PDA

View Full Version : Self Destructing DVD's Make Debut.


CWIPPERMAN
09-05-2003, 07:26 AM
Self-destructing DVDs to debut
By ROBERT W. BUTLER
The Kansas City Star


Going to the video rental store on Friday night to pick movies for the weekend: Fun.

Scrambling Monday to return those videos to beat a late fee: A royal pain.

For those who typically rent two movies, end up watching just one and paying late fees on both, the folks at Walt Disney have an intriguing proposition.

Beginning Tuesday in Kansas City and in three other cities, Disney will test market DVDs that, once freed from their airtight packages, can be played for at least 48 hours before self-destructing.

They're sort of like the self-destructing cassette tapes from the “Mission Impossible” TV series, only without the smoke and fire.

These “EZ-Ds” have the potential to launch a major shift in America's home entertainment options.

“What I envision,” said Art LeBlanc, president of Flexplay, the firm that developed the new technology, “is people keeping a stack of maybe six EZ-Ds by the DVD player. They don't open them until they're ready to watch them, or until friends come over.

“Once the package has been opened, they have at least 48 hours

— and sometimes up to 72 hours — to view the film as many times as they like.”

At some time after 48 hours of exposure to the atmosphere, the EZ-D will refuse to boot up on the DVD player. The bottom side of the disc, which is bright red when removed from its plastic pouch, will turn black. That's the sign that its playing hours are over.

“There are really several different DVD markets,” said Dan Silverberg, director of new business development for Buena Vista Home Entertainment. He and LeBlanc visited Kansas City on Thursday to discuss the project.

“The people who want to buy a copy of ‘Monsters, Inc.' don't want it for just 48 hours. They want to keep it and watch it forever.”

Last year “Monsters, Inc.” and the first “Harry Potter” movie were among the biggest sellers on DVD. But they didn't even make the Top 50 in DVD rentals; that list was topped by the Michael Douglas thriller “Don't Say A Word.”

The prime market for EZ-Ds, Silverberg said, are those people who have given up on renting videos and DVDs because of the hassles of returning the disc and paying a late fee.

They're often too busy to even watch what they've rented.

For the most part, this is an adult audience, he said, which is why you won't find any cartoon classics in EZ-D format.

What you will find are the star-driven contemporary films from Disney, Touchstone and Miramax aimed at grown-ups.

The first batch of EZ-D titles include Salma Hayek in “Frida,” Mel Gibson in “Signs,” Al Pacino and Colin Farrell in “The Recruit,” Edward Norton in “The 25th Hour,” Cate Blanchett in “Heaven,” Rob Schneider in “The Hot Chick,” the sci-fi entry “Equilibrium” and the Australian hit “Rabbit-Proof Fence.”

EZ-Ds won't be sold at every video store. Industry giant Blockbuster has taken a wait-and-see attitude toward the new technology. The Movie Gallery, Sam Goody and Suncoast Video will carry them.

But odds are you'll first encounter this new format at a Dillon's grocery store, a Kwik Shop, the Nebraska Furniture Mart, a Phillips 66 station, Toys R Us or Walgreen's Drugs. The EZ-D will appeal to the impulse-buying tendencies of casual movie fans.

Also, EZ-D versions of movies probably will remain on the shelves for only a few weeks before being replaced by new titles. ( Even if they remain sealed in their packages, EZ-Ds will turn black after a year or so.)

How much will it cost? That's up to individual retailers. Silverberg estimates that most EZ-Ds will be priced in the $5 to $7 range.

That's nearly twice what it costs to rent a film, but the key here is convenience and avoiding late fees. Last year American consumers spent $8 billion to rent DVDs and VHS tapes — and paid an additional $1.6 billion in late fees. That means nearly 12 percent of a store's income comes from late fees.

The downside of the EZ-D is that at the end of 48 hours, the consumer is left with a useless plastic disc that might just end up in the landfill. Most recycling firms lack the technology to extract the metal interior from a disc's plastic shell.

But on the front of each EZ-D is printed the address of GreenDisk Services in Columbia. Users are encouraged to save their spent EZ-D discs and send them to GreenDisk, which can recycle the discs. Through its Web site, greendisk.com, GreenDisk will even provide customers with pre-paid mailing envelopes in which to return the used discs.

So far only Disney has joined the EZ-D bandwagon., although LeBlanc said he's had talks with other major studios who are watching what happens in the test markets — besides Kansas City the discs are going on sale in Charleston, S.C.; Peoria, Ill.; and Austin, Texas.

----------------
Original Article is here: http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/6695828.htm

Towncrier
09-05-2003, 11:29 AM
It's Circuit City's DIVX idea all over again. Send the message to Disney and
DON'T BUY THESE DVDs!!!

We killed Divx. We can kill self-destructing DVDs.

DramaTech
09-05-2003, 02:23 PM
Amen, Towncrier...Amen!

ErikdaRed
09-05-2003, 05:17 PM
This technology is very different from the DIVX format, but it will probably suffer the same fate. DIVX was designed with loads of extra encryption on the disc, leaving less space for extras/ sound tracks/ WS and FS, etc. It also entailed a centralized database that turned many off. This meant that even those that bought DIVXs disks got less than on the standard DVD format.

These disks are standard DVD format that physically degrade over time. If I was rentally challenged I would buy these, don't have to worry about getting the movie back. They might have missed the boat with netflix serving the came purpose (removing late fees). Of course netflix might end up using them, who knows.

Its not like these are going to replace DVDs. I say let them prosper. And heck, get yourself a food saver and you could probably extend the disks lives extensively.

HorizonsFan
09-05-2003, 05:43 PM
I think that one of the main things that killed DIVX was the special player and phone line connection...
This is equally bad, however. I think they're counting too heavily on the convenience factor. People are going to rent because it's cheaper without regard to whether or not they might incur a late fee. Why are stores so ready to offer no interest for 12 months for large purchases? Because people buy intending to pay it off before the interest begins to accrue and most don't.
People are going to spend where the up-front cost is the lowest.

Schmeck
09-05-2003, 05:47 PM
Oh lovely, more trash, now with a Disney logo on it...

As if the morons who can't return a movie are going to bother mailing them to GreenDisk :mad:

Schmeck, very disappointed in Disney for agreeing to this wasteful product!

wdwguide
09-05-2003, 06:34 PM
Environmentality my [censored].

AKemel
09-05-2003, 07:00 PM
I can always count on this board to "trash" any original and "recycled" Disney ideas.;)

colleen costello
09-05-2003, 07:46 PM
What nonsense... A sad commentary on American values. What happen to "reuse and recycle?" Also, there is currently software available that lets you easily copy DVD's. Guess they are not worried about that.

WDWHound
09-05-2003, 08:11 PM
I see good and bad things about this idea. If they offer the same movies in a traditional DVD format, than this new format simply offers more choice for the customer and a nice alternative to renting or pay perview. If they don't offer traditional DVDs alone side the "mission impossible" format, then I see this as a very bad Idea.

On the environmental front, I can't see this as anything but bad news.

DC7800
09-05-2003, 09:22 PM
What I personally don't like about these disks (beyond the fact it seems like a bad idea to begin with) is the quick expiration. I don't always finish a movie the same time I start one (for whatever reason), or maybe I open the package but do not actually watch the thing right away. With EZ-D I'll come back to a ruined disk. Actually, with customers aware of the time factor, I have to wonder if this couldn't actually encourage piracy - make yourself a copy before the thing goes bad.

The price also seems too high for a "rental".

ChrisFL
09-06-2003, 04:10 PM
I don't think this idea will last either.

I believe, that in about 5 years, we're going to have basically a computer that will let us download and watch movies without needing any DVD's, just downloaded to our TV's. Kinda similar to what's happening now, on some websites, but with faster download speeds and a hard drive similar to Tivo's.

That's the future. Like Pay-per-view in some ways, but with hundreds of movies

emmagata
09-06-2003, 07:31 PM
Originally posted by ChrisFL


That's the future. Like Pay-per-view in some ways, but with hundreds of movies

Comcast has something just like what you describe.

It's called "On demand". Some other cable companies have it too.

You have a menu of available titles with both free and pay-per-view selections. It's like watching a streaming video on a high speed internet connection only much better quality.

emmagata
09-06-2003, 07:35 PM
Originally posted by DC7800
. Actually, with customers aware of the time factor, I have to wonder if this couldn't actually encourage piracy - make yourself a copy before the thing goes bad.

:smooth:



The price also seems too high for a "rental".

I'd rather take my chances with a regular rental in that I'll be able to get it back in time.

ChrisFL
09-07-2003, 12:07 AM
Originally posted by emmagata
Comcast has something just like what you describe.

It's called "On demand". Some other cable companies have it too.

You have a menu of available titles with both free and pay-per-view selections. It's like watching a streaming video on a high speed internet connection only much better quality.

Yes, I have on-demand, there's still only about 30 movies

CWIPPERMAN
09-07-2003, 02:27 AM
First, I want to mention that this topic was broached a few months back when it was announced that Disney was working on this technology. From what I remember of that discussion, the make-up of these DVD's makes it practically impossible to "Pirate" these discs.

The main purpose of these discs is like was mentioned in the original article. Imagine going to your local Wal-Mart, and while waiting in line to check out, you see gum, light bulbs, batteries, and the top 5 movie releases hanging in the check-out isle. The intended audience here is folks that would normally go to a Blockbuster and rent the "new release" when they come out. They are trying to make it so that for a couple bucks more, you can take the disc home, watch it at your convenience, and not mess with the local video store (not sure about where you live, but on a typical weekend night you will wait 20-30 minutes in the check-out line at the local video stores - not to mention having to go back a few days later to return the movie).

There will always be folks that will buy movies. I currently have about 120 DVD's - most that I have only watched once. I personally would consider trying this a few times - just because once I've seen a movie and all the special features, the DVD usually gathers dust on the shelf.

FOR YOU ENVIORNMENTALISTS THAT ARE WORRIED ABOUT RECYCLING... In an average week, I personally throw away at least 4 or 5 CD's from "AOL", "Earthlink", "Netzero", and every other internet provider out there. I can guarantee you that I will not be purchasing 4 or 5 of these DVD's a week. So...... I strongly doubt that these DVD's will be an Enviormental Disaster waiting to happen. I bet that these DVD's will have less of an impact overall on the enviornment than is made by a vehicle driving back to a video store to return a rental (gas, oil, pollution, plus those video store bags and receipts that get thrown in the trash).

Disneycrazymom
09-07-2003, 05:06 PM
I think this is an interesting idea. I can see myself in that exact situation (at the walmart check out on Sat.) taking one of these movies home to watch that evening. It saves me 2 trips to the video store and wating in another line. Well worth an extra dollar on a busy weekend or if the weather is bad. :)

wdwguide
09-07-2003, 05:27 PM
Originally posted by CWIPPERMAN
FOR YOU ENVIORNMENTALISTS THAT ARE WORRIED ABOUT RECYCLING... In an average week, I personally throw away at least 4 or 5 CD's from "AOL", "Earthlink", "Netzero", and every other internet provider out there. I can guarantee you that I will not be purchasing 4 or 5 of these DVD's a week. So...... I strongly doubt that these DVD's will be an Enviormental Disaster waiting to happen. I bet that these DVD's will have less of an impact overall on the enviornment than is made by a vehicle driving back to a video store to return a rental (gas, oil, pollution, plus those video store bags and receipts that get thrown in the trash).

It's not an environmental disaster per se, and it's nice that Disney appears to be including a mail-in recycling option, although it remains to be seen how many of the people who buy these DVDs will take advantage of that.
The problem is that it reinforces the notion that a throw-away society is acceptable in a country where placing new landfill sites or incinerators is virtually impossible due to the NIMBY syndrome, and many existing sites are filling up quickly. "United We Stand" is a cute catch phrase, but when it comes to things like trash disposal, "United We Stand" quickly turns into "I don't care who has to live next door to the dump as long as it is not me".

Again, the DVDs that will end up in the trash won't make a big difference by themselves, but they are part of the "convenience" movement that gives the public a false perception of reality and makes it increasingly more difficult to convince people that environmentally responsible behavior is necessary. And that stands in direct contradiction to Disney's whole "Environmentality" concept.