Disposable DVDs are Dumped

If you shop at H-E-B (and if you're a Texan, you probably do) you may have noticed the EZ-Ds (link to Flashturbated website omitted) display at the checkout. These are the "48-hour DVDs" that self-destruct upon exposure to air.

Wired News is reporting that H-E-B is terminating the EZ-Ds experiment early. Good riddance, I say.

There was significant concern about the environmental impact of the use-once-and-discard discs. The EZ-Ds manufacturer tried to fight some of the backlash by setting up a return program for the expired discs.

I'm also concerned about what the EZ-Ds represent with respect to our ability to own and use digital media. The manufacturer, a division of Disney, tried to position EZ-Ds as an alternate to renting. The studios, however, would love nothing more than a video scheme that offers them complete control over use. Imagine how much happier the entertainment industry would be if all CDs and DVDs self-destructed within a few days. EZ-Ds represent a step in that direction.

This isn't the first time the entertainment industry has tried to place stringent controls on the use of video media. Several years ago, the industry tried to push the DIVX video disc over the then fledgling DVD standard. They liked DIVX because you had to keep paying fees in order to use their discs. Video fans, fortunately, saw right through it, and that scheme died.

The EZ-Ds are still available around town. Hopefully the other sellers will follow suit. This is just a bad idea that should be scrapped like a 48-hour video disc.

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re: Disposable DVDs are Dumped

I dunno, I think a significant move in the direction of self-destructing DVDs and especially CDs could easily backfire. Unless the industry found a way to add a highly effective copy protection scheme to self-destructing discs, the natural public response would be to make copies immediately upon purchasing them. Even people who don't think of themselves as pirates could rationalize making copies as insurance against the possibility that the discs would self-destruct before we got around to watching them. And the growing number of people who are pissed at media companies would take the move to self-destructing discs as a provocation and a challenge.

re: Disposable DVDs are Dumped

Meanwhile back in Redmond, DRM and hardware-level controls are quietly being built into your next generation WinTel boxen.

Never mind us, we're just going to gouge out your eyes and replace 'em with chips that require our auth codes to work.

You'll be able to rent 'em back from us as long as you like...