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Flexplay DVDs to be sold at Staples

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 27 May 2008 16:24 User comments (26)

Flexplay DVDs to be sold at Staples In 2003 Disney began a trial program to sell disposable DVDs that became unplayable 48 hours after the packaging was opened. The discs, dubbed EZ-D by their developer, Flexplay, were an unqualified failure and the trial was cancelled after less than a year. Despite claims to the contrary from Convex Group, who bought Flexplay around the time the Disney trial ended, most people considered it a dead product. However Flexplay's critics were apparently a little premature in writing off the technology. Flexplay DVDs, notably lacking any Disney movies, will be available from office supply retailer Staples.
Although lacking the high visibility they enjoyed while the Disney trial program was in place, the EZ-D format has already made a quiet comeback of sorts. In 2005 Flexplay licensed the technology to a Japanese company, and they're currently available from kiosks in some US airports. This time around the discs feature movies from Warner Home Video, New Line Home Entertainment, Paramount Home Entertainment, and DreamWorks.

One of the key complaints about the earlier Disney DVDs was the $7 pricetag for the equivalent of a rental. At the time the rationale given was the convenience of not having to return the discs to a store. Unfortunately for Flexplay that amounted to a solution without a problem as Netflix, and later Blockbuster, had already found a way to eliminate due dates without charging $7 for each rental. It also became something of a public relations nightmare as the public became concerned about EZ-D DVDs piling up in landfills.

Flexplay has reportedly lowered prices in order to compete with both traditional and newer online DVD rental operations. They've also put some thought into the question of recycling. Retailers will double as collection points for the discs, and you can already request a pre-paid return mailer from the Flexplay website.

Of course the question remains, what need do disposable DVDs actually fill? If past performance is any indication the answer isn't promising for Flexplay.

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26 user comments

127.5.2008 18:59

If the whole point is to avoid going to the store to rent them, what makes them think people will drive to so-called "recycling centers" to dispose them?

Dumbasses.

227.5.2008 19:53

Nobody will buy these! There are so many better ways to rent movies like Netflix and not pay $7 for each disc.

Here's an idea, let's rent dvd discs that only work for 48 hours and cost twice the price of a rental at blockbuster. The people who thought of this should be punched in the face. This is such a dumb idea.

327.5.2008 19:54

Face it, as Americans, we are a bunch of lazy butts. we ain't gonna go and recycle the discs if we are so lazy not to return a dvd.

Quote:
Limelight is very correct. Dumbasses !!!

427.5.2008 20:06
drach
Inactive

Quote:
Of course the question remains, what need do disposable DVDs actually fill? If past performance is any indication the answer isn't promising for Flexplay.
The only need they fill is the need to get rid of all that extra space in landfills.

527.5.2008 20:27

Originally posted by drach:
Quote:
Of course the question remains, what need do disposable DVDs actually fill? If past performance is any indication the answer isn't promising for Flexplay.
Quote:
The only need they fill is the need to get rid of all that extra space in landfills
.

Great, the landfills get filled and our wallets get emptied. Great, just great.

"The flimsier the product,the higher the price"
Ferengi 82nd rule of aqusition


627.5.2008 20:29

Well I though there could be a use for these discs... but nope just drew a blank in the end. This type of disc is completely useless.

727.5.2008 21:50

Originally posted by redux79:
Well I though there could be a use for these discs... but nope just drew a blank in the end. This type of disc is completely useless.

Coasters ?

"The flimsier the product,the higher the price"
Ferengi 82nd rule of aqusition


827.5.2008 23:01

HORRIBLE IDEA!
By all rights, these should be taxed out of existence.
The waste of petroleum alone would justify it.
Put a $5 deposit on the discs and see how long they're around.

927.5.2008 23:09

ok disneys' primary market group is what, kids. And trust me as a father of a 7 year old daughter that loves anything disney this will fail misrably. When I get a dvd for my daughter, before I let her wach it I burn a copy, why, because she'll watch it over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again,and then lose it in her room, find it again, and if it's not scratched to hel she'll watch it over and over and over and over again. for it to last only 48 hours, no thanks not when I can get a gallon of gas for the same price

1027.5.2008 23:48

Originally posted by lawndog:
When I get a dvd for my daughter, before I let her wach it I burn a copy, why, because she'll watch it over and over and then lose it in her room, find it again, and if it's not scratched to hell she'll watch it over and over and over and over again. for it to last only 48 hours, no thanks not when I can get a gallon of gas for the same price
Amen!
Now wouldn't you think they'd have the common sense to understand this?
Apparently not.
Did they do any market research?
Apparently not.
These guys are as out of touch with reality as the MPAA and RIAA Mafia families.
They think the world's going to say, "Hi! Can you sell me a disc that'll be useless in two days? Thanks." I guess they think that way. They already sell us discs at $40 that will be useless in a year or two, thinking we won't make safety copies and will line up to buy replacements.

1128.5.2008 1:45

Originally posted by mspurloc:
Originally posted by lawndog:
When I get a dvd for my daughter, before I let her wach it I burn a copy, why, because she'll watch it over and over and then lose it in her room, find it again, and if it's not scratched to hell she'll watch it over and over and over and over again. for it to last only 48 hours, no thanks not when I can get a gallon of gas for the same price
Amen!
Now wouldn't you think they'd have the common sense to understand this?
Apparently not.
Did they do any market research?
Apparently not.
These guys are as out of touch with reality as the MPAA and RIAA Mafia families.
They think the world's going to say, "Hi! Can you sell me a disc that'll be useless in two days? Thanks." I guess they think that way.
Quote:
They already sell us discs at $40 that will be useless in a year or two, thinking we won't make safety copies and will line up to buy replacements
.




That's what they are hoping for.

"The flimsier the product,the higher the price"
Ferengi 82nd rule of aqusition


1228.5.2008 2:49

ok so for me to be interested in these i need at least a 7 day usage before no good and they would have to cost me @2-3 per movie! to really compete with netflix! I have netflix & i get 2 @ a time i am paying summin like $15 a month even if i only get 2 a week for a total of about 8-10 a month that is still only less than $2 a movie &if i happen to maybe put it in one night & not get threw the movie until a day or 2 later cause i do have a kid & wife & work that sometimes interfere with my personal life i want to be able to watch that movie not just loose my $! they should spend time pushing web videos at least i could come back to it when i want! With these it is liek renting a new release 2-3 day rental anyways!

1328.5.2008 3:12

ripxrush, you got your math all wrong (actually you got it 100% correct,but this is my joke). Let me explain


You pay 7 bucks of your hard earned cash to get a movie for 48 hours. You could have saved big bucks at netflix. you wasted your opportunity because the wife or kids interrupted your movie viewing (you couldn't finish viewing in 48 hours, so you are forced to pay another 7 bucks of your hard earned dough to buy the same disc again, whereas if you had net flix, you'd still be ok)

Now you are out 14 bucks, when for 15 bucks you could have gotten netflix fo a whole month.


You feel screwed. (you were)

This is how dumb big business thinks the public is (alot of the time they are correct)

Big business wins,we lose. Life is good (according to the spin from big business)

Now do you get it ? In order for big business to win, we need to lose ( to them for the better good)


"The flimsier the product,the higher the price"
Ferengi 82nd rule of aqusition


1428.5.2008 9:01

I will agree that I think this idea (as disposable movie rentals) will go nowhere. However...

I am interested in knowing the technology used behind this idea. Can anyone explain what causes the data to become corrupt in 48 hours? This is very, very interesting.

I think this technology certainly could have its use. They have just attempted to exploit it in the wrong arena.

Let me paint a picture for you...

Think of this... You have a high profile meeting scheduled. Could even be a matter of national security. You burn all the information, PowerPoint, slide shows, graphs etc. etc. you wish to discuss say 46 hours in advance. A super undercover spy worm attempts to steal the disc... But... 2 hours later all the data is bye bye and it auto destructs... EZ-D saves the day!


Edit: I just did some research and discovered how these crazy self destructing DVD's work...

Originally posted by Wikipedia:
A Flexplay disc is shipped in a vacuum-sealed package. There is a clear dye inside the disc, contained within the bonding resin of the disc, which reacts with oxygen. When the seal is broken on the vacuum-packed disc, the layer changes from clear to black in about 48 hours, rendering the disc unplayable. If unopened, the shelf life of the sealed package is said to be "about a year." The DVD plastic also has a red dye in it, which prevents penetration of the disc by blue lasers, which would go straight through the oxygen-reactive dye.

The Flexplay discs are dual-layer DVD-9 discs. The change against standard DVDs is the composition of the resin adhesive holding the inner and outer layer together, which is sensitive to oxygen and darkens within a pre-set time, usually 48 hours, when exposed to air. The replacement of the adhesive results in only minimal altering to the DVD manufacturing process. The time of the darkening can be influenced by varying the exact composition of the resin. For the DVD-5 discs, where there is no layer of bonding resin in the optical path, surface coating can be used

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 28 May 2008 @ 9:14

"Great minds discuss ideas... Average minds discuss events... Small minds discuss people"

PS3 compatible video creation thread... mkv2vob, tsMuxeR etc.: http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/621809
The complete HD (Blu-ray/HD-DVD) back-up thread.: http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/639346

1528.5.2008 12:08

Originally posted by Ryu77:


Quote:
I think this technology certainly could have its use. They have just attempted to exploit it in the wrong arena.

Let me paint a picture for you...

Think of this... You have a high profile meeting scheduled. Could even be a matter of national security. You burn all the information, PowerPoint, slide shows, graphs etc. etc. you wish to discuss say 46 hours in advance. A super undercover spy worm attempts to steal the disc... But... 2 hours later all the data is bye bye and it auto destructs... EZ-D saves the day!




My scenario


You are Maxwell Smart agent 86, and your plane got delayed at Dulles and you missed your connecting flight to LA. You finally reach LA 40 hours later than expected and then hit you pad for a short power nap because you are tired. You over sleep by 2 hours and now you race to the National Security meeting. You make it with ample time to spare. You give your presentation to the Nation Security advisor on the EZ Disc you made with vital information, only to see it dissapear as you present because the dye was a bit fast in neutralizing the data. The vital info is not presented to the National Security advisor (to the president) and the United States as well as the rest of the world gets over taken by the Ferengi's and one A_Klingon (handsome too I might add!)

"The flimsier the product,the higher the price"
Ferengi 82nd rule of aqusition


1628.5.2008 13:17

I read the word kiosk in this article and immediately thought of Redbox. There is no way Flexplay can even try to compete with Redbox in the kiosk market if they plan on charging $7 per rental. Redbox charges $1 per day and after 30 days you keep the rental if you have not returned it yet. I would think that most people who are willing to drive to a kiosk or use kiosk services for renting movies will remember to return the DVD in 6 days especially with where the Redbox kiosks are located.
Plus with Redbox the DVDs are real DVDs so there is ZERO waste with renting from Redbox.

Good luck Flexplay. Looks to me like you are going downhill from the start.

1728.5.2008 13:59

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to rip this DVD before it self-destructs in 48 hours...

Quote:
Flexplay has reportedly lowered prices
Some of you seem to have overlooked that part... It's not going to be $7. (I'm not saying that a lower price will make any difference.)

183.6.2008 9:37

I agree Ryu77, where have they been for the last few years? They are competing against brick and mortar rental stores that can't compete with the three worst competitors see below.

The dye is either more photo sensitive than the normal dye or maybe the plastic clouds with O2 or moisture. If you leave a normal burned DVD in the sun upside down they go bad quickly.

They need to be charging $1.
Red Box @ $1/night
Blockbuster Total Access @ $1.13/3 nights 3-per+1 in store ($18/m)
Netflix @ $1.70/ 2 nights 3-per ($20/m)

With BB and NF you can hold 2 for 2 days and hold one per over a few days and still get your 3-per week. BB allows one store rental per week with the 3-per which can be held for a week.
Red box’s are in supermarkets so you do not even have to go out of your way.

193.6.2008 13:34

This is such an ignorant idea it must have been developed by the government. Why on earth would any one in their right mind invest their money in this? I think that Flexplay is on the Fastrack to chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Here's a what if for you....

What if the sealed package has a pin hole that lets in air and by the time you get a chance to watch it the disk has already self-destructed? You are out your money and still have nothing to show for it.

Thanks for playing, and the winner of the dumbest idea in history goes to FLEXPLAY!!

204.6.2008 17:07

Originally posted by dysart147:
This is such an ignorant idea it must have been developed by the government. Why on earth would any one in their right mind invest their money in this? I think that Flexplay is on the Fastrack to chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Thanks for playing, and the winner of the dumbest idea in history goes to FLEXPLAY!!

I retroactively second the nomination!
And a bump on the bankruptcy.
In months, if not weeks.

I don't know about the government idea, though.
In government, they don't have to show a profit, just loss, so the discs would still be made, whether anyone used them or not.
And you WOULD pay for them. :-)

214.6.2008 18:33

Quote:
Originally posted by dysart147:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This is such an ignorant idea it must have been developed by the government. Why on earth would any one in their right mind invest their money in this? I think that Flexplay is on the Fastrack to chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Thanks for playing, and the winner of the dumbest idea in history goes to FLEXPLAY!!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I retroactively second the nomination!
And a bump on the bankruptcy.
In months, if not weeks.

I don't know about the government idea, though.
In government, they don't have to show a profit, just loss, so the discs would still be made, whether anyone used them or not.
And you WOULD pay for them. :-)
But that is my point exactly, only the government could stand to make these disks and not go bankrupt. If any company is thinking of investing money on this they should just pile all of that money in the parking lot and set it on fire. At least that way they could toast some marshmellos.


228.6.2008 14:37
zorb43
Inactive

Originally posted by Mez:
I agree Ryu77, where have they been for the last few years? They are competing against brick and mortar rental stores that can't compete with the three worst competitors see below.

The dye is either more photo sensitive than the normal dye or maybe the plastic clouds with O2 or moisture. If you leave a normal burned DVD in the sun upside down they go bad quickly.

They need to be charging $1.
Red Box @ $1/night
Blockbuster Total Access @ $1.13/3 nights 3-per+1 in store ($18/m)
Netflix @ $1.70/ 2 nights 3-per ($20/m)

With BB and NF you can hold 2 for 2 days and hold one per over a few days and still get your 3-per week. BB allows one store rental per week with the 3-per which can be held for a week.
Red box’s are in supermarkets so you do not even have to go out of your way.
The only large "Super" market in my area is a large plant nursery ... They do not have a red Box kiosk and I did not expect them to have one. Which large "Super" markets are you referring to? Thanks.

238.6.2008 15:50
zorb43
Inactive

I think this may be targeted toward the individual who does not generally like to subscribe to video services or who may not have the time to watch movies but infrequently. Perhaps someone who owns a portable dvd player who travels often and only occasionally finds time to view a disc and does not have the space to store previously viewed discs or the time or place to return them. It will probably be offered as a point of sale and compulsive item adjacent to the checkout. I can see where a child would influence the adult to purchase the item and to appease the child to avoid a "scene". The adult might just give in and purchase the disc provided the price was right ... We were told it would be under $7.00 US but at this point we do not know what that amounts to. If the price were low enough it would seem that this product would and could fill a niche in the video retail environment. As far as the landfill debate goes I really don't see with all the other trash that goes in there that these rather small and thin items would really make any kind of significant impact.

249.6.2008 9:18

I will go along for that. They would need to be far from any Wall Marts. They sell assorted way past their prime OK movies like Rocky III and Superman (any version)for $5. However, you need to sort through a 4'x4' bin to find something you like. The problem with that plan is probably 5% of the US population is that remote. It will be hard to get rich on the whimsies of such a small population. I guess that is why the project is doomed from the start. You can't pay off the R&D for a few million copies/year sold for a few bucks. Probably most will go bad by the time they are sold.

259.6.2008 10:26
zorb43
Inactive

Originally posted by Mez:
I will go along for that. They would need to be far from any Wall Marts. They sell assorted way past their prime OK movies like Rocky III and Superman (any version)for $5. However, you need to sort through a 4'x4' bin to find something you like. The problem with that plan is probably 5% of the US population is that remote. It will be hard to get rich on the whimsies of such a small population. I guess that is why the project is doomed from the start. You can't pay off the R&D for a few million copies/year sold for a few bucks. Probably most will go bad by the time they are sold.
This is true and then of course you do have to consider that segment of the population that has enough disposable income that they could give a rats ass about price or value .....

2618.6.2008 15:58

Originally posted by zorb43:
Originally posted by Mez:
I will go along for that. They would need to be far from any Wall Marts. They sell assorted way past their prime OK movies like Rocky III and Superman (any version)for $5. However, you need to sort through a 4'x4' bin to find something you like. The problem with that plan is probably 5% of the US population is that remote. It will be hard to get rich on the whimsies of such a small population. I guess that is why the project is doomed from the start. You can't pay off the R&D for a few million copies/year sold for a few bucks. Probably most will go bad by the time they are sold.
This is true and then of course you do have to consider that segment of the population that has enough disposable income that they could give a rats ass about price or value .....
Hmmm. Which brings up another point. If they're targeting the RedBox demographic, it's not just people who don't like to subscribe to services like Netflix. It's also people who don't have credit cards, so they've pretty much painted themselves out of the market altogether.

And even though the self-destructing spy disc sounds cool, the intelligence community already has these. You just stick what you want gone in a burn bag, available in all sizes.

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