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Comments

Hunter McDaniel

Leaving aside those which could be played after a quick cleaning, I have only had a very few scratched discs from Netflix - less than 1%, and no change in the past year.

I doubt that NF has any kind of mandatory retirement age for discs - a damaging scratch can be made just as eaily by the first renter as by the 50th. I do hope that customer damage reports have an influence, though.

As far as testing discs goes, that's a hard problem. First, how much time and labor is is it worth to invest in a $20 piece of inventory? Second, automated testing is difficult; with many discs having ARCCOS protection, encountering a read error does not mean the disc is bad.

archieleach

I received a copy of Prime Suspect 1, Disc 2 last Thursday that was split completely in half along a radius. I marked the play side of the disc with a Sharpie pointing to the split on either side of the split...hopefully, that one won't go out into circulation again.

The replacement disc I received two days later looked new.

It made me wonder about people who have this happen in spurts like Jeff. At what point does the customer's return on investment begin to suffer significantly with the additional ship time of the replacement discs. Has anyone complained to Netflix with the expectation of credit/extra discs?

Old Timer Too

Netflix? Give credit or extra discs? That never happened to me when I was with them (now over a year ago). About a third of the discs had problems out of the envelope. After cleaning, a very small percentage still had playing problems.

Discs damaged through the mail is not all that unusual and I received cracked and shattered discs from both services. BB and NF were always quick in sending out a replacement. Only BB would provide an e-coupon if I complained about receiving the same disc in an unplayable bad condition.

Likewise, some discs are unplayable from the manufacturer with a dimple in the plastic being the most common cause.

One thing - I've always included a sticky note on the sleeve indicating the disc was bad or unplayable.

I've seen reports here that say that NF is now providing credit under certain conditions, which is new in my experience with them.

Old Timer Too

I should add that only a small percentage of discs from BB have had to be cleaned - in almost every case, it was a flipper disc and there was a ring around the perimeter that was likely laid down by one or more dirty players.

Interestingly enough, the side that needed cleaning was always the widescreen side, indicating the dirty players belong to folks who like to view only the full screen versions...

machinegunn

I'm the same as Hunter: only a few discs (3 tops, after nearly a year) that wouldn't play after some window cleaner and a paper towel. I have an old Toshiba DVD player, for what that's worth.

zaner

Old Timer Too, your post reminded me of something that happened about 8 months ago. I received a movie (forgot which one) and when I opened the envelope and removed the disk, to my surprise it had a sticky note - not on the sleeve but on the front of the disk - with the handwritten message "disk is scratched - won't play." It indeed was not playable. I can only guess that any human coming into contact with the disk only viewed the back of the disk, or was not in the frame of mind to take any action. By all but the most lax standards, this is no way to handle the disk checking process.

Account Deleted

I've had a few scratched discs from NetFlix as well. Not too many, but a few. After cleaning most of them, they worked okay again.

But very interesting to note: I've noticed that different DVD players are much more sensitive to scratched discs than others. I had an old Panasonic DVD player that would choke ALL THE TIME on scratched DVD's... but then I replaced it with a brand new Sony DVD player and it played the VERY SAME DVD's without problems.

Also, my DVD player in my Apple MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo rarely has any problems playing scratched discs.

I guess a lot of it depends on the DVD player.

CJ

My experience with NF has been virtually no scratched discs, maybe 1 in a 100, and very few I had to clean first to play (I use good old Windex window cleaner). I read somewhere NF actually makes an effort to inspect the play side of disc.

My experience with BB has been much worse - more on the order of 5 to 10 per 100.

I always stick a 2" X 2" brightly colored Posit-it note on the sleeve when returning if the disc is scratched or broken.

Easyenough

As Scotty321 states, being scratched is not an objective state. There is no test. There is flawless and then a long long range where the dvd player matters much much more than the dvd itself.

I have a pd tower with an 6 year old dvd reader and a 5 month old reader and the 6 year old reader consistently has flawless playback of disks the newer reader can't spin at all.

Netflix probably shouldn't get rid of every DVD reported unplayable - just those that are unplayable for most subscribers.

JebNY

I have been a member of Netflix since August of 2005 when Blockbuster ran our small independent video store out of business (did get some good movies in his going out of business sale). I average between 10-12 disks per month. I have had one cracked disk all the rest played fine scratched or not. The cracked movie, just a week or so back, "Just My Luck", thought that was appropriate. Marked the disk as damaged online and they sent me a replacement the next day. Sent the cracked one back with the mangled envelope with post office apologies on it.

Jeb...

hueristix

The DVD player DOES matter, I like Pioneers because they play almost anything.

I have gotten a few cracked discs out of 100s; which are always replaced quickly, usually next day. I don't think "credit" is justified if you mean getting 4 out when you paid for 3.

It must be frustrating for Netflix- if everyone were like me the discs would last for years. I think some fools are using them as coasters- and props for flickr...

Matt

I used to work at a Blockbuster store and the policy was to mark any disc that a customer claimed damaged. If the disc came back damaged again, we processed it as defective. So watch out for stickers on the sides of your in-store Blockbuster DVDs.

momoovees

I rented Clerks Animated disc 1 and got "Clerks" the movie (sent from a DC that took 4 days)! I returned it for a replacement and received Clerks animated disc 1, but it was scratched and had a bent spot on the disc. I returned that as damaged, and so fed up that I am now renting it from BBO instead.

I've also noticed that the last two times BBO has actually mailed my next movies the day after I returned 4 to the store! And I see less throttling on BBO, even though I really maximize the amount of movies I rent from them!

hawk5391

"I guess a lot of it depends on the DVD player."

I agree. I got a lot of "unplayable" discs from BB a few years ago, but when I upgraded my DVD player suddenly I had very few problems. The only DVD I got from Netflix that skipped was "Swimming Upstream," which wasn't all that great anyway.

Hunter McDaniel

I would really like to get a DVD player which was optimized form rental discs, since that's almost all I watch. Ideally such a player might
(a) have a large memory buffer, enough to read ahead for one to two minutes.
(b) logic to stop retrying errors when the readahead buffer gets down to 15 seconds or so
(c) logic to retry reads in long blocks rather than a sector at a time.
(d) logic to blast through error-prone sections with stutters rather than skips.

Laddy

In three years with either NF or BB and sometimes both at the same time, I've had 2 broken disks from NF and 1 scratched unplayable from BB. I've had to clean some older titles from both before I could get them to play.

I have more problems with disks being shipped to me that don't arrive when they should. I generally get 1 day service so when one doesn't arrive I can pretty much bank on not getting it for a week or more if at all. Lately when one goes missing it never seems to show up until the DC reports it as returned even though I never received it. I don't know if the PO is delivering to a wrong address and the people there are watching it and returning or if it just got caught up in the wrong mailbag and sent to Timbuktu. When three are sent out and you get two of them, one has to wonder where the third went. I've had a BB one missing for a week now. I reported it on Monday and I still don't have the replacement. In the meantime I exchanged the two I had to the local BB store on Tuesday and received 2 more in the mail today. The replacement for the missing DVD is still nowhere to be found though.

igj

I was recently renting some season of The Gilmore Girls and disc after disc was scratched and would freeze. I have a sort of persnickety DVD player, but never anything like this problem. Something like 4 discs in a row were scratched and 2 were just unplayable. I guess I was renting them after someone destructive to DVDs rented their way through the same season. I finally just gave up and rented the remainder of the discs from the video place. But that really is the only truly bad experience I've had with NF and damaged discs - except for one completely shattered disc, but that damage was clearly done during the mailing process.

Puc

About 1 out of every 2 I get can't be played by any DVD. This is a recent occurrence that has only happened over the past 2 months. It even ranges from often-rented dvds to rare ones.

type-cast

"automated testing is difficult; with many discs having ARCCOS protection, encountering a read error does not mean the disc is bad."

I test funky looking DVDs by loading them in DVD Shrink. It takes about 30sec to scan and AnyDVD removes ARccOS. This quickly tells me if a disc is bad. Someone could build a fast and reliable automated check that would take 30sec. Avoiding copy protection's easy. Just integrate RipIt4Me to flag bad sectors.

type-cast

"Likewise, some discs are unplayable from the manufacturer with a dimple in the plastic being the most common cause."

Yeah, I've gotten a lot of discs that looked brand new, but had a tiny dimple in the disc surface. Most likely, a production defect. I realized they couldn't be played by checking them with DVD Shrink. They fail to load. MGM and Disney discs often have this problem. It seems they use inferior production methods.

Hunter McDaniel

type-cast - I'm not sure exactly what the initial scan in DVD Shrink reads but it is nowhere near the entire disk - maybe just the IFOs and the first frame in each VOBU. I'm sure lots of discs might have bad sections this would not detect.

Plus you and I may thumb our nose at the DMCA, but that's not a risk Netflix can afford to take by incorporating DVDShrink or AnyDVD into their process.

type-cast

"I would really like to get a DVD player which was optimized form rental discs, since that's almost all I watch."

It's called a computer DVD burner from BenQ, Plextor, LG, or Pioneer. They will read DVDs better than any set-top player, period. It's unacceptable to me for the movie to stuttter or be interpolated. I want 1:1 playback. Set top players that supposedly handle errors do nothing but ignore errors or create them.

"Ideally such a player might
(a) have a large memory buffer, enough to read ahead for one to two minutes."

Denons have the largest buffer, but they are insanely expensive for the 8 MB buffer ones. The 2 MB buffer Denons are the same as every burner on the market. There is also software that will read ahead and cache data from DVD drives.

"(c) logic to retry reads in long blocks rather than a sector at a time."

Why would that be a good idea? It would just waste time and let the cache run out faster.

"(d) logic to blast through error-prone sections with stutters rather than skips."

Having "blast through" errors introduces new errors, either by guessing or giving up. I'd rather rip the disc and have it play smooth. Either a sector is readable, or it isn't. If the disc can't be read, I report it damaged.

type-cast

"type-cast - I'm not sure exactly what the initial scan in DVD Shrink reads but it is nowhere near the entire disk - maybe just the IFOs and the first frame in each VOBU. I'm sure lots of discs might have bad sections this would not detect."

It probably reads every 20th or 30th frame. I have found that it's very good at showing which discs will have trouble being played. I'm not satisfied with players that skip or stutter over scratched sectors. I want them to read back perfectly. I wipe off discs if they look dirty. If Shrink fails to load, I wash them. If it fails again, I try ripping them with Decrypter set to retry 50x.

"Plus you and I may thumb our nose at the DMCA, but that's not a risk Netflix can afford to take by incorporating DVDShrink or AnyDVD into their process."

How would anybody find out they were doing anything? Plus, I doubt it would be illegal to just test if the discs can be read. They don't even need to circumvent the DMCA. All they need to do is have a player that tests one frame out of every second or something.

fenix0505

just the other day i got disc 1, series 1 of the office (uk version) and it looked like whoever had it last took a crayon to the bottom of the disc. there were green markings all over the bottom and was definitely not playable.

Rusty

I Netflixed *Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny* and the disc was scratched, so I reported it and returned it. When I got the replacement, I checked the back and recognized the scratchings: it was the exact same disc! I wrote Netflix and told them about it and they gave me a "bonus" disc (a button at the top of my queue that I click when I want them to send one in addition to the ones I'm paying for).

jimofoz

I rarely get a disk in a damaged state of any kind. However, just this week "The Nazis: A Warning from History: Disc 2" came in practically mashed and definitely unplayable. But as usual, Netflix replaced it very quickly.

macdude22

I've found that if you live in rural areas you'll get more broken disks. Having lived in a more urban area and rural areas there are consistantly more broken disks in the rural deliverys. Luckly Netflix lets me click and say broken and they send a new one lickty split, fine with me for as cheap as they are. I harrassed a couple postal workers I know for some answers to this(one urban one not). It seems that the rural carriers wrap their deliveries in rubber bands and this tends to snap the disks sometimes(exact words "Sometimes I hear a CRACK when I snap on the band, oh well). In the urban areas they don't wrap individuals mail with rubber bands. Other than broken disks I rarely have any disks that wont play, usually some eyeglass cleaner fixes any issues and for the real scraggelers I keep a bottle of WipeOut CD repair just in case.

georgeq

I have been with netflix for several years now and in that time have rented close to 600 DVDs from them. There was a brief period a couple of years ago where three DVDs came not just scratched but broken. Basically snapped in half. One recently came shattered in about a dozen pieces-- and two others I'd received which were too scratched to play. But that is it

sbarkto

I've been with Netflix a little over a year. If my memory serves me, I have received one cracked disc during that period. Some of the discs were quite worn, but they did play (in a computer DVD drive). I have had much worse luck with the local rental places.

Rueben

I rented up some netflax movei and then they was scratch. This is a load of crap if I pay for it than they should play each and ever time or netflix should have to pay me a penalty.

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