An interesting rant, but I have a simple issue with DVDs: Scratches.

You're sitting at home watching a DVD you rented or got for free from the library, and all of the sudden, you're in a completely different part of the movie. DVD skipping is abrupt and seamless--there's no pop, flicker or other transistion like there is with a record, say.

It takes a few seconds to register this, and when you do, you're completely baffled. The only solution is to go back to the chapter where you were, fast forward to the spot where it skipped, and try to jump past it. If you're really into the movie this is completely disruptive. At least with a videotape the picture may suck but the linear flow of the movie is usually not interrupted if it works at all.

I know this wouldn't be a problem if I purchased all my own DVDs--but most movies I don't want to own, I just want to watch. We've made a habit of checking rental DVDs for scratches before leaving the video store, but that only helps if they have an extra copy available. Also, we've changed video stores, and the new one (a chain--not Blockbuster) seems to be better about scratchy DVDs.

Of course, I wonder what people do to DVDs to scratch them--I envision a lot of using them as coasters, touching them with their grimy paws, leaving them on top of the DVD player out of their case, etc. If you're doing this with your rental DVDs, just stop it, okay?

My problem with DVDs is also (per this node), scratches (although there are fine products that you let snap in and spin the disk, usually with some mystic fluid and a rotating brush that scrubs the scratches away), but my primary "gripe" for DVDs is ... "DVD Spam". And packaging. Packaging's a problem as well.

When I rent or buy a new release, inevitably I find pushing "Play" or “Menu” produces the circle-with-a-slash icon that means "Nope, you can't do that" and the DVD douses you with previews for movies to next rent or buy, and sometimes you get to watch advertisements. You have no control over it. My young daughter will sometimes look at me and ask "Dad, can we play the movie now?" with a furrowed brow and expectant look on her face. I have to say "No sweet, we we ihave/i to watch these first." I think at some level it damages her young mind from believing we have some degree of control over our lives, and I see her spirit wither...

And seemingly due to the precedent set by CDs, just OPENING a new DVD can be a 10 minute endeavor. I once bought a bargain DVD for $10 that required me to: 1) Remove the plastic wrap around the box; 2) Rip open the box and remove the DVD; 3) Tear off another plastic wrap around the DVD case; and 4) Remove (count ‘em) THREE plastic security strips sealing each edge of the case. I’ve seen organ-transplant coolers that had less security. Inside there was one of those RFI tags so you can’t just walk out the store with this valuable commodity. In case those DVD-wrapping folks hadn’t noticed, it's a TEN DOLLAR item! When I bought my HOUSE the realtor just threw me the keys and I walked in. I didn’t have to unbox the house and tear off various plastic strips sealing the doors and windows.

That said, I still buy the things, and I still rent them. I have a lot, and I have to wonder about that sometimes.

Now, back to my DVD movie…

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