Friday, January 26, 2007

Netflix Discs

So, we received a DVD in the Stargate: Atlantis season 1 series, and it arrived too scratched to watch (it causes my DVD player to say "disk dirty" and will not eject until I power-cycle it. My attempts at cleaning aren't any help (I have some micro-fiber cleaning cloths which usually do the trick, or if there is something sticky on it the dish soap trick sometimes works, but this one is badly scuffed).

Isaac procrastinated for a while but eventually reported it damaged, so we got a new copy. This one, however, was cracked.

It's really hard to actually break a CD or DVD. I wonder how it happens?

The business model for Netflix is built around their ability to send DVDs through regular U.S. Mail in only a paper envelope and a Tyvek sleeve. It seems to generally work, although we have received at least three or four disks that were broken. I wonder if the DVDs are more vulnerable to cracking during the cold winter months?

I wonder if they have a third copy. I wonder how they manage to replace broken disks that are part of boxed sets. And I wonder how many viewings they get out of a typical DVD. Did they accurately predict the rate at which their inventory would become unusable? It would be an interesting case study.

Followup: a third DVD of the same series (season 1, disc 2 of Stargate: Atlantis) also arrived unplayable due to scratches. I wrote to Netflix:

My son has received three unplayable copies of Stargate: Atlantis season 1 disc 2 in a row. The first was extremely scratched, the second was broken, and the third was a different copy that was also too scratched to play. The problem is not our DVD player -- it is very rare to find a disc that is so scratched it won't play. I cleaned the discs and that did not help.

Can we get a partial refund for our account for this month (for Isaac's queue)? I realize Netflix can't prevent broken DVDs, but they can pull extremely scratched copies out of circulation. Three bad copies of the same movie in a row is getting ridiculous. Thank you.

We'll see what they say!

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