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Disposable DVDs are back again

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 05 Oct 2005 10:20 User comments (17)

Disposable DVDs are back again According to UK newspaper The Business, Microsoft is currently promoting a disposable-DVD-like technology to Hollywood, claiming it is their answer to gaining an advantage over piracy. Disposable "self destructing" DVDs are not a new concept however, Convex subsidiary Flexplay has been promoting its EZ-D disc for the last two years in the United States. Buena Vista Home Entertainment even tested this concept out and Convex struck a deal with Japanese disc maker Nippan to begin offering the discs in Japan.
Play-Once disposable DVD have an extra layer which oxidizes when exposed to the air, eventually becoming opaque and useless in a DVD player since the disc can no longer be read properly. Microsoft's logic in promoting play-once discs is that it would give consumers more flexibility. Piracy gives consumers much more flexibility when compared to services like DVD rentals.

Microsoft believes that if the price of disposable discs were to rival the price of rentals, then consumers would pick them since they can watch them anytime they want and don't have to return them; simply throw them away when the have become useless. Of course, it would have to compete with mail-back DVD rental services like Netflix, pay-per view and legal movie download services.

However, Microsoft's main motivation is most likely to help spread it's proprietary Digital Rights Management technology to new devices, an attempt to push it forward as an industry standard for content protection until next generation DVDs come along with their new anti-piracy measures. However, winning over Hollywood and consumers is just half the battle for Microsoft in this case.

You have to remember that millions of people just dumping disposable discs after use can not be good for the environment. Therefore the concept doesn't impress many legislators. Flexplay has partnership with disc recyclers but that's not exactly very good either when you consider it's up to the consumer to make use of that partnership instead of chucking the useless disc into the thrash.

The Register

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17 user comments

15.10.2005 10:49

Does this mean you could copy it in your computer if its the first time it has been played?

25.10.2005 11:23

well if there's no real extra copy protection than on a normal dvd, in theory... yes! but there probably would be some sort of limiting factor

35.10.2005 11:50

There also a possibility that this is a complete hoax according to a news item on msfn Theres no real proof to support the fact that microsoft is attempting to produce these disks, or if the hoax story is ... well.. a hoax :S

45.10.2005 12:12

another excuse i'm not buying the over priced dvds

55.10.2005 12:43

It's not bad enough that they've completely mutilated the DVD standard to the point that some discs won't even play anymore. Now they want the discs to simply fry after you use them. What if I missed a part of the movie and want to rewind it? If anything, this will increase piracy tenfold. I can just see people on street corners now, advertising their "permanent DVDs". If they keep making their product less useful, people are just going to stop buying it and turn to other sources.

65.10.2005 12:47

Didn't Microsoft learn from Disney?

75.10.2005 15:16

This is definitely a hoax, as other sites have now confirmed. There's nothing to see here, please move along...

86.10.2005 6:26

this makes no difference really, it will be ripped once (somewhere) maybe a remux and reburn if neccessary, the copies available from permanent sources (hardrives) will always be available as a torrent or a p2p file. So as long as we can see the tracks playing onscreen then it will still be possible to rip them for storage elsewhere. it's when they only offer dvd quality films online as a streaming file that will make life difficult, however might work, or even a dump direct to an external dvd recorder via video cables as a last resort. I can't imagine a time when a backup will not be possible really. Maybe films & tv should be free, funded by the government or private industry for propaganda/advertising purposes? We could use some of our extrodinary war budget when we've finally stopped spending so much to kill and subjugate each other! Let's suggest this to micro$oft shall we? woohoo!

96.10.2005 8:31

I didn't see a forum for this and this topic is very close. Is there a site to purchase and download legitimate movies? Perhaps highspeed connection so it takes only minutes?

106.10.2005 12:24

i love the idea of spending money and resources on disposable plastic (as in, OIL, a non-renewable resource) instead of doing something like fighting diseases, or stopping the damn wars, or getting famines a bit more under control. god, don't they realize that when one guy as all the money and no one else has any, money has no value? something else will be used to barter with! greed blinds. gallagher: unless you have a mystical and rare personal connection to the new Internet2, you're not going to get a dvd-quality movie in a few minutes. try a few hours on a fast one. and legal downloads? i don't know of any.

116.10.2005 14:13

I only ask because there are sites where I download programs that are say 600,000 MB in just a few minutes. So I figured that if there are applications of that size that can be downloaded so fast, then why not movies of just slightly bigger. But I agree, it would take slighly longer if you wnated to download a DVD in entirety of 6 or 7 GB. But movie only or even DivX or some other format would be much smaller, like the 600,000 MB.

126.10.2005 14:25

600,000MB = 586 GB. You did not download anything that size in a few minutes. They don't even make internal hard drives with that much capacity (at least at the consumer level). If you get a good download rate with a good broadband connection you can download a DVD (max of around 8.5 GB) in around six and a half hours. Compress that movie down to the size of a CD or two with a good MPEG-4 codec and you can download it in around an hour (assuming a fast connection and source).

136.10.2005 14:34

Hmm, as I re-read your post I wonder if the ',' in 600,000 was meant as a decimal divider? (If so, disregard my last post. :p But you must admit if it was a decimal divider the three zeroes after it are a little misleading to others who use a period as a decimal point.)

146.10.2005 15:06

maybe they're referring to the entirety of the downloadable material, which can be accessed in just a few minutes? misleading wording, maybe, but that makes more sense to me.

156.10.2005 15:27

Yeah, I am talking about 600 MB or roughly .6 GB as you have it. My whole question is about the downloads for standard DivX or other formats.

166.10.2005 15:32

If they can make disposable dvds at rental prices then we are really ripped off with new movies costing $19.99. The rental companies would seem to not be interested because they would need more inventory, higher rental rates to make up for the extra storage of the movies. Just my thoughts.

176.10.2005 15:33

The Internet 2 is being developed with the RIAA's help. Don't expect to be able to watch movies you buy more than 3 times on more than 3 computers.

The DMCA - Stripping your rights away, one at a time.

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