May 21, 2003


Okay, so nobody bought into the Divx idea from a few years ago. The idea was that you would buy a DVD disc for only three or four dollars, but it would only play in a Divx player (which, of course, cost hundreds). The Divx player would start a timer as soon as you watched the movie. For 48 hours, you could watch the movie as many times as you wanted. After that, the player would lock the disc and refuse to play it. You could buy another block of time for another three dollars (with a phone line and a credit card), and watch it again. This was apparently the DVD industry’s answer to rental chains. The idea, of course, crashed and burned, the company went out of business, and all those Divx discs are now locked forever.

Time passed, a new civilization was built on the ruins of the old, and everything passed into legend.

Now, three whole years later, they’re trying to make the mistake again. But this time with a twist! Disney has announced that they are going to sell DVD discs that will self-destruct, and I mean literally, chemically degrade, after 48 hours of exposure to oxygen. It comes in an airtight package, and opening it starts the death march. After its time is up the disc turns black and is basically trash. It’s the DVD equivalent of a styrofoam cup. I never thought I’d see an idea worse than Divx, but here it is. This actually makes Divx look like a stroke of genius by comparison. I had to check and double-check the date on the article to make sure it isn’t an April Fool’s joke. But, it looks like the technology’s been around for a few years. And the fact that it’s Disney who is the first to put it to use? Does not surprise me one bit.

This plan will fail just as badly as Divx. And I’ve got a whole jar of I Told You So that I’m saving for that day.

Hat tip: The Head Lemur

Filed under The Computer Vet Weblog

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