DVD Talk Talk about DVDs and Movies on DVD including Covers and Cases

Universal DVD-18 problems and advice?

Old 11-21-05, 08:05 PM
  #1  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
Thread Starter
 
Manzana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 4,514
Universal DVD-18 problems and advice?

I'm starting a new thread because I couldn't find any existing ones when searching on "Universal DVD-18".

After hearing several people (including some review sites) complain about playback problems with some of Universal's DVD-18s, such as the 4 volumes of The Best of Abbott & Costello or Kolchak: The Night Stalker, I decided to run a Nero CD-DVD Speed scan of all my DVD-18s using a PIE/PIF error scan capable drive.

As expected, several of my discs showed very bad error scans (getting quality scores of 0 due to PIFs in the 40+ range when most DVD-9s stay well under a PIF of 10). Most of the time the problems were right before or after the layer change. Unfortunately I don't know if the first half of a DVD-9 scan is the top layer or bottom layer in Nero.

In spite of the bad error scans on several DVD-18s, sector scans of the discs in question showed no errors. I was told that is because DVD drives slow down to slower speeds when error are encountered whereas the error scan maintains a constant 6x or 8x speed. I haven't had time to watch any of the affected discs all the way through, but my big questions are these:

1. Should I be concerned enough about these bad error scans to take preemptive action on the affected discs?
2. Does Universal have a policy to deal with exchanging defective discs like this?
3. If I watch them all the way through and experience no playback problems should I not worry about them any more in spite of their bad error scans?
4. What have other people been doing who have had problems with their Universal DVD-18s?

I'm not saying that all DVD-18s have problems or that this problem is exclusive to Universal. All I know is people mentioned Universal DVD-18s on the Internet, and after scanning mine I have to agree there seems to be a higher incidence of errors on these than on other DVD-9 scans I've done for curiosity. Unfortunately none of the sites mentioning this problem gave a solution other than to not buy them or to watch all of them thoroughly within 30 days (which I didn't do) in case you need to exchange.

Last edited by Manzana; 11-21-05 at 08:12 PM.
Manzana is offline  
Old 11-21-05, 08:22 PM
  #2  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 5,320
I've contacted Universal about the poor quality of DVD-18's, and their response was a semi-politely phrased "we don't give a shit."

My response was "I'm going to start buying bootlegs of the items you release on DVD-18's."

Not that I am telling anyone else to buy bootlegs, but if people would at least start refusing to buy poor quality DVD's, the companies might reconsider their stance. I'll pay more for quality merchandise.
MovieExchange is offline  
Old 11-21-05, 08:27 PM
  #3  
ruk
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: The Island of Staten
Posts: 1,900
Originally Posted by MovieExchange
I've contacted Universal about the poor quality of DVD-18's, and their response was a semi-politely phrased "we don't give a shit."

My response was "I'm going to start buying bootlegs of the items you release on DVD-18's."

Not that I am telling anyone else to buy bootlegs, but if people would at least start refusing to buy poor quality DVD's, the companies might reconsider their stance. I'll pay more for quality merchandise.

yeah same here, i contacted them about miami vice, they send a reply saying thankyou.
ruk is offline  
Old 11-21-05, 09:05 PM
  #4  
DVD Talk Reviewer & TOAT Winner
 
Alan Smithee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: USA
Posts: 8,137
The problem seems to be with the ones that are made by Technicolor in Mexico- usually these will have a clear plastic sticker on the back cover outside the shrinkwrap saying "Made In Mexico", sometimes you can also see "Made In Mexico" stamped in the inner ring of the disc since Universal usually doesn't put any printing on side 2 (I wrote them about that suggesting they start putting labels on side 2). I have only one set, "Emergency", made there and it played fine on my 7-year old player, though I watched it right away to make sure there was nothing wrong with it. I bought another movie on DVD-9 (1-sided disc) made there that froze up right before the layer change and had to exchange it though.

I REALLY wish they'd narrow down where the bad discs are coming from and get the problem fixed. I think DVD-18s are cool, but having so many defective ones out there is making them look bad.
Alan Smithee is offline  
Old 11-21-05, 09:51 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Trencher's Farm
Posts: 1,970
Originally Posted by MovieExchange
I've contacted Universal about the poor quality of DVD-18's, and their response was a semi-politely phrased "we don't give a shit."

My response was "I'm going to start buying bootlegs of the items you release on DVD-18's."

Not that I am telling anyone else to buy bootlegs, but if people would at least start refusing to buy poor quality DVD's, the companies might reconsider their stance. I'll pay more for quality merchandise.

If Universal doesn't care enough to offer me a quality product, regardless of the cost, I'm certainly not going out of my way to give them my money. Bootlegs, used, library "home copies", whatever it takes.
mike7162 is offline  
Old 11-21-05, 11:18 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
Thread Starter
 
Manzana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 4,514
I only found out about the DVD-18 problems this last week after I read some reviews while contemplating a few DVD purchases including a couple Universal DVD-18s. I had already bought all 4 of the Abbott & Costellos and a few others.

Since the above responses seem to indicate that Universal doesn't care about their customers getting stuck with defective discs if they don't watch them within the return period, it would be a waste of time for me to contact them. I guess I'll also have to avoid any future Universal DVD-18 purchases now that I know this.

- Does anyone know if the problem with these DVD-18s will get worse over time (i.e. like some form of DVD rot)? Or are these DVD-18 problems due to a misalignment of the 2 layers meaning that discs should not change over time?

Hopefully it's the latter because then I would only have to worry about the discs which have bad error scans.

For people who have had problems with these DVD-18s, is the freezing problem always at the layer change or can it happen anywhere on the disc? Does the picture start to break up and pixellate, or is it always a lockup? Hopefully hitting fast forward allows people to get past it.
Manzana is offline  
Old 11-22-05, 05:04 AM
  #7  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 7,478
Originally Posted by mike7162
If Universal doesn't care enough to offer me a quality product, regardless of the cost, I'm certainly not going out of my way to give them my money. Bootlegs, used, library "home copies", whatever it takes.
Ditto. I finally got sick and tired of it and found another way around it. I returned Hammer Horror Series 5 times and still couldn't get one that worked.
rw2516 is offline  
Old 11-22-05, 05:32 AM
  #8  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Rhode Island, USA
Posts: 140
Same here with the Hammer set. I returned it to Universal and they sent back another that still failed. They claimed to have "tested" it and found it to be error free. I complained again and they're "looking into it".
PJAceto is offline  
Old 11-22-05, 05:39 AM
  #9  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: WV
Posts: 3,178
Report your DVD-18 problems here:
http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/faq/dvd18.cfm
fryinpan1 is offline  
Old 11-22-05, 07:02 AM
  #10  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 8,481
Its nice to see that Sony isn't double-siding Green Acres season 3 after the first two seasons were double-sided by MGM but I haven't heard of problems with those.
dvd-4-life is offline  
Old 11-22-05, 07:27 AM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 467
'scuse my ignorance, but what exactly are PIF and PIE scans, and what are their significance?

Would my friend's DVD-ROM drive be capable of running them, it would sure beat watching these discs all the way through over and over. I've not bought any 'cos of the awful problems people have been having with them.
Nebiroth is offline  
Old 11-22-05, 07:39 AM
  #12  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Mr. Cinema's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 18,044
I own a few of their double sided dvds (Casino, Hammer Set, Mallrats). All play fine on my Onkyo player. I need to try them out on my Panasonic to see if they work on it. I don't hate 2-sided discs, but I'd rather have cover art on a disc. Plus, you have to be extra care handling those kinds to avoid leaving any type of fingerprint.
Mr. Cinema is offline  
Old 11-22-05, 07:43 AM
  #13  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Mobile, AL
Posts: 1,411
I know that I'm gonna have to dibble in bootlegs, at least to REPLACE my original disc with in a few cases... I have a bad disc in my Hitchcock Masterpiece collection, and Universal wants me to send the whole box back, meaning it's a gamble whether the replacements will be good or not

Universal CS is pretty bad.
ShagMan is offline  
Old 11-22-05, 07:57 AM
  #14  
DVD Talk Legend
 
darkside's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 19,847
If you have some of the players that struggle with these Technicolor Mexico DVD-18s there is not much you can do. I have Sony players and a Sharp and all of them struggled with most except for the Bela Lugosi disc that for some reason would not freeze up in my old Sony player from 1998. If you run a scan disc with some of the tools in Nero these DVD-18s come up with bad sectors so its not just our imagination.

I also tried going through Universal, but had no success. I ended up badgering Best Buy until they finally gave me store credit for the Hammer Collection and Columbo Season 3 (I exchanged that one somewhere around 10 times and all sets were defective). I'm basically avoiding any DVD-18s from Universal no matter how much I want the shows and movies released. Netflix rents many of these as DVD-9s so that may be a way to watch them without putting up with the headaches.

By now Universal has to know about there problems with Technicolor's plant but the fact they refuse to acknowledge it shows a sincere disinterest in the customers.

I'm just mad that no major news outlets got ahold of this story. Without threat of major public humiliation Universal will never do anything to correct these issues.
darkside is offline  
Old 11-22-05, 08:14 AM
  #15  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
Thread Starter
 
Manzana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 4,514
Originally Posted by Nebiroth
'scuse my ignorance, but what exactly are PIF and PIE scans, and what are their significance?

Would my friend's DVD-ROM drive be capable of running them, it would sure beat watching these discs all the way through over and over. I've not bought any 'cos of the awful problems people have been having with them.
PIF and PIE scans are some type of error correction. There are PI Errors, PI Failures, PO Failures, and jitter that can be measured. All my info came from sites like Videohelp and Club CD Freaks. I especially bought an error-scanning capable drive to be able to do scans, and I read that BenQ and Lite-On are considered the best for this purpose, and NEC next. The consensus at the time was that most DVD-ROM drives are unreliable in this area. With BenQs near $40 at Newegg, unless you're tight on a budget why not get the real thing.

The reason I did the error scans on the Universal DVD-18s was that I knew I wouldn't have time to watch them all the way through for a long time, and I wanted to see what they looked like. However, DVD Talk does not seem to be a place where attaching error scan graphs is encouraged to show the difference between a good DVD-9, a good DVD-18, and a bad DVD-18, so I won't.
Manzana is offline  
Old 11-22-05, 08:16 AM
  #16  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 7,478
Originally Posted by Nebiroth
'scuse my ignorance, but what exactly are PIF and PIE scans, and what are their significance?

Would my friend's DVD-ROM drive be capable of running them, it would sure beat watching these discs all the way through over and over. I've not bought any 'cos of the awful problems people have been having with them.
All the discs I've had problems with play fine on my computer. I started scanning them on the computer first to see if the scan would hang up on an error before I wasted my time watching them. They would still mess up in the dvd player even though they didn't error when scanned.
rw2516 is offline  
Old 11-22-05, 08:18 AM
  #17  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
Thread Starter
 
Manzana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 4,514
Back to my original points, I'm still hoping someone can answer the following:

- Is the problem with Universal DVD-18s that they are degrading over time such that most or all will go bad, or is the problem something like layer alignment where they are either good or bad when you get them and they are not likely to get any worse?

- Since my DVD-18s with bad error scans are all readable by a DVD-ROM drive (for the moment at least), I asked the above question because I wanted to know if the discs are in danger and it's worth going to the trouble of trying to rescue the data now, or if it's safe to wait to do that only if I have playback troubles when I finally get around to watching them?
Manzana is offline  
Old 11-22-05, 08:24 AM
  #18  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
Thread Starter
 
Manzana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 4,514
Originally Posted by ShagMan
Universal wants me to send the whole box back, meaning it's a gamble whether the replacements will be good or not

Universal CS is pretty bad.
ShagMan, how did you get Universal to agree to give you replacements? Did you email a special address or call a special number, or was it just the luck of the draw getting a sympathetic representative? Also, how long did you contact them after your original purchase and did they require original receipts?

I'm just curious because some of the above posts indicated Universal didn't care and wouldn't do replacements, but your post indicates otherwise.
Manzana is offline  
Old 11-22-05, 09:05 AM
  #19  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 167
Yeah I never realized the widespread problem until American Gothic came out. Now that I search around, everyone is having problems with Universal. It's amazing these criminals can get away with this! There is absolutley no reason to buy a dvd-18 with problems consistently showing up. They won't get one more penny out of me.

BOYCOTT UNIVERSAL !!!
Crow331 is offline  
Old 11-22-05, 10:54 AM
  #20  
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 180
old disc gone bad

I have an older Universal disc of Draucula (not the legacy collection), and it seems to be giving me problems now. It used to work ok, but now I have tried it on 2 different DVD players, and it is freezing up and wont even play the Spanish version. I have sent back other DVD's for replacement back to Deep Discount DVD, "Casino" being one of them, and the new one works fine.
My Cleopatra 2525 disc is giving me problems also. Frustrating.
siegfried is offline  
Old 11-22-05, 11:53 AM
  #21  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 467
Ummm...Technicolor don't do these discs, do they? I though it was Deluxe?

I know others have run error scans on troublesome discs and weirdly found that no errors are reported, but I guess they're doing things like surface scans, since the most obvious candidate for player freezes/pixellation is a flaw in the disc.
Nebiroth is offline  
Old 11-22-05, 02:10 PM
  #22  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
Thread Starter
 
Manzana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 4,514
Originally Posted by Nebiroth
I know others have run error scans on troublesome discs and weirdly found that no errors are reported, but I guess they're doing things like surface scans, since the most obvious candidate for player freezes/pixellation is a flaw in the disc.
I had assumed (and still do until somebody corrects me) that in order for a DVD player to have trouble with freezing or pixellation, there must be errors that will show up during an error scan. The couple discs I've had trouble with on certain players (including my old Apollo 13 by Universal which was a DVD-9) clearly showed huge PI and PO failures on the error scan. I haven't had time to watch any of my Universal DVD-18s, and they are all past 30 days so it seems there's no reason to hurry. That's why I did the error scans.

I'm still hoping somebody will know if these DVD-18 discs are degrading or if once you get a good DVD-18 it will stay good. Is there a manufacturer mint mark guide for DVDs so that I can identify Technicolor made in Mexico vs. other plants in other locations?
Manzana is offline  
Old 11-23-05, 04:53 AM
  #23  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 467
Originally Posted by Manzana
Is there a manufacturer mint mark guide for DVDs so that I can identify Technicolor made in Mexico vs. other plants in other locations?
They are Deluxe, not Technicolor.

AFAIK the "made in Mexico" is either a sticker inside the shrinkwrap or some discs have it stamped near the ident codes.
Nebiroth is offline  
Old 11-23-05, 08:20 AM
  #24  
DVD Talk Legend
 
darkside's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 19,847
Originally Posted by Nebiroth
They are Deluxe, not Technicolor.

AFAIK the "made in Mexico" is either a sticker inside the shrinkwrap or some discs have it stamped near the ident codes.
Deluxe is the one that masters the DVDs, but from all the information I have read Deluxe does not manufacture the DVDs for Universal and doesn't even have a plant that manufactures DVD-18s outside of the US according to their website. I believe it is Technicolor that does the actually manufacturing of Universal's DVD-18s and its only the ones from Mexico that have the super high failure rate. The ones made in Taiwan are usually fine.

BTW for a question asked earlier, I did get Universal to swap out my Columbo discs when I first had an error. They wanted the discs only and proof of purchase and it took about 2 weeks to get the replacement discs and they were also faulty and made in Mexico. So good luck getting replacements from Universal. You might ask for the Netflix DVD-9 versions as replacements if they will do that.
darkside is offline  
Old 11-23-05, 09:45 AM
  #25  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Lexington, Ky USA
Posts: 720
Has anyone thought of trying to contact the plant in Mexico directly? If Universal won't help, maybe we can go straight to the source of the problem.
Upper pylon 3 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.