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Netflix subscribers complain about cracked Blu-ray discs

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 19 Apr 2009 18:58 User comments (16)

Netflix subscribers complain about cracked Blu-ray discs Subscribers of Netflix' online DVD/Blu-ray rental service have been complaining about receiving damaged or cracked discs from the company. "Over the last two months, we've had probably four to six Blu-ray discs in a row arrive with small cracks at the edge of the disc that render it unplayable," says Pete Brown, whose wife has been a Netflix subscriber for three years.
Blu-ray is structured significantly different to DVD in that DVD is comprised of two 0.6mm thick polycarbonate discs with the data recorded to a thin metal substrate in between, while Blu-ray is a single 1.1mm polycarbonate disc with the data recorded at the top, and protected by a 0.1mm coating. The Blu-ray discs circulated by Netflix may be more affected by the process than DVDs, and you have to remember Blu-ray is still a very young format.

"The coating is supposed to protect the discs but it could also be making them more brittle," says Adrienne Downey, senior analyst at research firm Semico. "Ultimately Blu-ray is a new technology and they are still working the kinks out of it." The problem can't just come down to the discs however, as BlockBuster customers don't complain about damaged Blu-ray titles as much.

For Pete Brown and his wife, the experience has been particularly bad. They added Babel to their queue and received a cracked disc. Upon receiving a replacement disc of the same movie, they checked and found that it was also damaged. To make it worse, the same thing happened the third time too. "At a point, my wife was like, maybe they are sending us same thing to us over and over again," said Brown.

Back in 2007 there were similar complaints about damaged discs being made on forums, now it appears a new wave of complaints are surfacing around Blu-ray titles, particularly (but not limited to) older Blu-ray discs. Netflix is playing down the problem however. "Our percentage of Blu-ray disks that members receive that are not playable is a fraction of a percent," Steve Swasey, Netflix's vice-president of corporate communications, said.

He added: "It could be in the specific (Netflix) hub that ships them or it could be in the postal carrier or it could be the ways these subscribers are handling it." Some customers have reported that they were encouraged by Netflix to complain to their USPS for the cracked discs. Whatever the problem is, it should be addressed ASAP by Netflix, considering the company plans to push up prices for Blu-ray rentals.

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16 user comments

119.4.2009 19:47

postal workers playing frisbees, methinks

219.4.2009 20:26

Nope this was discussed way back when they where deciding what kind of coating to chose. you could jab the new coating and it not get scratched

the other side to this is that the disc was so stiff instead of scratching it could crack. which will be a nasty problem for faster Blu- Ray players.

319.4.2009 21:41

...fraction of of a percent-they say,in my case out of 20 blue-ray movies 2 were cracked which equals exactly to 10%.netflix still does throttling since I've noticed that replacement counts as third disc out,so they send only 2 plus 1 replacement.not to mention that happens that out of 3 disc returned at the same time one somehow gets delayed.blame post office right?and i would like to mention quality and availability of their play now selection.hulu beats them thumbs up.and speaking about post office which i do work for,no frisbees,netflix is hand sorted.

419.4.2009 21:54

I think its a new anti-piracy measure, the cracks mean that some one along the line ripped the disk in stead of watching it ;)

519.4.2009 22:26

for someone that used to work at a NetFlix processing plant, people need to stop complaining. If you have an issue with the disc being bad, call them up. Have them ship you out your next two discs the next day. They may or may not do it but when I'm getting a movie from the other side of the country they'll also ship me one from the local hub so I don't have any downtime. I've gotten several hundreds of movies from NetFlix over the years and I've only had one unplayable and one that was the wrong one shipped. On a side note, my wife and children have sent back blank DVDs, home DVDs, audio CDs and purchased DVDs by accident MUCH more than NetFlix has erred.

when I worked there the majority of discs that I pulled out during the inspection were kids movies. If people respected the Blu-Ray discs as if they were their own property instead of trashing them as they are "high tech" and "better" than DVDs that percentage would decrease.

619.4.2009 22:46

Cracked netflix discs are nothing new; I get cracked DVDs all the time (mostly cracks starting from the center hole). They are also scratched terribly, and there are frequent read errors (so bad that i rip them to the hard drive & play them from there to avoid watching the whole movie and then not being able to see the end). On top of that, they are often very dirty. It's not netflix's fault...people treat their own discs like crap, and they treat netflix discs even worse. The only way to limit this would be to void accounts that are always returning dvds in non-working condition.

719.4.2009 23:52

Dont give your blu-rays to your brats. You may as well give them to the dogs, with the way they spit, slobber, and crap all over them.

820.4.2009 2:22

Originally posted by vyze:
for someone that used to work at a NetFlix processing plant, people need to stop complaining. If you have an issue with the disc being bad, call them up. Have them ship you out your next two discs the next day. They may or may not do it but when I'm getting a movie from the other side of the country they'll also ship me one from the local hub so I don't have any downtime. I've gotten several hundreds of movies from NetFlix over the years and I've only had one unplayable and one that was the wrong one shipped. On a side note, my wife and children have sent back blank DVDs, home DVDs, audio CDs and purchased DVDs by accident MUCH more than NetFlix has erred.

when I worked there the majority of discs that I pulled out during the inspection were kids movies. If people respected the Blu-Ray discs as if they were their own property instead of trashing them as they are "high tech" and "better" than DVDs that percentage would decrease.

Kids movies are shocking, i dont have netflix but i have an Australian equivalent and whenever i have rented kids movies they are always unplayable (and unburnable:P). I gave up trying to rent them.

920.4.2009 9:37

Originally posted by KillerBug:
Cracked netflix discs are nothing new; I get cracked DVDs all the time (mostly cracks starting from the center hole). They are also scratched terribly, and there are frequent read errors (so bad that i rip them to the hard drive & play them from there to avoid watching the whole movie and then not being able to see the end). On top of that, they are often very dirty. It's not netflix's fault...people treat their own discs like crap, and they treat netflix discs even worse. The only way to limit this would be to void accounts that are always returning dvds in non-working condition.
Absolutely correct.

I have received numerous DVDs from Netflix that were absolutely shattered and the pieces poured out of the mailer.

I haven't had nearly as bad a problem from Blockbuster, but it still does happen. Mostly, large divots (likely from the automated sorter machines at the post office) that make the disc unreadable even though it's not nearly as damaged as what I used to get from Netflix.

Given the mail system is the same, it's likely their on-site (mis)handling that makes Netflix worse. The workers are probably breaking the disc with the scanners when they scan them in/out.

1020.4.2009 10:18

I recently sent a DVD to a friend by mail and it arrived cracked. I have mailed many DVDs over the past few years without any being cracked, but it seems that lately more and more DVDs are getting cracked in the mail. If Netflix is sending out cracked DVDs, then they should do something to correct that. it is very annoying to have to report a cracked DVD then wait to get a replacement. They should give you an extra DVD each time that happens. if it is the postal service that is to blame then I can see why they are losing money. People will flock to other services that are more reliable.

1120.4.2009 14:13

I've had Netflix Blu-ray for almost a year now and only have had like 4 or 5 cracked discs. and just like it was said it's a small crack at the outter edge. So you never can see the end of the movie. I report it damaged and Netflix sends me my next movie right away. I don't see what the big deal is, was this article just a smear ad against Netflix for Blockbuster? It sure sounds like it was.

1220.4.2009 14:14

I've had a Netflix account since 2003, and I can't remember how many cracked and scratched discs I have received. I read that Netflix was going to have to change their shipping envelope because the USPS had to "hand process" them. It costs Netflix more to ship if they have to do this. I would say that the envelopes could definatly use more padding to protect the disc.

1323.4.2009 19:16

Had them for a couple years and had only one cracked DVD. Have returned to NF with the Blu-rays, and the they have always arrived flawless and appear to be just like brand new, as maybe my USA region is not into Blu-ray very much and with the great One Day delivery.

1425.4.2009 14:36

I've rented hundreds of Blus from NetFlix and I have never experienced this problem. First time I've heard of it.

1527.4.2009 13:26
zorb43
Inactive

Originally posted by windsong:
Dont give your blu-rays to your brats. You may as well give them to the dogs, with the way they spit, slobber, and crap all over them.
I have to agree, I solved that in so much as they take reasonable care of them now. A good hard slap across the face works wonders.

1625.5.2009 19:11

I've received 20 out of my last 27 Netflix Blu-ray Discs with cracked edges. The problem started 4/24/'09. Previous to 4/24/'09 I had all 42 of my Netflix Blu-ray Discs delivered without a problem. I reported all of the cracked edge discs as Damaged>Cracked. I've spoken with Netflix customer service about ten times, and at their suggestion have had my local USPS worker repeatedly contact the USPS processing and distribution center where the processing machines are located that are damaging the discs. By carefully removing the discs from the mailers/sleeves keeping the orientation in line I've found the cracked edges are always under the leading edge of the mailer where the imprint from the processing machines can be clearly seen. My "Nearest Netflix Shipping Facility" is San Bernardino, CA.

6/25/'09 update: I'm now up to 46 of my last 60 Blu-ray Discs with cracked edges. I live in Sun City, CA John Schuyler

7/22/'09 update: I'm done whining about my Netflix Blu-ray Disc cracked edge problem, it's fixed!

Here're my tips on handling the Netflix Blu-ray Disc problem:

1) Report all cracked edge Blu-ray Discs! Queue>Report Problem>Damaged shipment>Cracked. This provides a) a record for a billing adjustment claim, b) a way for Netflix to discover your problem, c) a record for discussing your problem with Netflix and the USPS.

2) Check where the edge crack is related to the mailer. Open your mailers keeping the disc orientation in line and take note that the cracked edge is always in the middle of the leading edge of the mailers(opposite the 'floppy' end.) This provides a) evidence it's an USPS machine processing problem(cuts through backtalk when speaking with Netflix customer service and the USPS,) b) evidence they're not resending cracked edge discs.

3) After your problem is obvious, go over to the Netflix Facebook space and whine(include your city/state/zip code.) If necessary repeat every couple of weeks until you get the attention of Netflix. http://www.facebook.com/netflix

Netflix recommends you also complain to the USPS concerning your cracked edge Blu-ray Disc problem. Here's how it works, you phone and/or email the USPS via ASK USPS http://www.usps.com/customerservice/welcome.htm They will have your local USPS rep who deals with your automated(machine) USPS processing center contact you for further information. He will then email the processing center with your complaint. Keep his name and phone number handy. The processing center will not speak with you directly. I had my local USPS rep email my processing center three times to no avail, only having Ms G(the high level Netflix troubleshooter I was contacted by at the Netflix Facebook space) get on it worked. Btw, I also spoke with Netflix customer service over a dozen times(twice to a supervisor,) got me nowhere.

As to discs that won't play, since I connected up my player to the internet for automatic firmware updates and started cleaning every disc beforehand with a clean, damp microfiber washcloth followed immediately with a polish with a clean, dry microfiber washcloth they all have played flawlessly(even the scratched ones.) Cracked edge discs are ruined, imo you're better off not even trying to play them.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 22 Jul 2009 @ 17:51

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