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"Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

Old 01-28-10, 01:53 PM
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"Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

After some time searching for a hard-to-find movie on dvd, I finally found a copy, but it is only available through the "Warner Archive" on DVD-R discs. Has anyone here purchased DVD-R copies originating from the Warner Archive? If so, is the quality of the picture, sound and menu capabilities comparable with pressed dvds?

Are DVD-R, burned discs any more vulnerable to damage or deterioration than ones that are factory-pressed?

The DVD-R disc I'm interested in is a bit pricey (I usually buy used or sale dvds), but I am willing to make the investment if the quality is high. Thanks!
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Old 01-28-10, 03:11 PM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

Here's one thread of discussion that may help:

http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/55...films-dvd.html
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Old 01-28-10, 03:27 PM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

What may or may not be mentioned in that thread is that the picture/sound quality varies widely on a title by title basis. Without knowing specifically which title, it would be hard to provide any more information.
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Old 01-28-10, 04:11 PM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

Thank you both for your replies! I checked the thread that "man*machine" linked and from what I read, it appears that while some people haven't had any problems, others received discs with defective burns - pixelation, skipping, etc. (One poster wrote that he/she had to return a few titles from the Warner Archive several times before receiving decent, playable discs!)

The movie I have my eye on (1940s, "The Mortal Storm") is over $20 at amazon. With my limited budget, I'm not sure I am ready to risk the $$ and/or the hassel of a return. I like the movie, but guess I'll wait for more clean reviews of these Warner DVD-Rs, or for a sale, before I buy. Thanks again!
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Old 01-28-10, 04:43 PM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

Originally Posted by Sylvia7 View Post
Thank you both for your replies! I checked the thread that "man*machine" linked and from what I read, it appears that while some people haven't had any problems, others received discs with defective burns - pixelation, skipping, etc. (One poster wrote that he/she had to return a few titles from the Warner Archive several times before receiving decent, playable discs!)

The movie I have my eye on (1940s, "The Mortal Storm") is over $20 at amazon. With my limited budget, I'm not sure I am ready to risk the $$ and/or the hassel of a return. I like the movie, but guess I'll wait for more clean reviews of these Warner DVD-Rs, or for a sale, before I buy. Thanks again!
That thread will most likely be bumped for any Warner sales, so just stay subscribed to it and hopefully you won't miss their frequent sales.
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Old 01-28-10, 05:01 PM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

Hi Sylvia.

While helping someone else with this, I found this thread and it's loaded with reviews and comments. I don't know if "The Mortal Storm" is in there, but it's a good thread for reference.

http://www.hometheaterforum.com/foru...eview-thread/0
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Old 01-28-10, 07:54 PM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

Warner Archive movie DVD-Rs are cheaply made and mastered and usually sold at near list price except for infrequent sales. From the few I bought, I think their image quality is no better than when TCM broadcasts these movies. The major exception is when the Warner Archive movie is anamorphic and the TCM broadcast would be a 2.35 AR letterboxed version.

I think that pressed DVDs should have greater longevity than DVD-Rs where the data is burnt onto dyes.

Too bad you pretty much can't buy reliable DVD recorders with hard drives made for the U.S. market. The Mortal Storm is on TCM pretty frequently, usually in conjunction with The Shop Around The Corner, so such a recorder would be useful for you (though costing a lot more than $20).
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Old 01-28-10, 09:29 PM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

I've got a handful of Archive titles and have had no problems with any of them.
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Old 01-29-10, 04:32 AM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

Originally Posted by gerrytwo View Post
I think that pressed DVDs should have greater longevity than DVD-Rs where the data is burnt onto dyes.
I really think the longevity issue for DVD-R's is a red herring. Unless you watch a movie every week or so, you're not going to really test the durability of a DVD-R.

The Warner Archive titles I've seen are comparable in A/V quality to most studio catalogue titles of the era. They are good, and in most cases better than anything you're likely to see in another format but not great.I haven't had a problem with any of them in turns of pixilation, viewabiltiy, or anything else. But frankly, it's a matter of cost versus return. No matter how good many of these movies look and sound, there's a limited market for them, so the studio is really wasting money by spending a lot to clean the films up. Casablanca they will clean up, but not these titles.

The main issue I have is the price. Frankly, $20 a title for run-of-the-mill catalogue films is too much. Fortunately, Warner has been willing to put them on sale... IF you are patient.

Essentially, it boils down to four things:

1) The quality of these films is acceptable but not great and comparable or a bit better than what you're likely to see on TCM or other TV outlets (and widescreen and probably anamorphic to boot).

2) Longevity is not an issue unless you are a fanatic who watches one of these movies every day.

3) The odds are that these movies will NEVER be released in a tradtional pressed-DVD or a Blu-ray format.

4) You need to decide how much a particular title is worth to you and how much you are willing to wait a few months or so to get it at a better price.

Last edited by Silverscreenvid; 01-29-10 at 04:35 AM.
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Old 01-29-10, 05:44 AM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

Originally Posted by Silverscreenvid View Post
2) Longevity is not an issue unless you are a fanatic who watches one of these movies every day.
DVD-R longevity/deterioration has nothing to do with how many times you watch the movie. A DVD-R disc may become unreadable just sitting in its case.
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Old 01-29-10, 08:00 AM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

Originally Posted by marlboro_man View Post
DVD-R longevity/deterioration has nothing to do with how many times you watch the movie. A DVD-R disc may become unreadable just sitting in its case.
Just curious if you have some source of empirical data to support these statements. I have seen a document from a lab showing that DVD-R's have the potential to last a fairly long time. By using standard reading tests to simulate useage over time.

My own personal findings would suggest that how many times a disk is watched can come into play. The only DVD-R's that I have where I see a pattern in failures over time is in some of my kids DVD's that are watched continuously and they go bad, and I have to make new copies after a few years. My assumption is that it is the heat that can cause early failure.

From an adults collection it is a little harder to make claims one way or another because we don't usually watch in repeated fashion, so it might takes us several years to get around to watching it again. So how does one quantify what they have without periodically testing them all.

Then you also have to factor in blank media differences and writers. Unfortunately, I don't see how anyone can know at this juncture. I own a few WB DVD-R titles I purchased during sales. I would prefer buying pressed disks but if the title is something I want bad enough then I'll risk it.
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Old 01-29-10, 08:47 AM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

Originally Posted by bsmith View Post
Just curious if you have some source of empirical data to support these statements.
My statements are based on years of experience with all sorts of DVD-R media and burners. Also, the DVD-R longevity issue has been beaten to death on specialized forums like cdfreaks.com
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Old 01-29-10, 09:38 AM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

Originally Posted by marlboro_man View Post
My statements are based on years of experience with all sorts of DVD-R media and burners. Also, the DVD-R longevity issue has been beaten to death on specialized forums like cdfreaks.com
Still, it really boils down to:

3) The odds are that these movies will NEVER be released in a tradtional pressed-DVD or a Blu-ray format.

4) You need to decide how much a particular title is worth to you and how much you are willing to wait a few months or so to get it at a better price.

I would add that the burners and discs that Warner has at their disposal are probably better than what most people have on their home computers or what fly-by-night bootleggers have.

I haven't had a quality problem with the Warner Archive titles I've bought. They appear to have corrected or minimized the problems they had with some of their earliest releases. Most of the titles I want, I'd pay $10 for, but not $20.
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Old 01-29-10, 10:18 AM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

The number of people who have reported bad WA discs right off the press is enough to make one concerned that the discs that do play fine right now might have issues down the road.
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Old 01-29-10, 11:11 AM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

Originally Posted by marlboro_man View Post
DVD-R longevity/deterioration has nothing to do with how many times you watch the movie. A DVD-R disc may become unreadable just sitting in its case.
I can attest to that. I work in the industry and certain brands of discs will simply no longer play even though they have been sitting in a vault and have never been played since they were originally burned back in 2005.

It's a little scary because it's a fairly reputable brand as well. Don't throw away all of those home movie video tapes that you transferred to DVD. You never know!
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Old 01-29-10, 12:56 PM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

Originally Posted by orangerunner View Post
I can attest to that. I work in the industry and certain brands of discs will simply no longer play even though they have been sitting in a vault and have never been played since they were originally burned back in 2005.
If the discs were never player after they were burnt, how can it be known that they were in fact good and THEN went bad over time (with or without being played)?

The main problem here is total lack of quantitative data.

There are two groups of thought as well, which although not mutually exclusive, need to come to terms. The first is that some burned discs just come out bad. This can be due to burner, disc manufacturer or the combination of both. This is fairly well documented (again, with only qualitative evidence of members on boards such as videohelp, avsforum, etc.). Based on this info, certain discs can burn well on most any burner, others only burn well with certain burner chipsets, and then there are certain burner chipsets and disc manufacturs (separately) which don't produce decent burns at all. So when you get a freshly burned disc, if it doesn't play, it can't be because of the dye degrading over time. It could be because of these factors.

The second claim, most vocal here, is that burned discs go bad over time, whether due to frequent use or not. This one is a bit more difficult, as damage to the surface of a DVD can hinder playback, but is not the result of dye degradation. Perhaps +/-R media are more prone to these scratches/gouges than pressed media, although I can't recall having read evidence for any such claims. And perhaps such damage make's it more difficult for the error correction of DVD players to read when combined with a burned disc rather than a pressed disc - thus damage is more frequently seen upon playback. But again, this should not be confused with actual DVD+/-R media failing over time; it is user damage.

What I can say is that over the past year, I have burned over 200 DVD video discs (TY 8x premium and 16x value line) from a mix of my standalone DVD recorder and computer burner. From my recorder, I have only come across maybe 3 discs with a couple small problems that appear to be related more to burning problems (spot checked right after the burn). Additionally, for those discs burned via computer, I create and burn md5 checksums with the data and test them after the burn, and if any of those fail (I've had maybe 2), I re-burn. I also have burned over 100 data discs, also with md5 checksums, that have not failed. While this doesn't say anything for the longevity of these burned discs, it at least lets me know I started off with a good burn, and I can re-vist this thread in 3-5 years with my results.

But I do have some data on longevity. Since the Fall of 2005 I have burned more than 250 data discs (also with md5's) containing live audio/video files. Whenever I trade or share these files, I go back to my backup discs and copy them to my HDD and check them via the checksum. I have probably gone through 40-50 of those discs getting various filesets and I have never had any corruption on any discs checked so far (all the way back to 2005). I suppose I could go through all 250+ and report back, but I don't have the time right now

And I have CD-R's I burned back in 1997/1998 which still play.

Last edited by i86time; 01-29-10 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 04-01-10, 04:41 PM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

I'll be on my third copy of ALL THE MARBLES when WBshop sends it to me. I think they have a bad run of burns in that lot, but I don't know if they will do anything about it. Both discs I've received look like they have rings of faulty burn area on the read side of the disc and they freeze up when playing. Custom service has been nice about the replacements, but they need to talk to quality control. Buyer beware with these DVD-Rs I guess.
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Old 04-01-10, 06:59 PM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

I recently bought 'Carny' with Jodie Foster and have had no problems with it. I am happy with the PQ and it is anamorphic. Of course when I bought it I did not realize it was a DVD-R but I am happy with my purchase-
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Old 04-02-10, 07:10 AM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

I picked up 11 discs in the sale last week and spot checked them all last night and all played fine. Some of them had surprisingly great transfers.
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Old 04-02-10, 09:18 AM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

So if they make these DVD-R's for movies does that mean these movies won't get a regular release with better treatment? And if these disc are a grade lower in quality why do they cost so much ? A lot of them are going for around $25. Seems to me if they're a lesser quality the price should be lower.
There's a few of them I would like to try out but not at $25 each.

Last edited by JOE29; 04-02-10 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 04-02-10, 09:49 AM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

Since when does quality equal price? The price for them "should be" what people are willing to pay for them.
Supply and demand equal price. These movies generally fill a niche demand.
And they're not $25 each, any more than regular DVDs are $25 each. If you can't wait and must buy things at full price, go ahead. Otherwise, get them on sale. The wbstore has a 5-for-$55 thing going on for their titles (or maybe just ended), and there are 2 $5-off coupons you can use, and free shipping, so you get 5 of them for $9 each.
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Old 04-02-10, 11:43 AM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

Originally Posted by Cheato View Post
Since when does quality equal price? The price for them "should be" what people are willing to pay for them.
Supply and demand equal price. These movies generally fill a niche demand.
And they're not $25 each, any more than regular DVDs are $25 each. If you can't wait and must buy things at full price, go ahead. Otherwise, get them on sale. The wbstore has a 5-for-$55 thing going on for their titles (or maybe just ended), and there are 2 $5-off coupons you can use, and free shipping, so you get 5 of them for $9 each.
The regular price off the WB site is $20 each, plus tax and in some cases shipping. Other online outlets that sell them charge more. As has been noted, some or all of these titles go on sale frequently for prices averaging $10-15 each, with additional coupons occasionally available.


Since Warner has virtually no overhead or built-in cost on these titles, they can sell them at whatever price the market will bear and still make a tidy profit. If plenty of people buy them at $20, the price will stay at $20. If not, then the price will go down to whatever people are willing to pay.
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Old 04-02-10, 02:07 PM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

Originally Posted by Cheato View Post
These movies generally fill a niche demand.
And they're not $25 each, any more than regular DVDs are $25 each. If you can't wait and must buy things at full price, go ahead. Otherwise, get them on sale. The wbstore has a 5-for-$55 thing going on for their titles (or maybe just ended), and there are 2 $5-off coupons you can use, and free shipping, so you get 5 of them for $9 each.
The ones that I have been looking for have not been on sale.
What niche demand? less quality for an equal or higher price?
And are these going to be the only ever releases or will they get a
regular DVD release later on? What i'm trying to say is will these releases
be it and nothing improved later on?
I've seen those 5 for $55 sales but they're only certain ones that are on sale.
The ones that I dont want.
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Old 04-02-10, 04:43 PM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

Originally Posted by JOE29 View Post
The ones that I have been looking for have not been on sale.
What niche demand? less quality for an equal or higher price?
And are these going to be the only ever releases or will they get a
regular DVD release later on? What i'm trying to say is will these releases
be it and nothing improved later on?
I've seen those 5 for $55 sales but they're only certain ones that are on sale.
The ones that I dont want.
Virtually every single-disc release was part of the last 5 for $55 sale. And all the 2-discs were on sale as well (35% off on those). You may have missed it, but it happened - and there have been times in the past when they've done similar sales across the board.

As far as these getting pressed discs down the road, don't hold your breath. I seriously doubt we'll see any of these get a pressed disc when they can get more money on what they're doing now and not have to worry about restoration, extras, excess stock and storage. This is the future, like it or not. Personally, I like it because we're getting a hell of a lot more catalog movies a hell of a lot quicker this way. Over 500 catalog titles in a year. Keep 'em coming!
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Old 04-02-10, 08:30 PM
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Re: "Warner Archive" DVD-R Discs

Originally Posted by JOE29 View Post
The ones that I have been looking for have not been on sale.
What niche demand? less quality for an equal or higher price?
And are these going to be the only ever releases or will they get a
regular DVD release later on? What i'm trying to say is will these releases
be it and nothing improved later on?
I've seen those 5 for $55 sales but they're only certain ones that are on sale.
The ones that I dont want.
It's possible that some of these titles may be released eventually on a pressed DVD but I doubt it. Out of the 500 titles released so far, maybe 5-10 of them will see a regular relase... maybe.

Realistically, these are all second tier releases. Some of them have a cult following, but even that is realistically only a couple of thousand titles in most cases. Keep in mind that the people who post on forums like this are NOT typical DVD buyers. Those people want only the current titles and a handful of "name" catalogue titles like Star Wars or Gone with the Wind.

Everything Warner had was on sale during the 5 for 55 sale and they had a similar 10 for 100 sale at Christmas. If you're patient, you'll find something eventually.
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