Aug 20 2016

HD-DVD Collecting Problems – Optical Disc Decay

I’ve written before about how I have somehow got interested in collecting HD-DVD format films. They are a cheap way to get a high quality film experience that, while not as good as modern Blu-Ray, is still better than a standard DVD.

It is, however, a dead format, and has been since 2008. All the major films that will ever be released on the format have been, and they are out there in the wild waiting to be snagged by a person who would want them, but you aren’t getting anything past 2007 on the format. That’s fine with me, I only want films on the format for the sake of it anyway, but the selection is somewhat limited – mainly to Universal and Warner, the two main studios that supported the format.

Now, all the films I own as of writing this happen to be Universal films. Not problem there, the library is great and I have had quite a fun time watching the films, but of course I want more films, and many of those waiting to be ordered are Warner films.

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This shouldn’t be an issue under any normal circumstance, but apparently there is a problem with Warner produced HD-DVD’s: they don’t age well at all. In fact, the discs seem to be so poorly produced that they actually are beginning, in some cases, to disintegrate in their cases!

If you have ever left a CD-R in poor conditions, you will have seen it start to break down – the substrate and the polymer that make up the disc slowly separating, ruining the data on it. Well, it would seem like Warner produced HD-DVD’s go through the same thing on their own, the reflective coating and the bonding agent simply decaying away over time, leaving the disc unusable. This isn’t due to poor treatment, either – it seems most any disc will do it for most any reason!

It’s amazing to think an optical disc format as recent as this would suffer such a major problem, but it seems they do, as the video below shows. I’m quite glad I saw this, since the ebay seller I order movies from sells, in most every case, sealed copies of the films, so there is no way without her opening it to know if a disc you order will be in poor shape or not.

I have read a bit on this happening from other sources, and while some people seem to have no issue with any films, others, like the YouTube user below, seem to have some major issues at times with Warner discs.

This is one of those things that makes me somewhat wary on ordering such discs at all in the future – I would like to be able to watch and keep the films for as long as possible, and the thought of having sealed films be sent to me that have such happening is quite a nightmare. The seller I buy from has no negative feedback about discs in this condition, though, so I may be safe ordering from her, at least, for the foreseeable future.

In any case, check out the video below. Like I said, I’m glad I learned of this before I ordered some Warner discs.


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