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ez-D : Disposable DVD's

Old 05-17-04, 11:47 AM
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ez-D : Disposable DVD's

Came across this in the local paper this morning. Did a quick search and didn't see it posted yet.

This movie will self-destruct
Disposable DVDs seek to win over fee-wary former renters

By Chris Walsh, Rocky Mountain News
May 17, 2004

A hot dog, several gallons of gas, a cherry Slurpee . . . and a two-day rental of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

Add DVDs to the list of products available at convenience stores and gas stations such as 7-Eleven.

But these aren't just any ordinary DVDs.

A New York company called Flexplay Technologies Inc. and Disney's Buena Vista Home Entertainment have chosen Denver as one of four new test markets for "disposable" DVDs.

Called ez-Ds, the DVDs work in any standard player for 48 hours after being opened. The countdown begins once air hits the discs, which then turn from red to black over a two-day period.

Consumers can watch the films as many times as they want during that time. But once black, DVD lasers can't read the discs.

The benefit: no return trip to the movie rental stores, no membership required and - best of all - no dreaded late fees.

"You basically never have to worry about returning the movies," said Dan Silverberg, director of new business development at Buena Vista Home Entertainment, a subsidiary of Disney. "And the 48-hour window doesn't begin until you open the package, so you don't have to watch the movie right away like you have to with a rental."

Flexplay has lofty goals for the technology. The company sees a viable market through pizza chains, whereby consumers could order food and a movie.

"In 2008 the DVD marketplace is projected to be at $30 billion," said Alan Blaustein, Flexplay's chief executive officer. "I think we can garner a fair share of that."

Ez-Ds already have been tested in several markets, such as Peoria, Ill.; Charleston, S.C.; and Austin, Texas. Consumer response has been strong, so now the company is testing it in other markets, Silverberg said.

The target market: consumers who stopped renting movies because of late fees or the hassles involved in returning DVDs to the store.

"We're marketing to a group of people who for one reason or another stopped renting," Silverberg said. "We think this really is a great opportunity to pull that lapsed renter back in."

Convenience stores can carry 32 titles and up, primarily new releases ranging from Pirates of the Caribbean and Cold Creek Manor to Chicago and Signs. More than 50 titles have been released on ez-Ds so far. The movies sell for about $5 to $6 each.

Currently, Flexplay - founded by two entrepreneurs who were fed up with late fees - has a deal with Buena Vista, which distributes movies for Walt Disney, Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax and Dimension.

Flexplay hopes to cement deals with other distributors to broaden its selection.

Why Denver as a test market?

Local retailers were eager to offer the product, and the city ranks high nationally in DVD rentals and sales, Silverberg said.

"Our plan is to gather data here and then take it out nationally," Silverberg said.

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Old 05-17-04, 11:56 AM
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Did they think about the environmental consequences of creating throw-away discs? Don't we have enough plastics in landfills as it is (i.e. AOL discs)?

I think netflix is a much better alternative.
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Old 05-17-04, 11:57 AM
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Was launched as well in Europe recently. AFAIK some copies are not playable and already "rotten" in the sealed package (due to handling problem I guess).

How do you return them then ?
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Old 05-17-04, 12:04 PM
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The worst idea since DIVX. What's the purpose of this anyway? Who are the ad wizards that came up with this one?
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Old 05-17-04, 12:17 PM
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We have had these in Austin, TX for about the last year. They have them at all the corner stores, grocery stores and pizza place like pap johns you can get with your delivered pizza. I have never bought one but I always look at the rack the stores have it usually carrys about 8 different titles and they are chage often. The price I have always seen is $6. I don't see a problem with them since it is basically like renting a movie with a little more convience.
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Old 05-17-04, 12:23 PM
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I think this would be a great idea. Price seems a bit high, but I like the concept. Plus it would probably be a big blow to Blockbuster!
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Old 05-17-04, 12:26 PM
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This has been discussed at length before, but it is interesting to hear the updates, as I am still astonished that they actually went forward with this moronic idea.

Here are some other threads where this was discussed.





Did a search for disposable, and it brought up these.
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Old 05-17-04, 12:41 PM
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These have been around a while. Great idea but grossly overpriced. I'd buy a pristine disc that self-destructs in place of a scratched and filthy, barely playable rental... if they were $2.
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Old 05-17-04, 01:05 PM
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What's most disposable is the entire concept - it didn't work before, it won't work now.
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Old 05-17-04, 01:53 PM
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I see them at just about every truck stop in Texas.
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Old 05-17-04, 04:28 PM
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They're in all the Circle-K convenient marts here.... at $5.99 I highly doubt anyone will buy these discs. The funny thing is that they advertise it as more convenient since you don't have to return them, but they request that you return the discs for recycling.
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Old 05-17-04, 04:53 PM
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Originally posted by antennaball
I see them at just about every truck stop in Texas.
For some reason when I read this post it hit me where these discs might actually be able to succeed... disposable porn... sold in the men's room in a vending machine right next to the condom vending...

idea 2004 - ScottyWH - Not to be used without permission or substantial royalties...

disclaimer: no endorsement of porn either expressed or implied herein

Last edited by ScottyWH; 05-17-04 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 05-17-04, 07:25 PM
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$6.00 is too expensive.
I can get a better deal renting from Netflix or digging through the Wal Mart dump bin.
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Old 05-18-04, 11:02 AM
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I'm sorry, but I just don't "get" the almost violent opposition to this idea. This is a niche product - one that could work at airports, hotels or certain other instances (like pizza delivery). Yet, any time it gets mentioned here, people jump on it with an Old Testament-like fury. There's never been a single inkling that this would ever be anything other than a niche product - it's not gonna replace regular DVDs folks, no matter how greedy you think the studios are.

And then some self-righteous yob pipes in with "Won't somebody please think of the children.. I mean, Mother Earth!" as if they themselves have done an impact statement on 100,000 of these discs ending up in a landfill vs. 100,000 carbon monoxide belching trips back to the video store to return the discs. Do you know which is worse? Do you?

Hey, I'll argee with you folks that these discs are far too expensive - hell for $6 I can rent a regular version *and* buy a blank DVD to copy it to. But any time this idea gets brought up on these boards, it gets assualted like Utah Beach. Go figure!
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Old 05-18-04, 01:16 PM
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Originally posted by Rex Fenestrarum
And then some self-righteous yob pipes in with "Won't somebody please think of the children.. I mean, Mother Earth!" as if they themselves have done an impact statement on 100,000 of these discs ending up in a landfill vs. 100,000 carbon monoxide belching trips back to the video store to return the discs. Do you know which is worse? Do you?
Your hypothetical assumes that all 100,000 people will make an extra trip solely to return those discs. That's not reality. Most people pick up and drop off discs on the way home from work... or during their normal routine. The additional polution if any is negligible compared to the impact on landfills.
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Old 05-18-04, 01:43 PM
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At this point you can buy DVDs and get relatively good movies for around $6. The fee is much too high.
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Old 05-18-04, 01:56 PM
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This could work well at hotels, assuming they one day have dvd players.
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Old 10-23-04, 11:57 AM
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Amazon has just put up for preorder an exlusive Felxplay DVD of the film Noel. Their price is $4.99 plus shipping.


The "customer reviews" section is loaded with shilling of the highest order.
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Old 10-23-04, 12:05 PM
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Originally posted by Jay G.
Amazon has just put up for preorder an exlusive Felxplay DVD of the film Noel. Their price is $4.99 plus shipping.


The "customer reviews" section is loaded with shilling of the highest order.
Yeowch - definite shills. People signing up just to rave about disposable dvd's? Yuck.

Anyway, the price looks horrible when you take into consideration shipping, (unless you spend enough for the free super saver shipping). Anyone who rents movies in large enough volume will see that this is financially unattractive.

I hope this dies like divx. I'd hate to see some of my favorite films become an 'exclusive' to this technology like studios were tempted to do with divx.
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Old 10-23-04, 12:06 PM
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Looks like I may have to add a "review" as well.
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Old 10-23-04, 03:45 PM
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I really don't have a problem with it, in fact I think it's an okay idea, but NOT for $6 a pop. My local chain is Family Video and one of the managers made some noises a few weeks back speculating that this will be the way they go one of these days. It makes alot of sense actually. No rental returns to track or handle, no used discs for the store to sell off, the customer just walks in, rents it, watches it and throws it away. In fact this seems like the smart way to go for chains like Netflix.......fill the order, ship the disc and thats it.

But why would I pay $6 for a rental??? They're overpricing the product for it's convenience factor I suppose. I can see them getting something like that in bigger cities in more affluent areas, but not nationwide. If I can rent it and throw it away for, say, $3-4 then I'd be more apt to spend the money.

As for the environmental aspect, they could add a 50 cent deposit charge at the local rental stores. Save 'em up and take the nasty old black discs in at your own convenience, knowing that you'll get $10 in cash or credit for the 20 rentals youve accumulated.....my guess is, though, that the video chains already throw away cases, far bigger with more plastic used to produce them, at a rate that would make throwing away the disposable discs seem nominal. Go to a system where all you get is the disposable disc in a paper sleeve and you'll be saving all kinds of plastic because the cases were never necessary.
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Old 10-25-04, 12:57 AM
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I think the problem that many of us have is that we just consider it to be incredibly stupid, regardless of how well it serves a niche market or what anybody is willing to pay for it. I won't apologize for saying that I share that view and I don't care how inexpensive the price for them may be. It's throwing money away. Even if it was only fifty cents, it's still just throwing money away.

However, I can see a useful purpose for the technology. It would be great for academy award screeners.

Or sending important info that should only be viewed once. (...this message will self distruct in five seconds...cue theme for Mission: Impossible TV series)
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Old 11-11-04, 07:52 PM
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"Fox and Friends" just recently aired an interview with the director of "Noel" and they talked about "Flexplay".

The director really tried to make it sound like a good idea, but that may be because "Flexplay" is either producing or distributing the film theatrically. I saw the trailer on "Coming Attractions" and it does show that "Flexplay" is involved in the film.

They showed the "Flexplay" DVD of Noel as well as it's package. Cheap paper sleeve and the DVD comes in plastic. The DVD itself is red and they state that it changes to black and is useless after 24 hours once the plastic is opened.

The blonde female co-host seemed to be intrigued by the fact that it changes color as if she never seen anything do that. Hasn't she seen the numerous products on the market today that changes colors.

Anyway, I hope that since "Flexplay" is involved in the film "Noel" that this wouldn't prevent the film from being released on DVD and maybe only released exclusively on "Flexplay".

Last edited by DouglasRobert; 11-11-04 at 08:04 PM.
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