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DVD Talk Covers, Cases & Inserts Talk about DVD Cover Art, DVD Cases and DVD INSERTS

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Old 09-18-14, 11:52 AM   #1
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Slimline cases leaving residue on discs

I realize I may be years late to this discussion, but I recently discovered the problem of slimline cases (commonly used for TV season sets) leaving oily, splotchy, cloudy, milky, sometimes sticky residue on discs. I ran across a mention of it recently and found a lot of discussion from 2007-2009 that I was unaware of (search for "Scanovo" cases). But I haven't found much recent discussion about the problem.

I have hundreds of discs in these cases, many that were still in shrinkwrap. Upon inspection, many showed this problem. Seasons of Seinfeld, X-Files, Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Bewitched, Dream of Jeannie, Lost in Space, etc., all were affected. The older the set (many were from 2002-05), the worse the problem. And it wasn't limited to Scanovo cases.

I found some discs totally covered with splotches. On some, I could see spots on the plastic case that matched the spot on the disc. It's obvious that any part of the disc that touches the case is at risk.

Some discs were slightly sticky when I tried to clean them. On a few with one or two small spots, I was able to clean them off entirely, but these were few and far between. I tested a few and they still seem to play OK.

I've been a serious collector for 15 years and can't believe I hadn't heard more about this. At one point, I was considering moving thousands of DVDs to slimline cases to save space. Now I'm considering removing every disc I have in a slimline case.

Does anybody know more about this, including playback problems, cleaning methods, replacement programs by studios, etc.?
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Old 09-19-14, 04:00 AM   #2
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Re: Slimline cases leaving residue on discs

Do you have any unusual environmental conditions? Like too hot or cold or other storage issues. I haven't seen this in as much product as you. I have only seen it in the Paramount tv sets thus far.
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Old 09-19-14, 09:03 AM   #3
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Re: Slimline cases leaving residue on discs

No unusual conditions. I live in a mild climate in an air-conditioned home, where the temp is always 70-76 degrees.

I inspected more slim cases yesterday and found similar results. Back in 2008, I moved some large sets that came in unusual packaging (such as the 10-disc Matrix set with the Neo statue, the 14-disc Ultimate Superman Collection) to clear 2-disc slimline cases (purchased at Staples). Both of those sets showed small oil spots/splotches after just six years.
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Old 09-19-14, 09:37 AM   #4
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Re: Slimline cases leaving residue on discs

I posted about this in the past but never received much interest to further the discussion.

I've found it to be primarily with slim cases and even regular cases that can hold 4 to 6 disks. It also seemed to be related to the shiny cases with potential residue on the inside that can be noted when rubbing it with your fingers. As a result, TV series have the most likelihood of displaying the issue.

I have some 300+ different TV series in my collection, and i would estimate some 20%-30% showing some signs of potential issues that could result down the road, but i haven't had any go bad as of yet.

The set that first got my attention was "Leave it to Beaver". I noticed a bit of "cloudiness" on a few disks. Some I could wipe clean and others not. I found that even a disk that looked fine, if you fogged up the surface you could see a pattern of blotches. Some times the blotches were random, other times resembling fingerprints, and in a few cases patterns from the case itself. Another interesting factor was that the first and last disk were more affected then the middle disks. The middle disks were on trays while the outer disks were attached to the overall case itself. These were easy to clean with water and a damp cloth. As a result, I've been working through my entire collection cleaning disks.

My own theory is that disks can have residue from the manufacturing process. this by itself i don't think is a problem. However, I think out-gassing from these types of cases and the close proximity of the disks to the case causes a reaction that creates blotches over time. Early on the residue and blotches can be removed, at some point it may require buffing. I've heard of some cases where people have had the disk be completely cloudy and no longer playable.

Again, when inspecting disks, even if you can't see anything upon initial visual inspection, i recommend trying to fog up the disk. In 20% to 30% of the time, most notably from "slick" cases where disks are tight to the case, I have found a residue not otherwise visible. With a little care the residue can easily be removed with water and a damp cloth.

I can't prove anything, but my take is that I bought my collection to last a long time. So a little preventative care, whether required or not, is worth it to be safe.
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Old 09-19-14, 12:33 PM   #5
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Re: Slimline cases leaving residue on discs

I don't think I have ever seen this in person. Will have to check. The vast majority of my collection is in thinpaks.
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Old 09-19-14, 06:32 PM   #6
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Re: Slimline cases leaving residue on discs

Clear cases only, or does apply to black/gray cases, too?
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Old 09-19-14, 07:33 PM   #7
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Re: Slimline cases leaving residue on discs

I just did a sample of my DVD collection and found a few like this.

Dexter Season 3, bought new in 2009 or so. These Discs came in clear slim double cases and had some very noticeable blotches.

Seinfeld volume 1. Bought about ten years ago when first released. Discs looked mostly good, though breath on the playing surface would reveal some irregular patterns. These were in clear single slim cases.

Alias season three, bought in 2009, stored in a slim (14mm) clear six disc case. Discs looked mostly good, though breath fog would reveal a pattern. Strange thing about this one was that there were small circles visible in the fog that weren't irregular... Small, perfect circles of about 3-4mm, spaced at regular intervals. These were not random, and seemed to follow a machined pattern, though nothing that was visible on the case.

I attempted to clean the blotches from my Dexter DVDs using isopropyl alcohol. This seemed to remove the blotches completely. I'll check the discs in a week or so and see if they've returned.

These were visual inspections only; I did not attempt to play any of them.
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Old 09-19-14, 08:32 PM   #8
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Re: Slimline cases leaving residue on discs

I had one once that revealed a pattern similar to broad spokes on a wagon wheel. Then I noticed it was in one of those eco-friendly cases and the pattern matched the case design.

I've found it in black cases as well, but usually only the shiny black cases. When i noticed a film on the inside of the case I will also wipe down the case with soap and water.
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Old 09-24-14, 12:28 AM   #9
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Re: Slimline cases leaving residue on discs

I think the major flaw with the case of DVD is that it is a very finicky medium, with so much data crammed onto such a fragile element, and the data needing to be converted fairly flawlessly in order to work correctly. There are online debates about what may be actually causing this issue. Some collectors believe the Scanavo slimline cases commonly used for TV series releases are the culprit while others believe it's poor quality control issues with regard to disk pressing/manufacturing. The foggy or cloudy like substance commonly reported seems like it could be oxidization of badly pressed disks. More studios seem to be outsourcing manufacturing of DVDs to third world country factories where, more often than not, they are packaged by hand. The dreaded DVD-18's that Universal favored for all of their TV releases (Made in Mexico stamped on the boxes) had many of these issues. I have collected many TV series that are Sony, Paramount, Fox and Universal releases stored in Scanavo cases which haven't even been opened yet and I'm dreading the possibility of finding the majority of the discs purchased suffer from this. It's a bit distressing to have invested a serious amount of cash building a DVD collection only to discover a significant percentage of it may be compromised due to poor manufacturing.
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Old 09-24-14, 01:40 AM   #10
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Re: Slimline cases leaving residue on discs

I believe it's tied to poor quality control. The American studios went hunting for cheaper and cheaper DVD manufacturers, eventually moving a lot of production to Mexico. I've never once had a problem of this nature with merchandise from Japan.

The two worst areas for CD manufacturing? South America and Australia.
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Old 09-25-14, 04:48 PM   #11
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Re: Slimline cases leaving residue on discs

I've had ugly, splotchy, oily-looking residue left on a bunch of DVD's that I had stored in one of those CD carry cases.
The discs played fine but the stains were bad and couldn't be removed.
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