Anyone else finding just a few too many old DVDs just don't work any more?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by 93curr, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. 93curr

    93curr Senior Member Thread Starter

    First it was a disc in 'The Wire' set that just wouldn't load, so I had to re-buy the whole season box. Then it was the Criterion 'Gate Of Flesh' that just stopped working. And I know damn well that, just as soon as I re-buy that, it'll be announced as a BluRay upgrade. Just last week I discovered that two discs in the second season of 'Veronica Mars' wouldn't play and neither would one of the discs in season one of 'Big Love.' And that's in multiple players! I've only had one CD that inexplicably stopped playing (that I know of) and a handful that began to show corruption through bronzing. Now I'm finding that DVDs seem to be even less reliable. TV shows especially, it seems.
    chilinvilin likes this.
  2. MYKE

    MYKE Analog Upstairs, Digital Downstairs

    Haven't experienced it yet, but with thousands of DVDs in my collection, you're scaring me. :sweating:
  3. I've had NEW discs not work for example the first disc in the Castle season one set. I'm assuming it was due to some encoding or software issues.

    Could it be a problem with the laser in your player?

    Which titles besides these have you had issues with?
    klockwerk likes this.
  4. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    I would suspect the player. We have full sets of Buffy The Vampire Slayer that we bought when they were first released, now one of the Season 6 discs will not load. My first conclusion was that the disc was damaged - we've had the sets for years and watched them frequently - but I tested them with other devices and the only player that won't play them is our LG Blu-ray player, which is relatively new. The DVD player that we used primarily when we bought them plays them OK, and computer DVD drives play them. There is no visible damage to the disc. The Blu-ray player has problems with a few other old DVD's as well - problems forwarding and selecting scenes. I just live with it and look forward to the day when I can replace the Bly-ray player - the LG is a refub and was simply the cheapest thing we could get at the time. It plays all Blu-ray discs flawlessly but has issues with some DVD's.
  5. babyblue

    babyblue Forum Resident

    Pacific NW
    The only time this has happened to me was with an early pressing of Psycho, one of the first DVDs I bought. It played fine when I first got it, but I pulled it out a few years ago and it wouldn't play on any player or computer. Fortunately, the new version was cheap and even had more extras than the old disc.
  6. 93curr

    93curr Senior Member Thread Starter

    Nope - the same discs won't play in the BluRay player, the DVD player and on the computer. Won't even load the menu.

    That's all I've come across so far (for the past five or six years, it's the BluRays that have gotten the most use), but I'm a little scared to pull out all of the thousands of discs I have to check them all one by one. By the time I got to the end, I'd need to start at the beginning again.
  7. rstamberg

    rstamberg Senior Member

    Riverside, CT
    The only time I've ever had any issues with my 11-year-old Sony DVD player was when I tried to play a DVD+R on it ... so I reloaded it and it played just fine.
  8. guppy270

    guppy270 Forum Resident

    Levittown, NY
    I know this doesn't exactly address your concern, because your discs aren't playing on any platform....but I'm finding that a lot of my DVDs which play fine on my old, regular DVD player will not play at all on our new Blu-Ray. Maybe it is more sensitive? For some of the DVDs, they play in the Blu-Ray only after a VERY rigorous cleaning (but they play fine in the old DVD player no matter what)
    Jimmy B. likes this.
  9. Thurenity

    Thurenity Listening to some tunes

    This is how I'd test: use the computer as a baseline, as you just want to make sure the disc actually loads onto the drive at all - in Explorer (if you use Windows), see if the drive letter shows the disc and if there's at least a "VIDEO_TS" folder there. If so, then at least the disc is readable.

    I usually use my Lite-on drive + VLC as my baseline for discs. If they work there, then I know they work and that it could be the DVD/BD player having some issues potentially (if the problem is that the menu itself isn't even loading). Also keep in mind that your BD player has required firmware updates on occasion for new BD titles, and that in itself might be causing issues with DVD titles.

    You could also do a disc test on your PC, if the disc is readable. I've used an old tool called CDReader (free) to do disc checks, or DVDInfoPro if you want to pay a few bucks.
    Vidiot likes this.
  10. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident

    I'd say 6 percent of the DVD I bought 12+ years ago have developed rot.
    chilinvilin likes this.
  11. Jerry Horne

    Jerry Horne The Division Bell 1994|25|2019

    West Coast
    Yep, my Cable Guy flipper just died on the widescreen side. Had to upgrade to Blu.
  12. RockWizard

    RockWizard Forum Resident

    Outside of burned discs, the only ones I've had trouble with are ones I salvaged from my flooded house. Some work, some do not. And visible look isn't always a sure fire thing saying they will work.
  13. lugnut2099

    lugnut2099 Forum Resident

    I've never had a problem except with a couple of older dual-layer DVDRs, and those came from a batch of discs that was bad from the get-go, so I was surprised they even lasted as long as they did. Otherwise all my regular DVDR discs are still fine, even ones going back as far as 2004, and I don't think I've ever had a pressed disc go bad except for one of those infamous Universal DVD-18 discs. (Though someone mentioned Psycho and I recall reading a few years back that it and a handful of other early Universal DVDs - ones which aren't DVD-18s - were developing problems.)
  14. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    I'm not convinced DVD "rot" exists per se. My suspicion is that they were just always marginally defective, and the player has drifted in terms of tracking over time to the point where it can't play it after X number of years.

    Wikipedia does have an entry for a general "Disc Rot":

    but they're vague as to the causes beyond oxidation. In the case of Laserdiscs, discs rotted because they were a "sandwich": two disc sides glued together. In some cases, the glue had a chemical reaction with the aluminum reflective layer over time, eating it away in a sulfer-like reaction until the laser could no longer reflect off the layer, rending it unplayable. CDs rot due to chemical reactions with the label inks used on the top side to identify the disc; over time, they eat into the reflective layer, and the same problem happens. But I haven't seen this happen with DVDs. They told us at the press conference launch for DVD in March 1997 that the top side was given a thick laquer coating intended to be a buffer between the label and the reflective layer. (They... "said.")

    My advice would be to simply try a different player or a DVD drive and see if the disc can still be played or ripped.
    Dan C and SandAndGlass like this.
  15. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    clean the faulty DVDs with 91 % Alcohol...
  16. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    what does the rot look like?
  17. Rachael Bee

    Rachael Bee Miembra muy loca

    None of the DVD's that I've had go bad had any outward signs. Most of the DVD's that have failed on me would play the first layer but not the second one. My first copy of The Apostle just quit playing period. If the second layer quits, that's delamination. The layers move apart and the second layer is always screwed up. Maybe it's the same thing on wholly unplayable ones but bad enough to screw up the first layer....?
  18. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    nothing lasts forever, but it would be nice if they lasted the buyers lifetime.
  19. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    As are DVDs.

    In CD the information layer is just under the silk-screen (data layer at essentially 1.2 mm into the disc), but in DVD the information layer is in the middle of the disc (data layer at 0.6 mm into the disc). Both CDs and DVDs are 1.2 mm thick. Blu-Ray is like the inverse of CD, the data layer is just under the front face of the disk.
  20. Thurenity

    Thurenity Listening to some tunes

    I've never heard of this, but then again DVD's are only a ~17 year old format, so its long-term shelf life is still TBD.

    Even more of a reason to rip the ones I still have left. Too bad it's illegal in the US (thanks to the DMCA). :crazy:
  21. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    Yes, they did change this with Blu-ray, after realizing that the metalized reflective layer is put to much too much risk in CD and DVD. They also changed the chemistry of DVD-R from CD-R, and changed it again when they made BD-R discs, so "in theory," those are actually more stable than the CD-R format in terms of longevity. I still don't trust 'em for long term storage.

    At least with a big hard drive-based server, you can back the whole thing up in a single step (roughly 4 hours per TB with a reasonable i/o connection); if your library is spread out over 1000 DVDs or Blu-ray discs, it'll take you hundreds of hours to insert each disc into a drive and hit a button in order to copy it.
  22. 93curr

    93curr Senior Member Thread Starter

    Found another one :( - discs one and two of 'Six Feet Under' season five won't load any more. I know I played this less than a year ago and it was fine.

    I wonder why it seems to be affecting TV show box sets more than films? Is it possible its the packaging? There's no sign of any crystallizing or bronzing.
  23. Rachael Bee

    Rachael Bee Miembra muy loca

    I only got to watch The Apostle once. Then, it sat comfortably on a shelf for about 2 years and replay day came and no play. I only got to watch my Tombstone Vista Series DVD once. It sat for about a year and then only the top layer played OK. The second layer played but it started freezing and skipping all over, as far as I went. I had two copies of Contact do pretty much the same. I don't know how many DVD's out of my 1000+ collection have gone bad but it's over 10....that I know of. I have so many discs that sit and sit.
  24. autodidact

    autodidact Forum Resident

    Just opened a brand new copy of Woody Allen's Curse Of The Jade Scorpion that's been sitting sealed on the shelf for a few years. It played glitchy on my computer -- I never play movies on a DVD player anymore. The disc looked perfect, but since it ripped perfectly, I made a dupe just in case there will be further deterioration down the road. Weird. I've not had this happen before with a new disc, or even an undamaged old disc before. It's a shame. I thought DVD would be "perfect video forever." Ha!
  25. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    You assume the DVD-ROM drive in the computer does not age or change over time. My experience is that they all fall apart within 3-4 years, and none of them are made to last very long anymore. The worst are the thin 9mm DVD-ROM drives used in most laptops, which are even flakier in terms of performance, speed, and reliability.

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