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Universal DVD-18s: Caveat Emptor

Old 03-27-06, 03:56 PM
  #101  
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I picked up Quincy, M.E. Season 1 & 2, and the last epispodes on each side of disc 3 froze. (I had to rewind and ffwd past the spot to get through). Discs 1 and 2 played fine. This was on a Pioneer DV-434 that has NEVER had a problem playing any disc before.

This is the first time I've had an issue with a Universal DVD-18 disc.
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Old 03-27-06, 11:12 PM
  #102  
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Add Remington Steele Season 2 to the list. The first set I bought for my girlfriend had two disc #2's. So I returned it and got another one, making sure to open it in the store. The second set had the correct disc #1, but halfway through the first 90-minute episode, the thing froze on one player. It played in the second player until we got to the second episode and it froze again. So back it goes to the store.

Someone should organize a class action suit against Universal. This is inane. And, of course, if you purchase their faulty DVDs online, it's up to either you or the etailer to pay the postage to ship it back. Bullshit. Universal should replace them at their cost.
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Old 03-28-06, 07:56 AM
  #103  
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DVDude,

Added Remington Steele: Season Two to the list and bolded it. Additionally, I added Remington Steele: Season One as well, as I assume that is a DVD-14/18 release too.

While anger at Universal is understandable, it should be noted that Steele is a Fox release, and I got it in the Other category as a result.
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Old 03-28-06, 01:14 PM
  #104  
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Just got my first set with DVD-18's in it - it's Wonder Woman - Season Two from Warner.

What's interesting is that the boxset has a tiny transparent sticker on the back with "Discs Made In Taiwan" in tiny letters.

Seems to play OK. Also this seems to tie in with reports that Universal's Kolchak set had far less problems than usual, and that they were also made in Taiwan rather than being the crud that the Mexico plant churns out!
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Old 03-28-06, 01:46 PM
  #105  
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I never had an issue with any of the Taiwan sets I own either. A couple of my Universal Franchise sets have discs from Taiwan and they all played perfectly.
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Old 03-28-06, 02:03 PM
  #106  
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Nebiroth,

Thanks for the info. I am currently having a ton of problems with a Mexican made Kolchak. I will keep an eye peeled for a Taiwanese one.
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Old 03-29-06, 02:03 AM
  #107  
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I've had problems with Disc 1, Side 1, of the "Magnum, P.I.: Season 3" set. The rest of the discs in the set played fine. I also had a problem with the "Columbo: Season 3" Mrs. Columbo bonus ep. BTW, my "Columbo: Season 4" set (which was comprised of just six Columbo movies) came on DVD-9's.

The only other DVD-18 that I've had a problem with was the ADV "Farscape: Starburst Edition" Season 1.3 set. Happily, ADV is now using DVD-9's for their Starburst Editions, starting with Season Three. Here's hoping that Universal will follow ADV's lead at some point in the near future!
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Old 03-29-06, 02:46 AM
  #108  
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Got dinged on Murder, She Wrote Season Three. Fortunately for me, the errors occur at the very end of the disc during the production studio branding.

The discs were pressed in Mexico btw
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Old 03-29-06, 03:29 AM
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Do these sets all come with "Discs Made in..." stickers on the back? The one on the Wonder Woman set was tiny with even tinier writing, I only saw it cos it happened to be on a white bit of the box?

Otherwise, how can you tell?

Afaik the Mexican ones are made by Deluxe, do they put their mark on the DVD ident ring? Some do (Technicolor made discs for example). I couldn't find any such mark on the Wonder WOman discs, but the discs in my Creature Legacy set all have the Deluxe logo on the ident ring. Of course they are fortunately DVD-9's...

Maybe it's possible to get software that finds it out - you can do this with DVD -R discs I think; you can get software that reads the manufacture codes?

Last edited by Nebiroth; 03-29-06 at 03:36 AM.
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Old 03-29-06, 06:09 AM
  #110  
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I've noticed Made in Mexico is usually printed on the shrinkwrap or there will be a sticker, but the discs made in Taiwan have no labels at all. Unfortunately, they don't always label the made in Mexico ones so the absence of a label is not a guarantee you are getting discs from somewhere else.
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Old 03-29-06, 06:22 AM
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Is there any mark on the discs themselves? The Wonder Woman discs I have don't have any manufacturer's logo on them, but as I said the Creature Legacy discs which are from Universal have "Deluxe" engraved in the disc ident area (which is the plain silver band near the middle of the disc, it usually contains disc ID codes and the alignment squares. Some manufacturers engrave their name there, some don't - Technicolor for example mark discs made by them).

"Deluxe" is written in reverse BTW, in really tiny lettering!

The Wonder Woman set had a tiny label with "Discs Made in Taiwan" on it.

It seems strange that some sets indicate and some don't, even when they are from the same sources.

I'd heard that the Kolchak set had Taiwanese made discs, certainly there've been a lot less complaints than about the Lugosi one..

Last edited by Nebiroth; 03-29-06 at 06:27 AM.
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Old 03-29-06, 07:15 AM
  #112  
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Yes, I have noticed marks on the discs themselves. The Made in Taiwan ones all have that in the inner ring. Most of my current ones have Made in Mexico on the inner ring, but my older DVD-18s from Mexico do not.
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Old 03-29-06, 12:54 PM
  #113  
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Interesting; the Wonder Woman discs have no such marking, so maybe there are two factories in Taiwan making DVD-18's! I only knew because of the sticky label on the packing.

The Creature Legacy sets are marked with "Deluxe" but I could not see any mark saying where they were made. But they were DVD-9's and many factories make those.

Perhaps Universal have insisted that later discs are marked with place of manufacture as they finally address the problem...wouldn't bet on it tho!
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Old 04-05-06, 11:26 AM
  #114  
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Paul, you should add Wonder Woman (Warner Bros.) (all 3 seasons) to your list of bolded DVD-18 titles. I'll also request that you change the title of this thread to "DVD-18s: Caveat Emptor (Universal, Warner, and other studios)". If you can't do it, perhaps you can PM one of the moderators (gkleinman, Gallant Pig, Dead, nemein) to do it. Just a suggestion.

I got all 3 Wonder Woman sets at Sam's Club for $17.88 knowing I should get a $10 rebate back on each (I've hit my WB limit of 6 for $50), but also knowing probabilities were high I'd have a bad DVD-18 in each. True to my fear, I had to exchange at least 1 bad DVD out of each of these sets. I was able to get acceptable S1 and S3 sets with 1 exchange, but not S2. [Side note: I'm sending in a copy of my unmarked Sam's Club receipt for Warner's rebate before Sam's marked it up for the exchanges. I hope the rebate company doesn't have access to Sam's database and deny me because I exchanged the sets. Anyone know?]

I'm on my 3rd Season 2 set and DVD 1A is so bad at the layer change that disc quality scans fail with "No sense indication" at all speeds. Each of the 3 DVD 1As I've scanned has the same problem, but side 1B is fine. I guess there must have been a bad batch of 1As that day. I'm going to try playing mine on various players, and if it can play on most of them I'll probably end up keeping it because after 3 tries I don't hold out hope that any future exchanges will produce a better DVD 1A (as I doubt Sam's will be getting any new batches).

Nebiroth and darkside, could you clarify the disc marks near the hub that identify a Taiwanese pressing? My package had no stickers of any kind (they came inside Sam's large outer wrapping, but inside there was no shrinkwrap). On the backside of WW Season 2 DVD 1 (corresponding to the 1A data side) I see 7Y 56523.1.A VA02, IFPI L906 and 7Y 56523.1.B VB05, IFPI L907. There's nothing saying "Deluxe", so I assume this is from the dread Mexico plant.

Do your WW Season 2 DVD 1 have the same markings, except yours also says "Deluxe" which means Taiwan?

Last edited by Manzana; 04-05-06 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 04-05-06, 12:55 PM
  #115  
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Sure thing. My Wonder Woman s2 set had a tiny transparent plastic sticker on the outer box, on the back, which had "Discs Made In Taiwan" written on it in even tinier black lettering. I've had another look and one has "Mastered by INFODISK" but the other three don't. Two of them have "Made in Taiwan" stamped in black on the clear part of the disc at the centre, and two don't!

My just-received WOnder Woman S3 didn't have the sticker and no indicator of the manufacturer mark.

I couldn't find any disc with a code prefix 7Y 65 - mine all seemed to be 7Y 68 or 69


I believe that the Mexican plant is the one owned by Deluxe, and is the one that Universal use. I think that all discs made by them have the "Deluxe" mark on the discs themselves. I can't confirm that as I have none, aside from the Creature Legacy set which while Universal is DVD-9 based. But they are marked "Deluxe" also.

Incidetnally, the discs in my WW S2 don't show the disc numbers on the labels which makes life difficult. The S3 ones do.

Last edited by Nebiroth; 04-05-06 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 04-06-06, 10:26 AM
  #116  
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Nebiroth, where did you get your Wonder Woman DVDs from?

I'm guessing it's not Sam's Club, or if it is somehow your area got a very different (and better) batch than mine. My box has no tiny transparent Made in Taiwan sticker, so I think mine must all be made in Mexico. It's weird that it sounds like you got a mix of Mexico and Taiwan discs, so you'd think they couldn't put that sticker unless they were all from Taiwan.

Which of your 4 discs were made in Mexico vs. Taiwan ones? If you tell me your discs 1 and 2 are made in Taiwan, that wouldn't surprise me because I'm having trouble with them and maybe knowing that Warner repressed some in Taiwan and you got a newer batch.

I'm still debating whether I should try a 3rd exchange (making a 4th set of discs). My gut instinct is no because the sets are probably all from the same batch, but another part of me wants to try once more even though it's a pain. After 1 purchase and 1 exchange (my 3rd time setting foot in the store), when I went back for the 2nd exchange I was greeted by the clerk as "you again... I've seen you in here a bunch of times returning things". I didn't realize that 1 purchase and 1 exchange at Sam's Club in my life made me a chronic returner. A manager at a Comp USA recently said something similar to me that I was in there almost every day returning things. I said that was very interesting because I rarely come in more than once a week and I've purchased 6 items and returned 2 (unopened) in the last 3 months, but you can't correct these type of people. The Comp USA manager said he would rescind the pricematch policy for me. Unless he puts out a picture to every cashier or follows me when I enter the store, how is he going to enforce that? Once they get it in their pea brains you're a bad customer, they forever treat you that way. All I know is some managers have interesting imaginations, or I must have an evil twin living here.

I suppose I should figure that my 2 better DVD players can play the discs and not worry about the older ones. I just object to buying discs that don't work in my older players... most do except for defective ones.

Last edited by Manzana; 04-06-06 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 04-06-06, 11:24 AM
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From Barrie Maxwell's review of Universal's Carole Lombard: The Glamour Collection (six films on two DVD-18s) in his latest column at the Digital Bits:

Universal has packaged the six films on two double-sided discs, a standard Universal practice that has caused problems in the past with some defective discs that freeze up at times. Unfortunately, I have to report that the situation is not a thing of the past, as one of the films in my review copy (Love Before Breakfast) froze at about the 11-minute mark. This occurred repeatedly on both Sony and Pioneer players, although not on my DVD-ROM player... The set is easily recommended, but would be highly so were it not for the continuing freeze-up issues with such releases. Universal needs to address this matter with some urgency and transparency if it intends to continue issuing its classic releases in this fashion. The current situation has gone on far too long without proper redress for consumers.
(emphasis added)
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Old 04-06-06, 12:31 PM
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"Space:Above and Beyond" had a number of problems reported on this board, some by me. I believe it was Fox.
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Old 04-07-06, 07:26 AM
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I bought my WW S2 set in Canada - online, as I'm in the UK!

You're right - the first two discs in the set are the Taiwan marked ones.

BTW, just because they aren't marked "Made in Taiwan" doesn't automatically mean they were made in the notorious Mexican plant that makes so many Universal discs.

As I understand it, that plant is owned by Deluxe who AFAIK produce most of Universal's DVD's, and Deluxe AFAIK mark discs made by them with "Deluxe" (on the silver ring at the middle of the disc). I don't think that Warner use them; I remember reading in the news that there was a massive deal between Universal and Deluxe which meant that Deluxe manufactures most Universal DVD's.

I suspect that Universal might be using the Taiwanese plant sometimes, because there are not many factories that can produce DVD-18 discs, and they are all working at capacity.

Or given the large number of dodgy discs coming out from the factory gate, I would say they are working over capacity!
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Old 04-07-06, 08:15 AM
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Paul, you should add Wonder Woman (Warner Bros.) (all 3 seasons) to your list of bolded DVD-18 titles. I'll also request that you change the title of this thread to "DVD-18s: Caveat Emptor (Universal, Warner, and other studios)". If you can't do it, perhaps you can PM one of the moderators (gkleinman, Gallant Pig, Dead, nemein) to do it. Just a suggestion.
Manzana,

I have added all three seasons of Wonder Woman to the list and bolded them as well. Additionally, I have added Space: Above and Beyond and The Carole Lombard Collection to the list, bolding both too.

I also contacted gkleinman via e-mail to ask if the thread title could be change and if it was possible to make this thread sticky. I am still awaiting either a reply or a change to this thread.
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Old 04-12-06, 09:09 PM
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Add Magnum P.I. Season 4 Disc 3 on the bad list. IT lokcs up on one side and will not play any of the episodes on side A. There are no scratches but looks like a big discolored ring about halfway in the middle of the disc. Not sure if its glue in between the layers or what. But from what I am reading other people have gotten dirty discs, scratched discs, even with finger prints on them right out of the box. Universal must have NO QUALITY CONTROL down in Mexico where they are pressing these things.

Last edited by flyboy; 04-12-06 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 04-23-06, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by flyboy
There are no scratches but looks like a big discolored ring about halfway in the middle of the disc. Not sure if its glue in between the layers or what.

I guess (?) it's good to hear that the mystery rings aren't an anamoly. I just picked up a used Magnum Season 2 and everything looks pristine...except for the "big discolored ring about halfway in the middle of the disc". Actually, this "ring around the disc" is present on all three in the set. I don't suppose throwing them in the washer with a cupful of Wisk would be advisable.....

I got a bloody good deal on the set and would hate to return it for cash back. Any suggestions as to possible recourse I have? Any suggestions as to how to get out those damned spots?

Finally, I know it's spitting in the wind, but is there any hope that Universal will actually address their quality control problems? Or are we as consumers content to BOHICA as they continue to release product?
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Old 04-29-06, 04:24 PM
  #123  
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I'd like to report a problem with Leave it to Beaver Season One (LE, packaged in the lunchbox.) I don't know if the discs are the same in the standard version or not.

I presume these are DVD-18s, since they are double sided, and there were 14 episodes total on the first disc.

My player froze on Disc 1 Side B, presumably at the layer change. It eventually progressed past that point, but would have audio dropouts and mini-freezes for the next minute or two.

I haven't tried any other discs in the set, and I don't remember if the same thing happened on Disc 1 Side A. I have an old Apex player, and I usually attribute problems to the player, but this one was quite a bit more severe than usual.
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Old 05-30-06, 01:42 PM
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I recently found that my Kolchak set hangs on both sides of disc 1 (in the later episodes). The problem is I found this out more than 30 days after purchasing it from amazon. Is universal pretty good about replacing these discs?
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Old 05-31-06, 02:08 PM
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Anyone get any responses from Universal on replacing some of these defective discs?
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