Update: I've been thinking about this, and since there are more than 1 million Blu-ray renters from Netflix, if there was a big problem with cracked discs I would be getting a lot of complaints.
Here's a quick survey for Blu-ray renters:
Wired reports that Netflix users are reporting an "alarming" number of cracked Blu-ray discs.
"Over the last two months, we've had probably four to six Blu-ray discs in a row arrive with small cracks at the edge of the disc that render it unplayable," says Pete Brown, whose wife has been a Netflix subscriber for three years.
Blu-ray discs differ from standard-definition discs in the way they are produced and how they store data. Standard definition DVDs are two clear polycarbonate discs, each 0.6mm thick, sandwiched together with the data recorded on a very thin metal substrate in between, explains Adrienne Downey, senior analyst at research firm Semico.
Blu-ray is a single 1.1mm polycarbonate disc that has the data encoded at the top. Blu-ray discs have a 0.1 mm coating on top of the data layer to protect it from getting scratched. Because the coating is much thinner than the 0.6mm sandwich used in DVDs, it could be more vulnerable to scratches and cracks.
"The coating is supposed to protect the discs but it could also be making them more brittle," says Downey. "Ultimately Blu-ray is a new technology and they are still working the kinks out of it." Downey says it will be another year or two before the whole Blu-ray ecosystem is entirely problem-free.
Have you received a cracked Blu-ray disc from Netflix?
Thanks to Jim for sending this in.