Josh Steinberg

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The difference between CDs and most DVDs/BDs is that CDs are single layers, while many movie discs are actually two discs glued together under one label. It’s that part of the production process that is most prone to failure over time. It’s almost always the glue going bad in some way that causes a video disc to fail.
 

Guardyan

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[...]

More generally since late 2015, I simply do not trust the quality of blank dvdr/rw discs.

[...]

To borrow from your post, I also do not trust the quality of blank DVD-R/RW discs.

I never had the unpleasant experience of having a professionally pressed CD/DVD/BD fail on me. But CD/DVD-Rs... oh my. I lost count.
 

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