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Self-Destructing DVD's Coming Soon 798

Posted by michael
from the watch-in-fast-forward dept.
BrianH writes "Looks like a close cousin of everybody's favorite self-destructing video format is making a comeback. Four years after Circuit City and its Hollywood backers pulled the plug on the self-expiring DVD concept, FlexPlay Technologies has introduced the EZ-D...a 48-hour self-expiring DVD disk. The difference? This time around you don't need a special player, and "time extensions" are no longer an option. It looks like Buena Vista has already signed on to the format, so Disney, Mirimax, and all of their other companies should be using this soon. As if that wasn't bad enough, it looks like this works for music and software disks too!" Here's an older story on these technologies.
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Self-Destructing DVD's Coming Soon

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  • by krisp (59093) * on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:30PM (#5977881) Homepage
    Also great for those messages that just need to self destruct. Kind of reminds me of Inspector Gadget. I'll get you next time gadget! NEXT TIME!
    • by rtscts (156396) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:36PM (#5977920)
      Go Go Gadget DVD ripper..
      • Exactly! Now those who would rip the DVDs will just have to do it very quickly.

        Meanwhile the rest of us will have a problem paying $15 for a movie we can get a "2 day pass" on.

        So:

        1. Rippers not foiled
        2. Home buyers irritated they pay good money and don't "get" the movie.

        Sounds like a piss poor excursion for the record industry.

        • by sleeper0 (319432) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:10AM (#5978109)
          I dont get your response, where does it say anyweher that the point of this system is to foil dvd copiers? It isn't and it doesn't. As for people paying good money and dont "get" the movie, isnt the same thing true for a rental today? This is designed to be similar to a video shop transaction.

          Down the street from me is a big vending machine/kiosk type thing that purports to rent DVDs. I havent been able to try it because it seems to require a discover card and the signup cards never seem to be there. But from looking at it it seems to have 20 movies or so available 24 hours a day for a 3 day rental.

          I am guessing that is the type of thing they want to do with expiring DVD's. If they sold 48 hour dvd rentals at airports or hotels i'm sure i would use the service from time to time. And the company and the buyer dont need to worry about where they will be in 48 hours to return it. Takes all the difficulty out of running a vending machine based rental service.

          Of course it doesnt seem like a good replacement for blockbuster, i agree with many posters that said the last thing we need is the entire world throwing out every movie they rent. But then again there are disposable cell phones for sale that serve a niche but we arent all throwing away our telephones after every call.

          • by MyHair (589485) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:53AM (#5978496) Journal
            ...i agree with many posters that said the last thing we need is the entire world throwing out every movie they rent.

            I'm not exactly an environmentalist, but everything is going throw-away it seems. Swifter-type one-use dusters and mops, paper plates (don't recall the brand) now advertising that you have more time for family if you use their product and throw it away--this commercial complete with a shot of Mom doing dishes and looking over her shoulder to Dad with two kids laughing over a game or similar group activity. Disposable DVDs...sheesh.

            I remember when Compact Discs first came out; one of the promotional ideas was that it used less plastic than LPs (that's "vinyl" or "records" for you young 'uns) and cassette tapes, yet they packaged them in jewel cases several times the CD's thickness and large boxes over twice the height of the jewel case. WTF? I guess they were afraid of them being stolen. The boxes eventually shrunk but the large jewel cases are still prevalent.

            Come to think of it, my Mom made my sister and I do the dishes while she and Dad had all the fun.
          • by mesach (191869) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @02:47AM (#5978659)
            I dont see Blockbuster or any rental places carrying this, in fact they might be against it.

            Most of their income comes from late fee's.

            If there's no incentive to bring the movie back, they have no recourse to charge a late fee, bye bye extra income
          • Environment? Market? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by gad_zuki! (70830) * on Saturday May 17, 2003 @03:11AM (#5978718)
            >This is designed to be similar to a video shop transaction.

            Okay, lets assume this isn't a hamfisted attempt to push DRM down the throat of Joe Sixpack. While all these useless DVD discs pile up in the local landfill, someone out there is getting a pizza delivered.

            I wonder what's best for the long-run? A peapod-like video store or 48-hour DVDs? You still have to drive out to the store to buy the DVD in the first place.

            Also, video stores makes a lot, if not most of, their money off late fees. I wouldn't expect these things to be that much cheaper than the offerings at your local video store.

            Also, where exactly is the market for this? People too lazy to goto the video store AND who also don't have pay-per-view AND don't want to subscribe to NetFlix? Yeah right, I'm sure these 800 people are going to love DRM-DVD.
            • by DennyK (308810) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @03:53AM (#5978855)
              Can't speak for the 799 others, but I'd like this. If I could pick up a 48-hour DVD for a few bucks, that'd be a good deal to me. I don't have pay-per-view, I hate making two trips to Blockbuster for a single movie, and Netflix is a bad deal unless you rent at least four or five movies a month. There just aren't that many movies I'd like to see. Plus, since you don't need to have a rental system in place, they could stick these things anywhere: 7-11, grocery stores, Wal-Mart...all places I usually go anyway. I'd love to be able to pick up an occasional movie "rental" when I stop for gas or groceries, without having to worry about returning it by such-and-such a date. It's like DivX without the expensive equipment, the invasive privacy issues, or the hassle. Pretty cool stuff, actually.

              And what's with all the yelling about DRM? I hate overly-restrictive DRM as much as anyone, but how is an essentially normal DVD that just stops playing after 48 hours any worse than a normal DVD that you have to give back to Blockbuster tomorrow? DivX, with all its nonstandard technology, "activation" crap, etc. was ugly. But this EZ-D thing you can play in any DVD player, there's no one tracking what you're doing with it...what's the big deal? It's not like these are going to replace real DVDs in the market. This technology is made to target renters, not buyers...

              DennyK
      • by iamhassi (659463)
        "Go Go Gadget DVD ripper.."

        Aw crap, why'd you have to go and say that?? Now if it fails FlexPlay Technologies will blame it on DVD rippers, and it'll be another reason for makers of DVD-copying software to be sued [slashdot.org], and somehow the RIAA will stick their big nose in.

      • Go Go Gadget DVD ripper..

        hehehe As soon as I read the article I thought of that.

        The thing that really pisses me off with this is it's yet another disposable consumable. AKA more waste for the friggin' landfills. I mean what, exactly, is wrong with the current DVD format? I can understand the use of these for, say, screeners for video stores, and awards consideration etc... but again, this is yet another ridiculous idea to rank next to the disposable cellphone.

        Resources on this planet are not unlimited,
  • by swtaarrs (640506) <swtaarrs.comcast@net> on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:31PM (#5977889)
    I'm assuming the disc reacts with gasses in the air, so all you have to do to get unlimited viewing time is keep the dvd in a vacuum, nothing major.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:47PM (#5977987)
      . . . you can also, for fun, walk around the video store with a pin.

      Poke. Poke. Poke. Poke.

      No more movies.

      Mwa ha ha ha.
    • by narfbot (515956) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:50PM (#5978007)
      What happens under different atmospheric or weather conditions? Will it, in some places, never work when opened, or in another, they will never destruct? Are you sure it's caused by reacting gasses or some maybe some kind of timer?
    • Re:Ways to crack it (Score:5, Informative)

      by polymath69 (94161) <dr.slashdot@NoSpAm.mailnull.com> on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:51PM (#5978017) Homepage
      I'm assuming the disc reacts with gasses in the air, so all you have to do to get unlimited viewing time is keep the dvd in a vacuum, nothing major.

      The story [yahoo.com] I saw this morning seemed to imply that there were two color changes involved. One, when you removed it from the envelope, to make it readable, and another 48 hours later making it unreadable again. (On rereading it, they may have meant "undecypherable to the laser" where they wrote "impenetrable to the laser"; you know how those non-techies are with language: so there may be only one color change.)

      That said, maybe you could extend the life somewhat by keeping the disk in the freezer between plays. But you know people will just copy 'em to the hard drive instead of bothering.

    • Re:Ways to crack it (Score:5, Interesting)

      by deglr6328 (150198) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:53PM (#5978028)
      If the mechanism of self destruction is a chemical reaction between an added layer of dye(or whatever) and the Oxygen in the atmosphere (almost definitely how it works), then that means there will very likely be a stong unavoidable lifetime dependence on heat. DVD PLAYERS ARE HOT! And some more so than others....that =class action lawsuit from people who happen to have a brand of DVD player that runs particularly hot and whose "EZ-D's"(puke) are viewable for a much shorter time than the average.
    • Re:Ways to crack it (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Dylan Zimmerman (607218) <Bob_Zimmerman AT myrealbox DOT com> on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:16AM (#5978374)
      Well, I'm wondering just what reaction they use.

      "After 48 hours of impeccable play, the DVD will no longer be readable by the DVD player". 48 hours of impeccable play implies that the reaction takes 48 hours to even get started. Somehow, I suspect that the quality will degrade rapidly as the deadline aproaches. And if it does, will we be able to claim false advertising? If the reaction is really air based, then what happens if the air has a high concentration of the reactant? That would make the DVD drcay more quikly. Would we be able to sue for our remaining few hours?
      • Even if the mechanism involves reaction with air, as long as the kinetics of the reaction are controlled only by the concentration of the coating on the DVD, then the disc should degrade at the same rate no matter where you are. For concentrations of oxygen that can support human life, it is a relatively safe assumption that oxygen is simply abundant in comparison to the amount of substance that could be contained on a surface the size of a DVD.
    • Re:Ways to crack it (Score:5, Interesting)

      by msaulters (130992) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:19AM (#5978384) Homepage
      If it reacts with a gas in the air, it's probably oxygen. No vacuum necessary... Just open it in a chamber full of N2. Completely non-reactive and very cheap.

      Then cover it with a layer of clear acrylic spray. There may be some vertical deviance, but most players are made to correct for up to somewhere between .3mm and .5mm vertical dev. Translation: as long as you get an even coat, it should play nicely (unless the acrylic is permeable to O2 or has a chemical that itself reacts with the disc).
      • by orthogonal (588627) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @03:50AM (#5978850) Journal
        Just open it in a chamber full of N2....
        Then cover it with a layer of clear acrylic spray.


        Thanks a lot, you insensitive clod! Now you've gone and made nitrogen and clear coat illegal circumvention technologies under the DMCA.

        Now only criminals will have nitrogen and clear coat.

        And I use them everday for, uh, um, medical reasons.
  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarkHand (608301) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:32PM (#5977891)
    Is this really a problem for people who have access to DeCSS and a DVD burner?
    • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AEton (654737) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:45PM (#5977975)

      Is this really a problem for people who have access to DeCSS and a DVD burner?

      I wouldn't say "problem"--I'd say "boon". Suppose your '48-hour DVD' is flawed and only lasts 46. Are you going to:
      a) send it back with a friendly request for your remaining two hours, or
      b) cheerfully use your backup copy?
      And on the somewhat-more-illegal side, there's a definite advantage to a product you can 'rent' and never be expected to return--it's half as much hassle since you only have to go to the store once. (Unless you have to go back to return the discs, which might, according to the article, be reusable--but maybe that won't happen in the US, since America is so used to disposable appliances.) Good job preventing piracy, guys!

      • Re:So what? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Blue Stone (582566)
        This is the death of rental stores, like Blockbuster (and more unhappily, small, local rental stores.)

        Now any shop, supermarket or garage, can get into the rental business.

        Let me guess, the MPAA, or whoever doesn't mind technological advances that put other people out of business, but when it's them... well, the sky is falling.

  • No problem. (Score:5, Funny)

    by ripewithdecay (573894) <booticon@gmaMENCKENil.com minus author> on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:34PM (#5977902) Homepage
    It doesn't take 48 hours to rip a DVD. ;)
  • Great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by El Neepo (411885) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:34PM (#5977905)
    Now I don't have to return the DVDs after I rent them to rip and encode. Thanks MPAA!
    • Re:Great! (Score:5, Funny)

      by orbital3 (153855) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:55PM (#5978042)
      I know! They even give you a nice case with cover art and everything! How cool is that?
  • Great, just great! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Grapes4Buddha (32825) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:34PM (#5977908) Journal
    ... and then I'm sure they'll cry victim when everybody starts copying the damn things and starts giving them all out to their friends because you can't get a permanent copy of the work.

    I'll tell ya, the first thing I would do with such a thing is to back it up. Or better yet, I would just return it after it expires and tell them that it never worked right in the first place. It's not like they could prove otherwise.
    • Gotta love it.

      "The first thing I will do is make an illegal copy, then I will return it and ask for my money back by lying and saying that it never worked."

      I'm no angel, but what ever happened to ethics? Are we now so numb to piracy that stealing and lying are considered the "first thing" one would do?

      Am I the only one who thinks there is something just a little cracked in the general conscience?

      -sk
      • by moncyb (456490) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:15AM (#5978132) Journal

        what ever happened to ethics? Are we now so numb to piracy that stealing and lying are considered the "first thing" one would do?

        Well...it works for the MPAA and RIAA. I guess the "consumers" are catching up. ;-)

        • The RIAA and MPAA are hoping to hell that it is only the geeks who are ripping these movies and CD's to a non-protected format. They do NOT want the general consumer to find out how to do it.

          And all it would take is for someone major like FOX News to do a story about how this "brand new technology" has been cracked 5 seconds out of the jewel case due to existing technology like DeCSS. That would blow the whole thing wide open and raise awareness on how to be able to keep what you pay for.

          Poor xxAA, I we
      • by miu (626917) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:25AM (#5978186) Homepage Journal
        Am I the only one who thinks there is something just a little cracked in the general conscience?

        Nope, I'm baffled by how acceptable theft has become. I know the big media companies are bad and want to restrict our rights, but that does not justify consuming their product and not paying for it.

        The attitude of "if I can get away with it then I should do it" seems to be everywhere.

        • Why not?

          Copyright is basically a bargain between authors and the public (which includes authors as well).

          The idea is that the public wants certain desires it has fulfilled more than they would be without any copyright law at all. It grants a certain extent of copyrights in order to come out ahead. The authors often like this as well, so it's win-win.

          But there are two limits: First, that if the public isn't doing better than they otherwise would be, why should they have that copyright system? Shouldn't th
        • You know, I got about halfway through your post before discerning whether you were talking about consumers infringing copyrights or multi-national conglomerates price-gouging and price fixing.

          I pay for t-shirts, cds, tickets, etc to support local, unsigned bands. But when it comes to the major media companies, I'm going to play their game until they either play fairly or die. I prefer the latter.

          They want to hike up the price for CDs to rates so high even the FTC can't stand it? No problem; I'll just make
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:35PM (#5977911)
    Inspired by HP and its printer cartriges and now Flexplay, Ford has decided to make its cars cease to function after 60,000 miles or 10 years, whichever comes first. A press release says that "this will ultimately help consumers, as older cars just aren't as safe - for the driver or others on the road." When the time runs out, strong chemicals will be released to distroy most of the cars internal components. Disabling this protection will result in prosecution under the DMCA
  • by Azureflare (645778) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:41PM (#5977949)
    I like the idea for rentals, I hate having to return stuff to the video store. I have doubts whether people will actually "recycle" the used-up dvds though. Personally, I do recycle, but I wonder if other people who don't like recycling will simply toss 'em, and then we'll have a massive trash problem on our hands...

    The solution is scavenger robots, that search for used-up dvds =)

    "Hey give that back! I was using that as a coaster! GNggghhhh!!"

  • by JudgeFurious (455868) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:43PM (#5977963)
    If you can't manage to get the vobs off of there and create yourself a longer lasting copy in 48 hours you probably don't deserve anymore stolen movies IMO. At the very least you lose your honorary "Pirate" title.
  • by MrPerfekt (414248) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:43PM (#5977964) Homepage Journal
    Shouldn't all copies of The Hot Chick be destroyed after 48 hours?
  • Open Season (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Euphonious Coward (189818) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:44PM (#5977968)
    So now they have discs that you not only can copy, but must copy before they evaporate.

    Somebody tell me again how this reduces the impulse to bootleg? They might as well just sell the nicely-printed cover art, and let people get the bits from their friends, or wherever. (Maybe they can get AOL to send them out.)

  • What about DOA's (Score:5, Interesting)

    by afidel (530433) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:45PM (#5977972)
    Like any technology it will have a a certain % failure, what will the rental place do if you come back before 48 hours with a dead disk?
  • Expiration (Score:5, Funny)

    by DASHSL0T (634167) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:46PM (#5977980) Homepage
    I know what else just expired: My willingness to plunk down my hard earned money supporting the music and movie industries.
  • by BitterOak (537666) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:46PM (#5977982)
    For those of us with with a DVD burner and appropriate decryption software. We can buy movies for a few dollars instead of the typical $20-$30.

  • by Maul (83993) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:47PM (#5977988) Journal
    Obviously, nobody is going to pay full price for a DVD that self destructs. This is meant as a rental replacement. However, something like this could put rental places out of business.

    Why? Rental places typically buy a certian number of new copies and rent them out repeatedly, after a few rentals the disc is paid for and it is pure profit on the disc after that, especially when you factor in the real money maker, late fees. When the movie is no longer a hot rental, they'll then just sell off their excess copies as pre-owned DVDs.

    With the self destructing DVD, rental places will continuously have to replace their stock. They will not be able to charge late fees, nor will they be able to sell excess copies they've already made money off of. Ultimately, the rental place will no longer even be necessary since you'll likely be able to buy the destructable disc at any retail outlet or direct from the company for $2 a pop.
    • by HeghmoH (13204) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:14AM (#5978127) Homepage Journal
      Why should I care?

      We're always saying the music industry doesn't have any right to keep making money with an obsolete business model after technology has supersceded it, and that if they continue to stick with it then they deserve to die, even if it worked in the past. Well, the same thing goes for rental places. If technology comes along and puts them out of business, well, too bad. They have no fundamental right to remain.
    • by nightcrawler77 (644839) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:21AM (#5978162)

      Excellent point.

      And just imagine what happens when the public gets used to this crap: the studios permanently end the sale of DVD's and slowly inch up the pricing on these self-destructing ones. There you'll have it, the pay-per-play business model they so desire.

      That would also throw a fat wrench in the whole Fair Use/DVD copying argument...right now, we are entitled to make backups of our DVD's since we have purchsed them. But once you can no longer buy a DVD that will last more than 48 hours, what argument do you have that you should be allowed to back it up? Sadly, none...it's going to be gone in two days anyway.

      And I'm not even going to go into the issue of the waste this system would produce. I guess the MPAA's five-year plan is to have a worthless DVD sitting next to every worthless AOL CD in every landfill across America. Someone just shoot me now.

    • Not really (Score:3, Informative)

      by YuppieScum (1096)
      A DVD or VHS used for rental typically costs six times more than a retail copy.

      At (for example) GBP60 for a new movie on VHS (as Rainman was on it's release), the tape has to be rented 120 times at GBP2 just to break even on the purchase price - that's every night for 3 months - to say nothing of the store overhead.

      Now add to this the fact that you can never have just *one* copy of a new release on the shelf, or your customers will go elsewhere.

      This is why your corner video store HAS to charge late fees,
  • by 71thumper (107491) <steven.levin@interceptor.com> on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:50PM (#5978008)
    It opens up lots of kiosk-style opportunities as well.

    You wouldn't need a membership, leave a deposit, have a valid credit card, nothing. You could feed the kiosk cash and out comes the DVD. You take it home, watch it, then put it in for recycling.

    It even works better than the Netflix-style thing, because you shouldn't have availability issues as you do know with Netflix. Instead, you can order from Netflix (or heck, from Amazon or RentAmovieTodayOrSomething.com) and it'll show up.

    I'd love to be order them in batches at a time. I can easily think of 10 movies I'd like to have around the house, not worry about it, and when I travel, or am stuck home sick, they are already here and ready to watch.

    And nobody cares that they are just sitting for months at my place.

    Steve
    • It opens up lots of kiosk-style opportunities as well.

      Not gonna work. Just think of how pissed off you get when your US$0.60 candy bar gets stuck in the coils and fails to drop...think of how hard you rock and beat that machine. The DVD machine wouldn't last a day.
  • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:54PM (#5978033) Homepage
    This is just a cheap excuse to avoid digital distribution. Downloading the movies would be cooler, and more enviro.

    It seems the polution comments are not getting modded up. Why? How many billions of these things are going to be produced? Where does plastic come from for the most part (hint - we just had a war over this stuff)? And recycling? Just how easy is it separate the thin metal film from the plastic? Besides that, if these things are reactive to air - the article mentions that they begin to expire as soon as their opened - that would suggest some sort of strong plastic/foil packaging.

    Scrap the crap - just put it up for download.
    • by HeghmoH (13204) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:22AM (#5978167) Homepage Journal
      Of course nobody cares about the pollution, think about this for one second, it's not a very large problem.

      In my household, we go through a couple of good-sized garbage bags a week. Even if we rented fifty movies every week it would hardly make a noticeable addition to our trash output. Even if you only count the nondegradable trash, an average movie watcher's rental consumption will not come close to touching the amount of other stuff they already throw away.
  • by Bonewalker (631203) on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:55PM (#5978041)
    I can just hear them now, poor little DVD's...engineered to die, but screaming "I want to live!"

    So, I oblige. *Inserts DVD into DVD-R*

    I don't call it ripping...I call it saving lives, one movie at a time.

  • The Stakes are Open (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jeffasselin (566598) <cormacolinde@gmail . c om> on Friday May 16, 2003 @11:58PM (#5978056) Journal
    How long until someone finds a way to defeat it?

    No really. If it's a software thing, shouldn't be too hard. If it's physical, like reacting to a catalyst, there is most likely some way to treat the discs so that they will remain usable longer...

  • Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vought (160908) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:03AM (#5978076)
    Duh...I want DVD...two dollah at checkout register...works once...what a bargain!

    More disposable crap to fill up the landfills with. I'm sure glad our kids are going to have to solve the problem of a throwaway society.

    I guess it'd be too much to ask them to make the discs out of something degradeable or to include a mailer for recycling - but instead, they place the burden on the consumer to recycle the discs by asking us to mail the discs in off our own volition. Something I'm sure we all have time to do.

    In other words, these discs will NEVER get recycled.

    Seriously, as the alpha-geek crowd, we should do our part to dissuade everyone we know from even thinking of buying these.
  • by Keith Russell (4440) <keith,russell&gmail,com> on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:05AM (#5978085) Journal

    How long is it going to take for companies like this to realize it? turn-around traffic is way too important to rental stores for disposable media to work. IIRC, Blockbuster claimed that a full 1/3 of their rental business comes from turn-arounds.

    For those unfamiliar with the term, it refers to a customer returning one video and renting another, usually on impulse, in the same visit to the store. Obviously, if there's no returns, there's fewer opportunities to visit the store. Thus, fewer rentals, impulse or planned. Needless to say, that's a Bad Thing when rentals are your business. And how much of an impact is a constant flow of disposal DVDs going to have on inventory management?

    It was a loser with Circuit City DIVX. Earlier generations of self-destructing media were losers. No matter how much they improve the materials, it won't stop being a loser until they can make up for the lost traffic at Blockbuster and Hollywood.

  • by m00nun1t (588082) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:08AM (#5978097) Homepage
    According to MSNBC [msnbc.com], the process is "similar to rusting", confirming our suspicions that it is a reaction to the air. They also say it's a perfectly normal DVD in the interim, so bring on DeCSS.
  • by Therlin (126989) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @12:31AM (#5978211)
    I can see it now. We'll be able to buy these 48 hr movies for a few dollars but we'll have to wait a few months to be able to purchase the standard always-lasting DVD.

    I know that's how VHS works, but I've been spoiled by DVD and I don't want to go back to that. For me DVD purchases are impulse buys. If I rent a movie first, I'm much less likely to buy it later on. If I'm forced to buy a 48-hr movie instead of buying the unlimited disc, I'll buy considerably less movies in the long run.
  • by Call Me Black Cloud (616282) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:02AM (#5978319)
    This comes out just after I finished installing a dvd player to watch in my hyperbaric chamber.
  • by Lairdsville (600242) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:10AM (#5978354)
    If this takes off, I can imagine buying these DVD's in the supermarket or anywhere. Anyone could sell them because you would not need to support the whole rental infrastructure.

    Glad I don't own a rental store, this could be the end of the business.

  • by Restil (31903) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:25AM (#5978402) Homepage
    Hey.. if they want to blow another $100 million to try it again, go ahead. I personally would have figured it out the first time, but that's just me.

    -Restil
  • Great! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert@slash d o t . f i renzee.com> on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:26AM (#5978404) Homepage
    So now when i want a copy to keep, "yours to keep forever" as the disney advert says... i`m FORCED to use DeCSS to copy the dvd..
    But how about the expiring media we already have? movie companies expect you to buy new copies if the media gets damaged (happens eventually even if your carefull.. not to mention accidents and kids) or stolen (this is why i only have burnt cds in my car)
    Media companies should provide replacement media free or at cost if you can show proof of purchase of the original.
  • workarounds: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by acidrain69 (632468) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:40AM (#5978438) Journal
    Submerge the disc in an oxygen-poor environment. Someone already noted nitrogen. Possibly water (I guess it depends on the chemical reaction), oxygen gas is O-O, water is H-O-H, depending on the chemical they use it may not react with the oxygen in the water. Watch DVD, submerge in tupperware DVD holder until next viewing cycle :)

    CD/DVD layer cleaners. Those Dr. Fixit things that clean scratched CD's. The chemical has to be exposed to oxygen, why can't you just scratch off the opaqueness? Kind of a reverse write-over-the-copy-protection-on-the-CD-with-a-sh arpie.

    Least cost-effective: Open the DVD in a vacuum and put it in it's player, in a vacuum. :)

    Seriously though, unless these are recycleable, I hope they fail miserably. What a huge waste of resources. More crap to throw away. What irresponsibility. What happened to ethics? Corporate responsibility? I guess you save some gas not having to return them tho. It better be cheaper than renting, cuz I live a quarter mile from a blockbuster. I don't mind renting and returning every once in a while.

    More chemistry to think about: Is it the oxygen that bonds to the disc that makes the disc opaque? Or does it bind and pull whatever off the disc causing it to be unreadable, kind of like an oxygen wash? Would another chemical binding cause the disc to not be opaque and never fail? I'm no chemist, I only have a rudimentary understanding of the underlying forces. Your thoughts?
  • by m0ng0l (654467) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:43AM (#5978453)
    Would be samples of games for various systems. If they can get / keep the price down low enough (say under $5), this might work. See a new game for you PS2/XBox/GameCube/PC, but aren't sure you'll enjoy it enough to warrant dropping $40+? By the trial disk. You now have 48hrs to try the game. Probably wouldn't work as well / at all for the PC, as all I need to do is copy the disk, and then find a no-CD crack for it, and I never need to buy it, but might work for the consoles. However, for movies? No way. I thought DivX (the Circuit City one) blew chunks, and am glad it died a (fairly) quick death. Unless you either sell me these disks for under $2, OR give me a VERY large discount AT THE REGISTER when I buy a non-expiring copy of the same movie, I would not buy ANYTHING in this format. As I said, NO mail-in rebate crap, as I would not want to wait 3-4 months for a rebate. Jason A.
  • by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:43AM (#5978454)
    Hmmm... By leveraging innovative technologies, content providers streamline compelling enterprise solutions.

    And this is definitely a COMPELLING solution. The way I see it, every product should self destruct after 48 hours. Bought a computer? Well, a $2,000 computer should be the first thing to self destruct after 48 hours. The warranty card would read, "This warranty expires 47 hours and 59 minutes and 59 seconds and 999 milliseconds after you make up your mind to buy a computer, and not even this particular one!"

    Bought a new car? They should attach explosives all over the car... don't worry, 48 hours after leaving the dealership, a buzzing sound will alert you and your passengers that you must exit the vehicle, and then the car will drive itself under automated control to a safe part of the desert before exploding. And yes, you still have to pay off the financing for the new vehicle. In fact, dealers will be extra innovative in this respect: You'll simply subscribe to receive a new car every 48 hours and your bank account will simply be debited for the $25,000 or whatever the MSRP is for each occasion. If you don't have that amount of money at the bank, the dealer will provide an alley for you to prostitute yourself in order to earn the money. In fact, it will become federal LAW that you MUST prostitute yourself in order to pay for self-destructing products, as it is the God given right of multinational corporations to enjoy eternal perpetually increasing profits, and it will simultaneously be illegal to prostutute yourself, thus putting you in a situation that you will go to jail no matter what you do, and you will have to subscribe to a new "eMafia" protection service to avoid such arrest. It will obviously be illegal to bypass any devices that make the car blow up after 48 hours, and if you do so, you'll get more time in jail than a murderer or a rapist. In fact, to make the justice system more balanced in light of today's enormous piracy problems, murder charges and rape charges will be reduced to misdemeanors, because those crimes aren't all that bad, but if you God-forbid copy an album so you can perform the horrendous crime against humanity, a thousand times worse than any genocide this world has ever seen, the criminal act of listening to an album that you paid 20 bucks for... you should be beaten nearly to death but simultaneously kept alive, and tortured, and made to suffer the worst of all sufferings of the world combined and then some, because you are the dirtiest, slimiest, shittiest, more horrible criminal this world has ever seen, and shame on you.

    Oh yeah... Houses will be made to self destruct in 60 hours, to compensate for the fact that you need to move your belongings in before they self destruct.

  • by mib (132909) <mib@post.com> on Saturday May 17, 2003 @04:14AM (#5978900)

    This could be a great rental-fee saver for my friends and I.

    If I unseal the movie and watch it in 3 hours, it still has 45 hours of life left. I can then pass it on to someone else to watch because, unlike regular rentals, I don't have to trust them to return it.

    I have a feeling video stores are not going to like this. Or do they get the majority of their money from people without friends?

    - mib

  • Oh drats (Score:5, Funny)

    by drix (4602) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @05:12AM (#5979038) Homepage
    Damn! If only there existed some sort of device that would copy a DVD in less than 48 hours, a so-called 'DVD-copier'. May thee rot in the depths of technological hell, Flexplay Corporation and your cursed, foolproof technology.
  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @06:03AM (#5979132)
    I seriously doubt the trigger mechanism is gas-related. That would mean all one needs to do is spray, (as somebody already suggested), the disk with a plastic coating of some sort. 3M the disk into immortality. I'm sure a company charged with coming up with a paranoid scheme of self-destructing media is smart enough to out-wit the average Slashdotter armed with a spray can.

    I'm betting that the disk is made with photo-sensitive plastic, and that the envelope it comes in is sealed against light, not air.

    To activate the disk, (to make it readable), you probably need to let it expose for a while, (like a Polaroid snapshot), and then 48 hours later, after the initial exposure, the chemical photo-alters beyond the range readable by the average disk player.

    Not a bad system. --If you're a paranoid media company charged with keeping a stranglehold on knowledge.

    If you want to crack such a system, you'll need to own a computer with ripping software. Luckily, this will remain a possibility forever, since the National Security State wants people to remain distracted with all the dumb movies and bullshit media designed to keep their attention away from the actual important things going on in the world.

    The best way to lock down a geek? Give them a technical puzzle and 'forbid' them from solving it. You could sell pig-shit to a nerd if you encrypted it first.


    -FL

  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @06:54AM (#5979210)
    Somebody posted. . .

    I swear I must have paid more in late fees than I ever paid for video rentals. I bet I'm not alone. Late fees are an important revenue stream for video stores. Since there is no chance of them collecting late fees on these disposable disks, they will definitely have to charge each customer more per rental. And that's saying nothing about the actual cost of the disposable disk itself...

    --Which I think is an interesting point!

    Mind you, (when I last checked, and this was years ago), the average cost of a new video cassette of a recent movie release purchased by a video rental store was about $100. --All those rows of the latest Bruce Willis film represent a one or two thousand dollar investment for your local Schlock Buster. This expense will clearly not be an issue with a disposable medium.

    Which is interesting! The video rental market, if this meidum is adopted, will transform into something resembling the book or direct comics market, where disks are paid for by the retailer at a discount on the 'cover' price, which is then paid in full by the customer.

    --And here's the best part; There will probably be some system whereby disks are returnable after a set period of time if they don't sell. (Talk about time-sensitive media!) Which means that the selection in the average video store will become even worse. Yay for that. Now, more than ever, our media libraries will be as limited as people's memories. People will watch what they are directed to watch. (You can have your car in any color, so long as it's black.)

    Hopefully, this will only spur on the media pirate market, which will almost certainly NOT sell self-destructing media. --In this sense, China is a good example of the free market driving in a sensible direction. Go out to a Chinese mall sometime and look at the pricing scheme on DVD's and VCD's. Pirating is rampant, with stolen disks costing only about $5 each. Strangely enough, the official media companies, (in Asia at any rate), don't seem to be suffering much, still making lots of movies with huge sales. --They have been able to compete, selling new and offical disks for about $8. Which would you rather own? A half-assed copy or a well made real copy for a couple of dollars more? Instead of buying no DVD's when I last visited a mall, I bought 4, one of which was an official disk. That's exactly $8 more than I would have normally spent.

    And this is exactly the way a free market is supposed to work! Pirating is the American way. Too bad the American is no longer the American way. --Through state sanctioned monopolies and the whiney, patent-based outlawing of competetion, the US has managed to become a communist state, (and without any of the benefits of communism, no less!)

    What a joke.


    -FL

  • This will never fly, (Score:3, Interesting)

    by imadork (226897) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @08:14AM (#5979374) Homepage
    many people have commented on various methods to make the disc last longer. Spraying chemicals in a vaccum, or other methods.

    They may be outside the capability of the average consumer, but if anyone figures out a way of doing it cost-effectively in volume, then there's a business opportunity there;
    Step 1: buy a self-destructing rental for $5,
    Step 2: run it through your process which you've got down to $4/disc
    Step 3: sell it for $15.
    Step 4: Profit!

    Sure, it may be of dubious legality, and will be made definitively illegal in the U.S.. But that will not stop some shady organizations from trying to espablish a huge grey market in the U.S. or elsewhere!

    You think that's unrealistic? Well, disposable camera producers are fighting a similar problem. Disposable cameras typically get returned to the manufacturer for recycling. But several "businesses" started buying used camera bodies for $.10 each directly from photo developing places and re-loading them with film and re-selling them on the grey market. The big disposable camera producers are pissed off about this and fire off lawsuits left and right when they find someone doing this, but there's not much more they can do. Everyone involved is just trying to make a profit: the manufacturer can try to buy back the camera at $.15, but someone will offer $.20, and how much profit do you thing those camera manufacturers really make per unit?

  • by Zathras11 (628385) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @08:16AM (#5979379)
    It worked with DivX. The reason that failed
    was that MOST people avoided it. If you ever
    see a product you want that is only available
    in this new EZ-D format, contact the company
    and tell them that you are not only not buying
    it, but that you will not buy any of their
    other products either, until they stop using
    that system. When enough of us do that, they
    will have a simple choice; stop using the
    system and have out money, or continue to use
    that system and NOT have our money. I believe
    that like DivX, they will choose our money...
  • Sweet! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Vidiot3k (612026) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (ttehctapleoj)> on Saturday May 17, 2003 @08:19AM (#5979391)
    This sounds great! Just imagine, no more late pornos! Don't you just hate it when you've got your S.O. at the rental place and they ask for a late fee on "Lesbo Love Fest #69"
  • by ediron2 (246908) * on Saturday May 17, 2003 @08:56AM (#5979478) Journal
    Wouldn't it be the funniest thing if the countermeasure for this special degrading coating was to...
    Put some windex on it ?

    Seriously, does anyone think that some little startup has so completely exhausted the realm of human knowledge in proving there are no countermeasures? I doubt it.

    There's nothing like 5 billion people looking for a Something-for-Nothing win to subvert a concept like this.

  • by Peale (9155) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @10:07AM (#5979738) Homepage Journal
    A lot of people are speculating that exposure to air is what will cause these disks to cease working. My hypothesis would be an exposure to light.

    After being exposed to light, the disk then takes approximately 48 hours for the chemical agent to cure. It's probably some derivative of silver nitrate (used in photographs) and will opaque the disk, and the laser will then be unable to read it.

    Just my .02
  • by Whatchamacallit (21721) on Saturday May 17, 2003 @01:51PM (#5980753) Homepage

    Yup, as others have posted, here is a list of things that this would be useful for.

    1. Mail Order DVD movies on the cheap.
    2. DVD Vending Machines
    3. Buy a disposable DVD at the video store instead of renting get's you a quality disc that isn't scratched so it won't skip! (this really pisses me off when I rent DVD's).
    4. Cheaper for video stores to stock more copies!
    5. No more late fees!
    6. Hotels could save money and offer more choices by selling disposible DVD's instead of video on demand pay per view. Basic DVD players are cheap too.

    Seems like a good idea to me. Just make sure they don't degrade until you open the package and it's OK with me.

    This won't kill the regular DVD's that are for sale.

    Not so great for video games as you generally want more time then 48 hours. But I don't rent games to play to win. I rent to try it out before I buy it. If it sucks, I don't buy a copy. If I find I really like the game I buy it. There's a whole lot of crappola PS2 titles out there so I've been burned before and I don't have time to read all the reviews and keep up on the latest one hit wonder game title. I also don't have 48 hours to play the game non-stop, I have a job and girlfriend so that's out.

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