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Universal's No-Damn-Good DVD-18s

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Universal's No-Damn-Good DVD-18s

Old 09-05-06, 02:53 AM
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Universal's No-Damn-Good DVD-18s

A question: Has Universal Home Video EVER publicly admitted to the widespread problems consumers have been experiencing with their DVD-18 releases (possibly limited to those manufactured in Mexico)?

Or have they quietly dumped this format and expect their suckers, er, "customers" to fend for themselves?

I don't have a complete list, but some that I have that don't play properly include:

FRANKENSTEIN LEGACY
DRACULA LEGACY
ADAM-12 SEASON 1
DRAGNET 1967
ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS - SEASON 1

I just purchased another Universal TV title only to discover that it too won't play properly.

Has Universal acknowledged the problem and made some effort to help consumers replace defective discs? And, if not, how about us filing a class action lawsuit so we can get some of our money back for DVDs that don't play?

Maybe they issued a press release at some point I'm not aware of, but otherwise it seems like their attitude has pretty much been "Go fish."
Old 09-05-06, 04:12 AM
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You'll find some good discussion, answers and frustration here and here .
Old 09-05-06, 06:18 AM
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No, they have never admitted it and I doubt they ever will. I can only assume they check out the discs on equipment that can handle the errors. My Denon player for whatever reason seems to play the bad discs with no skips or freezes. My Sony players will choke everytime on the exact same discs.
Old 09-05-06, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by darkside
No, they have never admitted it and I doubt they ever will . . . My Sony players will choke everytime on the exact same discs.
Yup and yup.

Please add The Hammer Horror Series to the list. I replaced four copies before finally giving up. I DESPISE Universal!
Old 09-05-06, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by darkside
No, they have never admitted it and I doubt they ever will. I can only assume they check out the discs on equipment that can handle the errors. My Denon player for whatever reason seems to play the bad discs with no skips or freezes. My Sony players will choke everytime on the exact same discs.
Other way round for me. I have a Panasonic and a Sony player and the Panasonic stutters and limps along while the Sony plays all the disks perfectly.
Old 09-05-06, 09:16 AM
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This whole issue got me so pissed off with Universal that I finally signed up to post to DVDTalk.com, though I've lurked for many, many years.

I just sent off both Bela Lugosi and The Hammer Horror box set discs. Side A and B of Bela Lugosi didn't work and Disk 2 Side A of The Hammer Horror collection didn't work.

Universal has my discs now, so we'll see what happens when they send me replacements.

Haven't had any problems with Buck Rogers TV set, or the Don Knotts Collection, but all the Horror Legacy Collection discs are screwed up at various locations. This is on two different Audiovox portable DVD Players, a Sony PS2, a Sony dual format VHS/DVD player and a stand alone Sony DVD player, as well as a Dell workstation.

What really pissed me off is all the hoops Universal made me jump through to get the discs replaced - they know these discs are crap so just replace them already! I won't be buying any additional box sets from Universal until I get the "OK" from DVDTalk members.
Old 09-05-06, 10:36 AM
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What really pissed me off is all the hoops Universal made me jump through to get the discs replaced - they know these discs are crap so just replace them already!
What hoops are they making you jump through?

Do you have to ship them to Universal at your own expense? What guarantee is there that what then send you in return won't have the same problem?
Old 09-05-06, 11:49 AM
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First problem was just reaching someone at Universal. Followed all the instructions about calling and leaving a message, as posted on the other threads about this.

Second, yes it cost me out of pocket to send the discs back to Universal. Including my time to prepare the package, go to the post office, etc.

Third, was needing the original receipt. I had them because I keep all my DVD purchase receipts, but they won't accept case tabs or a upc or anything - that screws many people, because most poeple don't keep a receipt for more than a billing statement.

Fourth and final was the crap of them needing every detail about the problem, which chapter, what time it occurs, what players and their model numbers, etc.

My wife was like "just forget it, its not worth your time, they should just make it right". I wasn't giving in to them, screw it make them send me something back and let them know that forums like this know what is going on and it's spreading outside of forum boundaries now.

No guarantee I won't get a bad batch of DVD's again, nor is there a guarantee I won't just get my old ones sent back to me. I'll have to wait and see, and at this point I can't watch them or sell them, everybody knows they suck. Who the hell wants to buy defective merchandise?

If you want to send them back, call Universal at the number used in the other threads, leave a message and wait for them to call you back. They'll put you in touch with a customer service representative, who will send you an email that looks like the one below. Don't send anything to them until you speak with someone at Universal!!!!!!!!
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[email protected]

Dear xxxxx,

Your e-mail has been forwarded to this department for reply. Please return the DVD's, along with a copy of this correspondence and the following information:

1. Description of the problem.
2. Manufacturer and model number of your player.
3. Chapter and time code where the defect occurs.
4. Your shipping address (not P.O. Box; U.S. and U.S. Territories).
5. Mailing address (APO/FPO addresses only).
6. Daytime telephone number.
7. A copy of your receipt for original purchase .

Send by traceable method to:

Universal Studios Home Entertainment
10 Universal City Plaza, Suite 700
Universal City CA 91608

Please send only the item(s) to be replaced, and allow 4-6 weeks to receive your replacement.

We appreciate your patronage and hope that you will continue to enjoy Universal releases.

Sincerely,
Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Last edited by testpattern; 09-05-06 at 11:55 AM.
Old 09-05-06, 12:55 PM
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for what it's worth, I don't think this is a Universal problem, it is a universal problem.

DVD-18's are problematic no matter WHO makes them. It's just that Universal seems to love DVD-18's so people tend to have more problem with their discs.

So, since this is a global issue, it is a universal one - just not Universal.

: )
Old 09-05-06, 12:56 PM
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I'm surprised that there are no "class actions" pertaining to this.
Old 09-05-06, 04:03 PM
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Aren't there some of these released in R2 that aren't on DVD18s ? Anyone know of a list that list what sets are in R2 that arent these stupid DVD18s? Cause i would rather just spend the extra money on R2 DVDs the are single sided and know will work.
Old 09-05-06, 05:02 PM
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Oh shit! Just found out that the Carole Lombard - The Glamour Collection I bought back in June is problematic. "Love Before Breakfast" paused about 40 minutes remaining of the movie.
Old 09-05-06, 07:09 PM
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DVD-18s manufactured by Warner have held up OK- my Terminator 2 still plays, and I fell asleep to "Aquaria" a couple days ago and no problems with that either. I've gotten 1 Universal title on a DVD-9 made in Mexico that was defective too.
Old 09-05-06, 08:04 PM
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My ER season 1 discs are fucked up, and they're made by Warner, so YMMV about DVD-18 quality.
Old 09-05-06, 08:18 PM
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Remington Steele (not Universal; Fox, I believe) is screwed too. It is my girlfriend's favorite show, but after returning four copies of Season 2 for replacements--due to a duplicate disc in one and defects in the others--she has given up. She laments the fact that she can't own her favorite show, but doesn't want the headache. It's absolutely infuriating. She returned them all to Borders, by the way.

I, too, am surprised that there hasn't been a class action suit. The hoops that Universal makes one go through is evidence enough. Just replace the damn DVDs and do them correctly. Or we'll buy bootlegs encoded correctly.
Old 09-05-06, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve
for what it's worth, I don't think this is a Universal problem, it is a universal problem.

DVD-18's are problematic no matter WHO makes them. It's just that Universal seems to love DVD-18's so people tend to have more problem with their discs.

So, since this is a global issue, it is a universal one - just not Universal.

: )
Yeah, I've had problems with Fox ones too.

Should be fun when those triple layer HD-DVDs from Toshiba make it to market
Old 09-05-06, 09:21 PM
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My Remington Steele Season 1 had a disc that skipped too. I took it down to BestBuy months later when I found the problem, and they just exchanged it, no hassle. I risked buying Season 2, but I haven't finished watching the set yet. Hopefully, there won't be any problems. I've quit buying the sets on DVD-18 though, because I'm not going to press my luck!
Old 09-05-06, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Squirrel God
Yeah, I've had problems with Fox ones too.

Should be fun when those triple layer HD-DVDs from Toshiba make it to market
I don't think those will ever see the light of day for movies. Maybe for storage. They will start to make dual sided HD DVDs that are dual layered on the DVD and HD side so those will be interesting to test out. So far the dual sided HD DVDS that are dual layered on the DVD side and single layered on the HD side have played perfectly for me.
Old 09-06-06, 05:21 AM
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One of the problems with DVD-18's is that there aren't many plants that are geared up to make them, and the few that are equipped are pushing their capacity to the limit (and given the number of problematic discs, it's safe to say, over the limit).

AFAIK virtually all of the discs from Universal are manufactured by Deluxe, and all come from a factory in Mexico. You will sometimes find "Made in Mexico" stickers on the outer packing, and sometimes engraved on the discs.

And this Mexico plant seems to have a lot of shall we say "quality control issues".

Other studios do use DVD-18's, but not to the extent that Universal do (and Warner has I believe specifically abandoned use of them because of the problems). Now these other discs sometimes come from Mexico, but also from Taiwan (as did my Wonder Woman discs) - which seems to have much better "quality control". Universal don't seem to use the Taiwanese factory.

There is also a vexed question of players; some seem to cope better with buggy discs than others. So if you have multiple players, you'll find one that is fine, whilst the other stutters, pixellates, etc.

But the indications are that it is basically a disc problem, because it has been known for people to exchange bad discs and get good ones -using exactly the same setup.

The sad thing is that you can get Universal to exchange your discs, and get more bad ones - and possibly, different bad ones. Unlike other faulty discs, it's not possible to say "the disc will screw up at so many minutes into this film on side B". Although, it appears that the problems do occur more often in certain places (for example, in the Hammer discs, the failures were most often in two films). Even so every time, you have to watch the darn things through in real time, and hope that you don't get another screwed disc.


And AFAIK Universal has not acknowledged there's a problem, let alone done anything about it; I would guess that they run "bad discs" though an error checker in a DVD-drive, and it has been shown that this doesn't always find problem with these discs.

However, there may be hope, for the forthcoming Universal sci-fi set is coming on three discs - it;s five films, and previously would alsmost certainly all of them would have been stuffed onto a DVD-18 like the Lugos Collection was.

I also believe that the rental editions (Netflix) of the sets are on DVD-9's, probably because 9's are more physically durable than 18's (which have four layers, plus need more careful handling to avoid damage and dirt to the play sides).

And yes, DVD-18's are very rare here in UK-r2-land, so if you get persistent problems, that offers another possibility; I specifically did not import the Kolchak set. I waited until we got a UK release, which is on DVD-9's. Same with the Munsters sets...and so on. Of course, we in r2 often do not get releases, or get cut down ones. We have had a very poor deal from the Universal Horror Legacy sets, and no sign at all of the Hammer or Lugosi sets at all.
Old 09-06-06, 05:26 AM
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If I remember correctly Alfred Hitchcock Presents Season 2 will not be on DVD-18s. Ill take that as admittance.
Old 09-06-06, 05:33 AM
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The past couple of Columbo sets went back to single sided discs as well so I'm hoping Universal has learned a lesson. It would be nice if they would go back and reissue the previous releases as DVD-9s, but that is doubtful.

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