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DVD Rot - it's out there!!!

DVD Rot - it's out there!!!

 
Old 05-22-03, 06:03 PM
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DVD Rot - it's out there!!!

It would seem that the problem of so-called "DVD Rot" is bigger than we have been led to believe. I am resident in the UK and have just found my fourth case of the problem in the last year.

In 2002, MGM did a major recall on all Region 2 Terminator and Silence of the Lambs Special Edition releases as they had received large numbers of complaints about a "milky film" or "condensation" on the playing surface of the discs. These are the symptoms of the afore-mentioned "DVD Rot". Both of my copies exhibited these signs and were replaced via a mail-in system. I believe it has something to do with the deterioration of the glue that they use to sandwich the discs together, but I have yet to hear a definitive explanation.

Today I was watching my Region 2 Pathe release of Sleepy Hollow, and when one of the chapters froze up, I decided to examine the disc. Guess what I found? Yes that's right - a milky film covering roughly a third of the playing surface. Upon further investigation of my other Pathe releases, I found that my copy of Essex Boys was completely ruined, with the entire playing surface affected.

So, my point is this - Do the film companies acknowledge that this is a problem and are they taking steps to remedy the situation, or are they merely happy to sit back and watch the poor consumer suffer when six months or a year down the line they decide to watch a movie, only to find that it won't play any more, forcing them to shell out yet more cash to replace it? I think that we need to know why the problem occurs, what are the chances of getting a bad disc and what we can do about it if we are unfortunate enough to get one?
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Old 05-22-03, 06:13 PM
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Do the film companies acknowledge that this is a problem and are they taking steps to remedy the situation, or are they merely happy to sit back and watch?
You answered your own question. MGM replaced Terminator and SOTL for you.
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Old 05-22-03, 06:23 PM
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Perhaps I worded that question badly. What I meant was are the studios looking into the problem to ensure that DVD rot will not occur in the future, rather than just swopping the infected discs?

Also, bear in mind that MGM only gave in and replaced the faulty discs due to a huge outcry from the thousands of consumers affected by the problem. If the problem with my discs does not prove to be so widespread, then what comeback do I have?
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Old 05-22-03, 06:24 PM
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I have 215 DVDs and I have yet to one of them have DVD rot.

I think some "DVD Makers" have done some subpar work which could cause some DVD to have "DVD rot".

But, that has been said on many other threads over the years.
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Old 05-22-03, 06:30 PM
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People seem to call all poorly manufactured discs "DVD rot", when in fact it's just that: A poorly manufactured disc.

All the discs I've had problems with had problems right out of the package. They were busted from the word go. If you've had a disc a year and it still works, it will last for decades
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Old 05-22-03, 06:33 PM
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That is probably true, but the two discs that I have just found problems with are about 2 years old now and were perfectly fine when I bought them. Therefore, something has happened to them during that time.
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Old 05-22-03, 06:34 PM
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Try another player.

Or you did something to them or stored them improperly in your damp english attic or something.

There's no such thing as DVD Rot (ie no festering, slowly developing problem lurking on a disc that will get worse as time goes by).
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Old 05-22-03, 06:41 PM
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What difference will trying another player make? It may well play the disc, but it doesn't change the fact that the condition of the disc has clearly deteriorated over time.

I was most amused by your exceptionally witty repost regarding the conditions of my English abode, but it hardly displays a sensible attitude on the subject does it? Just because you've been fortunate enough not to experience DVD rot with any of your discs, doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. If it doesn't exist, then why did MGM recall thousands of discs last year?
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Old 05-22-03, 06:42 PM
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Because of a manufacturing defect.

When they recall a car they don't call it CarRot.
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Old 05-22-03, 06:47 PM
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But the problem did not manifest itself until the discs had been out for over a year. I am quite happy to accept that the "rot" is a symptom of poor manufacturing (such as the glue problem that I mentioned earlier), but the problem was most definitely not evident when the discs were first pressed. I always check my discs when I buy them, and had such a problem been apparent immediately, then I would have taken them straight back to the store, Therefore, I believe that faults in the manufacture of discs CAN manifest themselves over time, leading to DVD rot.
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Old 05-22-03, 06:55 PM
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Like I said: If you've had a disc a year and it still works, it will last for decades

If it doesn't show up in the first year, it won't show up for a long time (ie. longer than my oldest disc which is 5 years old). Be happy studios are so cool with replacements. I remember criterion refusing to replace laserdiscs, now they replace DVDs all the time.
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Old 05-22-03, 06:55 PM
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According to this article at the Sydney Morning Herald, what is referred to as DVD rot actually appears to be corrosion. Though, the statistics provided by the SMH do appear to be slightly off.

Although this site that I ran across several weeks ago appears to be down, it has some more in-depth information on DVD rot and delamination that is written by a guy named Rohan Byrnes. He also has access to an optical microscope and took a number of pictures of it occurring on DVDs.

Here is the Google cache for those interested in just the text without pictures.

Last edited by muggins; 05-22-03 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 05-22-03, 07:06 PM
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Thanks - I was beginning to think that I was the only one who believed this problem was real. It would appear that DVDs really can corrode over time and that it is still largely unkown as to why this happens.
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Old 05-22-03, 07:52 PM
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I have 600 laserdiscs and laser-rot was a definite issue with a lot of discs (particularly from Columbia, Image, Disney and Fox), but I have over 1200 DVD's and I have yet had a problem with any of them. Maybe I'm just not watching the right ones.
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Old 05-22-03, 08:17 PM
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Originally posted by Timemeddler
That is probably true, but the two discs that I have just found problems with are about 2 years old now and were perfectly fine when I bought them. Therefore, something has happened to them during that time.
I had Kentucky Fried Movie over a year before I found it had rotted. Played fine when I first played it but I didn't keep checking it until I heard there was a problem with it.
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Old 05-22-03, 08:52 PM
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Those articles linked above are a joke. It's amazing that people swallow these sort of alarmist reports that are really based on nothing. That guy with the microscope who was supposedly supplying the evidence for both those articles didn't really show any evidence of anything. He only took pictures of discs after he had problems with them, so how does that prove that those spots he photographed had anything to do with it? Cool pictures, but they're meaningless.

And why do people keep talking about "glue separation"? DVDs aren't even bonded with glue. I think people are remembering the glue problems with laserdiscs and assuming that the same thing can happen with DVDs. Then the article claims that rot is caused by poorly designed cases? Where do they come up with this stuff? There's so much wrong information in just a couple of paragraphs that it's unbelievable that any editor let that article through in the first place. I love how the biggest evidence they came up with was that rental stores often complain about discs that stop playing after 3 or 4 rentals. Uh, it couldn't have something to do with the fact that renters don't know how to take care of the discs, could it?

Yes, people get defective discs all the time, but why does there always have to be this frenzy of misinformation about "disc rot"? There's no glue, and the "coffee stain" that you see on some discs has absolutely nothing to do with any defects that you find. But I guess nobody will ever believe that, since the wrong information keeps getting repeated endlessly. I wish somebody who worked for a DVD replicator and actually knew what they were talking about would come forward and finally put all this rotting glue nonsense to bed.

Last edited by Sartana; 05-23-03 at 01:01 AM.
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Old 05-22-03, 09:17 PM
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Originally posted by Pants
If you've had a disc a year and it still works, it will last for decades
holy Christ, this is what you believe? what are they doing...putting denial in a bottle now, for people to drink? I applaud your faith man, I really do. but if everyone adopts this attitude, nothing will ever be done about the problem. even if someone only half thinks that there might be a problem, they should still be concerned and demand that something be done. not doing so may cause the whole collection to go down the drain, for everybody. and no, nobody is going to replace all those juicy oop discs.

fine, it's not a huge problem yet. fine, it's not rot or the glue. fine, some people have 2,000 dvds and no problems...like they watch those discs all the way through on a regular basis. but idiots at the pressing plants are doing something wrong and dont know it, or know it and are keeping thier mouths shut, afraid that a gang of pissed off consumers may firebomb the local "born to be bad" plant.

btw, I hope to God you are right. please, let me be wrong. and thats just my monthly rant about poorly manufactured discs....as you guys say...just my 2 cents. but someone needs to get fired up and start a task force through investigation. I still adore my dvds and keep buying them at a rapid pace. I have faith there is still time to find the problem or at least narrow it down. once again, not being able to back up films is a true nightmare.
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Old 05-22-03, 09:51 PM
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Originally posted by Sartana
...There's no friggin' corrosive glue, and the friggin' "coffee stain" that you see on some discs has absolutely nothing to do with any defects that you find. But I guess nobody will ever believe that, since the wrong information keeps getting repeated endlessly. I wish somebody who worked for a DVD replicator and actually knew what they were talking about would come forward and finally put all this rotting glue nonsense to bed.
DVD rot just sounds more catchy than saying "manufacturing defect that manifests itself over time". Either way, regardless of what you call it, there is definitely some sort of problem.

I have a couple of discs that exhibit this "coffee stain" that is often attributed to DVD rot. One of them now gets totally pixelated from around the time of the layer change onward (but unfortunately, it is a Hong Kong Legends release from the UK, so I don't think there's any way that they'll replace it for me, since I'm in the US). Can you shed some light on what the coffee stain is (note: because typed words can be misinterpreted, I just want to make it clear that I'm not challenging you, I would simply like to know more about it)?

Also, I have another more general question. Is there any type of warranty on DVDs that manufacturers must provide? If so, how long is it? Generally, one of the biggest sales pitches for DVDs when they came out, was that they're supposed to last for a long, long time, unlike VHS tapes.

Last edited by spyzdope; 05-22-03 at 09:54 PM.
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Old 05-22-03, 09:56 PM
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750 DVDs and only the defective Anchor Bay ones like Opera and Kentucky Fried Movie have every given me a problem.

The Anchor Bay discs were faulty the day they left the factory so you can't include them in the DVD rot catagory.

Personally this whole thing is a non issue to me. I seriously doubt anything but improperly manufactured discs will ever experience any problems. All my discs from 1998 all still work perfectly.

If I have to replace a small number of them 10-20 years down the road I'll just deal with it. I've replaced a lot of them anyway when a better version comes out.

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Old 05-22-03, 10:00 PM
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Originally posted by spyzdope
DVD rot just sounds more catchy than saying "manufacturing defect that manifests itself over time". Either way, regardless of what you call it, there is definitely some sort of problem.

I have a couple of discs that exhibit this "coffee stain" that is often attributed to DVD rot. One of them now gets totally pixelated from around the time of the layer change onward (but unfortunately, it is a Hong Kong Legends release from the UK, so I don't think there's any way that they'll replace it for me, since I'm in the US). Can you shed some light on what the coffee stain is (note: because typed words can be misinterpreted, I just want to make it clear that I'm not challenging you, I would simply like to know more about it)?
I agree that there are problems. What I don't agree with is all the technical misinformation that gets tossed around when we start trying to explain those problems. I tried to dig up an old post here that had a link to a great article on the "coffee stain" thing, but I couldn't find it. Hopefully somebody else will find it in a search, but the gist of the article was that "coffee stains" are a defect in the manufacturing process of DVDs and CDs, but that these cloudy patterns aren't enough to obscure the player's laser to the point where the disc will skip, pixelate or stop playing. Basically, the coffee stain isn't a good thing, but it also isn't the cause of the problem, and it certainly isn't an indication that your DVD or CD is deteriorating.
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Old 05-22-03, 11:49 PM
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I'm not so sure I buy the "DVDs layers aren't held together with glue" theory. I have a number of new DVDs, never played, that have some light separation of the layers near the hole. You can see how the "glue", adhesive, or whetever bonding agent was used, didn't hold or wasn't applied fully. It doesn't seem to affect playback so I'm not complaining or attempting to take action but I think it's safe to say that at least some (if not all) DVDs are made from layers of material that are bonded somehow, and its the bonding material that is at question herein.

-Gunshy
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Old 05-23-03, 12:15 AM
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Couple of things here....

1) All DVDs, regardless of whether they're single-sided, double-sided, or double-layered, are made essentially the same way: two "platters" are bonded together. They physically differ from CDs in that respect.

2) Discoloration on the playing sides of DVDs is only a cosmetic issue. It doesn't necessarily effect play nor is it necessarily indicitive of rot, though it is possible if a disc were to "rot" that it might discolor in some fashion. If you examine all of your DVDs, you'll find that most of them probably have some kind of discoloration to varying degrees. I have CDs that look like this, though it seems more common in DVDs.

3) "Rot" isn't a bad term to use. It implies a gradual decompostion that occurs over time. Meaning, the DVD played fine when you got it, but quit playing months or years later. "Manufacturing defect that manifests over time" may be more politically correct, but rot is a good catchall term, and an apparent holdover from laserdisc days. It's also used to describe the degradation of recordable media. Can we stop having this discussion every time someone brings up "DVD rot?"
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Old 05-23-03, 12:28 AM
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Originally posted by Gunshy
I'm not so sure I buy the "DVDs layers aren't held together with glue" theory. I have a number of new DVDs, never played, that have some light separation of the layers near the hole. You can see how the "glue", adhesive, or whetever bonding agent was used, didn't hold or wasn't applied fully. It doesn't seem to affect playback so I'm not complaining or attempting to take action but I think it's safe to say that at least some (if not all) DVDs are made from layers of material that are bonded somehow, and its the bonding material that is at question herein.
It's not a "theory" that DVD layers aren't held together with glue. It's just a fact that they aren't. There's plenty enough technical information available on the net if you want to verify this yourself. The bonding of the layers involves a chemical lacquer or resin that is cured with UV light. As laserdisc was in its dying days there were early experiments with carrying over the hot-melt glue bonding process, but I don't think that lasted very long. WAMO (a company notorious from the laser rot days) may have had a few releases that were hot-melted, but even they switched to lacquer early on. Glue melts, lacquer doesn't.

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Old 05-23-03, 12:35 AM
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Originally posted by Josh-da-man
"Rot" isn't a bad term to use. It implies a gradual decompostion that occurs over time. Meaning, the DVD played fine when you got it, but quit playing months or years later. "Manufacturing defect that manifests over time" may be more politically correct, but rot is a good catchall term, and an apparent holdover from laserdisc days. It's also used to describe the degradation of recordable media. Can we stop having this discussion every time someone brings up "DVD rot?"
I think it is a bad term to use, because it sends people in a panic over the possibility that their collections will one day become unplayable. And as soon as someone mentions "rot" we get all kinds of unfounded claims about "coffee-staining" and "melting glue". It would just be nice if people could avoid using alarmist and inaccurate jargon to describe these problems. The B.S. just starts to spread like wildfire and pretty soon it's taken as fact.

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Old 05-23-03, 12:39 AM
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I've been telling people forever that with dual layer discs this is what would happen. It just isnt smart to glue two layers together. Only bad things can happen.
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