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Dot pattern on Blu-ray Disc signals defect (Source: AVS Forum user "Venom5")
Copies of "The Prestige" on Blu-ray Disc suffer from manufacturing defect

A small group of Blu-ray Disc owners have discovered a manufacturing defect in the disc that renders the media virtually unplayable. As noted by members of the AVS Forum, the movie most commonly affected by the defect is The Prestige, from Buena Vista Home Entertainment (BVHE).

The defect is immediately visible to the naked eye and appears as a pattern of dots on the reflective surface of the disc. Users are reporting that the surface of the unplayable discs is still smooth to the touch, indicating that the defect is occurring beneath the top coating.

Other forum participants reported that their copies of Stranger Than Fiction, The Departed and Gone in 60 Seconds also suffer from the same defect.

Upon DailyTech’s inquiries to BVHE regarding a defective batch of The Prestige, a representative said that the company was not aware of any specific defects regarding its Blu-ray Disc titles.

A Sony Pictures Blu-ray Disc engineer was privy to more information, posting to the forum, “I did some checking on this issue and found out that this is an isolated case with a limited number of discs affected from one title. Apparently there was some sort of impurity that was mixed in with a batch of material used for this production run and it was [simply] a fluke. [Your] Blu-ray library is safe.”

Members of the forum who were affected by the flaw said that they received postage-paid envelopes from BVHE to return their discs. One had already received a response from BVHE that a replacement will be sent out as soon as possible.



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*cough* *cough*
By KiDDGuY on 6/21/07, Rating: 0
RE: *cough* *cough*
By TomZ on 6/21/2007 8:45:11 AM , Rating: 3
Most engineers I know are honest to a fault. I find it hard to believe any reasonable engineer would give such an assessment, considering there is no way he/she could possibly have a handle on the entire scope of that problem.

I think that the engineer in question was given the statement by Sony management and asked to present it in order to get some credibility. Otherwise everyone would immediately recognize it as the corporate bull that it is. Too bad for Sony that many consumers are onto these kinds of games.


RE: *cough* *cough*
By KiDDGuY on 6/21/07, Rating: 0
RE: *cough* *cough*
By porkpie on 6/21/2007 11:00:56 AM , Rating: 4
> I think that the engineer in question was given the statement by Sony management and asked to present

In every company I know, engineers are not allowed to give statements at all, unless those statements have first been cleared by marketing and/or legal first.


RE: *cough* *cough*
By glenn8 on 6/21/2007 11:14:35 AM , Rating: 3
Though we probably don't know the whole story, I doubt the engineer had any reason to lie. Usually if it's something bad, you wouldn't hear anything at all and we would just get a statement from the PR team.


RE: *cough* *cough*
By hubajube on 6/21/2007 11:39:15 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Usually if it's something bad, you wouldn't hear anything at all and we would just get a statement from the PR team.
And the PR team could get one of their engineers to make a pre-approved statement.


RE: *cough* *cough*
By greenchasch on 6/21/2007 11:42:38 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I doubt the engineer had any reason to lie
You mean, besides protecting his job?

Sorry but I don't put any stock in a quote by an anonymous engineer afraid to even give his name. When his statements of it being limited to one title are contradicted by the facts, I give it less credence.

Either he's lying, or he's just flat wrong. No other possibility.


RE: *cough* *cough*
By glenn8 on 6/21/2007 12:19:56 PM , Rating: 2
Mistakes happen all the time, no one gets fired over it unless it was obvious gross negligence. Lying and getting caught would do more harm than just saying nothing at all.


RE: *cough* *cough*
By porkpie on 6/21/2007 12:41:11 PM , Rating: 2
Read the news. You can find thousands of cases of companies screwing up, then trying to minimize the problem in their public comments, or even a flat-out coverup. Why do you think we have whistleblower laws?

Its not an uncommon practice. In some companies, its the normal practice.


RE: *cough* *cough*
By glenn8 on 6/21/2007 12:57:55 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not talking about companies covering up issues. That's what the PR department is for. I'm talking about an engineer. There is zero benefits for him/her to come out and give a false assessment. Maybe he/she is wrong, but that's not lying. I'm not sure how professional engineers work everywhere, but in Canada (Ontario) they are held to strict ethical practices and can risk losing their license if found guilty of falsifying information.


RE: *cough* *cough*
By porkpie on 6/21/2007 1:06:37 PM , Rating: 2
Making an anonymous report to some reporter is not "falsifying official information in your professional capacity". There's no law or ethical bar from any engineer feeding a reporter a line.


RE: *cough* *cough*
By glenn8 on 6/21/2007 1:16:30 PM , Rating: 2
You're right, but that was just a second point I added on. The first point still remains that I just don't see the benefit of it. It's not like this is even such a big issue that Sony (or one of their "engineers") needs to make deliberately false statements for damage control. Defects in products are common. My take on this is that some "engineer" saw people complaining and tried to ease them by giving his "assessment" on the matter. Whether the assessment was accurate is another matter.


RE: *cough* *cough*
By porkpie on 6/21/2007 1:33:46 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not saying he definitely lied. I'm just saying you certainly can't discount the possibility. Yes, this is a little issue now. But little issues sometimes blow up fast. And in the case of a new product in the middle of a format war, even a little explosion could be killer.

Maybe this engineer just incorrectly "assessed the situation". Or maybe Sony's PR department has issued instructions as to what to say if contacted by the media. (my own company does this on a regular basis). Or maybe it was his own screwup here, and he wants to minimize the fallout.

Or most likely of all, he knows his job security is tied heavily to the success of the format, and he is conciously or unconsciously letting that influence his statements.

We just don't know at this point.


RE: *cough* *cough*
By christojojo on 6/21/2007 1:13:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
they are held to strict ethical practices and can risk losing their license if found guilty of falsifying information.


So are Doctors, Teachers, Psychiatrists...


RE: *cough* *cough*
By OrSin on 6/21/2007 2:46:54 PM , Rating: 2
Engineers are not licensed. At least not engineers for this type of job. The license that exist for engineer are fire protection and civil and still their is no review board for them after they pass the test for thier area (state level not national test) Most states they dont even need to take test in for these either.


RE: *cough* *cough*
By ziggo on 6/21/2007 4:07:08 PM , Rating: 2
Seeing as how I just took the Fundamentals Of Engineering Exam, which is a nationally administered test, and now must spend 5 years under a licensed engineer before I can sit for the Professional Engineering exam, I think you don't know what you are talking about.

Everyone who gets a degree doesn't have to licensed to work, but guaranteed the guy who eventually signs off on their work is.

And yes, licensed professional engineers are held to a very strict ethical standard. This guy may or may not have been licensed.


RE: *cough* *cough*
By HVAC on 6/21/2007 5:15:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Everyone who gets a degree doesn't have to licensed to work, but guaranteed the guy who eventually signs off on their work is.


Nope. Only in certain industries and sometimes only for certain things is this a requirement. Need for a licensed professional engineer is not necessary for most things.


RE: *cough* *cough*
By porkpie on 6/21/2007 6:36:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Seeing as how I just took the Fundamentals Of Engineering Exam, which is a nationally administered test, and now must spend 5 years under a licensed engineer before I can sit for the Professional Engineering exam, I think you don't know what you are talking about
He DOES know what he's talking about. You don't need to be a licensed PE to work as an engineer for Sony, or some random company pressing Blu Ray discs.

You're wrong; he's right. Your engineering credentials don't change that.


RE: *cough* *cough*
By TomZ on 6/22/2007 12:00:25 AM , Rating: 2
I'm a working engineer for more than 15 years - no PE here, and my work has never been checked by a PE. I've been the team leader and/or Sr. Engineer in nearly every position I ever held. So much for your theory. I think you got sold a bill of goods by the training and license administration companies.


RE: *cough* *cough*
By Chernobyl68 on 6/21/2007 11:52:01 AM , Rating: 2
I would tend to agree. Assuming the enginer is licensed in the US, there are ethical and legal standards to maintain.


RE: *cough* *cough*
By rcc on 6/22/2007 1:29:57 PM , Rating: 2
If he's a member of the human race there are ethical standards to be maintained.

Or maybe I'm just too old.


RE: *cough* *cough*
By mindless1 on 6/21/2007 12:39:24 PM , Rating: 2
It would be ridiculous to think the engineer had no reason to put a misleading spin on things (if it weren't an outright lie or deliberately optimistic guess). Engineers are not quite like some ideal of goverment funded scientists in a free country, without any repercussions. More like, he was expressly prohibited from any discussion on the topic unless cleared to state specific things. This typically means you hire people with some technical, engineering background for a more effective PR department.


RE: *cough* *cough*
By mindless1 on 6/21/2007 12:35:46 PM , Rating: 2
Honest until their participation in a public forum is essentially a PR measure, at which point they are severely limited in disclosure to what they are allowed to state.


RE: *cough* *cough*
By Samus on 6/21/2007 2:54:48 PM , Rating: 2
time will tell


RE: *cough* *cough*
By Ard on 6/21/07, Rating: -1
A Sony Pictures Blu-ray Disc engineer says...
By Marlin1975 on 6/21/2007 7:54:16 AM , Rating: 1
"A Sony Pictures Blu-ray Disc engineer says it is safe. Please keep buying sony goods. At sony we are perfect, if anything breaks, its your fault."

Just like all the other sony stuff that has been recalled THIS one is isolated. But is that not what they said about the digital cameras, batteries, etc… ???




By therealnickdanger on 6/21/2007 8:11:46 AM , Rating: 2
This may very well be true, however. HD-DVD had a batch-wide problem with "Children of Men" when it first came out. They sent defect owners new copies.

One does have to wonder, though, if these new formats will be as durable as DVD has been.


RE: A Sony Pictures Blu-ray Disc engineer says...
By xsilver on 6/21/2007 10:19:12 AM , Rating: 2
dvd's are durable? are you sure?

try using one out of a case for a week and theres a good chance it will skip somewhere.

if you want durable, try something like minidisc - dropped one, stepped on it, cracked the plastic - still plays fine.


By mindless1 on 6/21/2007 12:33:13 PM , Rating: 2
Yes don't be ridiculous, the lower density is obviously more durable (try doing same intentional abuse test with Blue-Ray, otherwise your idea is nonsensical).


RE: A Sony Pictures Blu-ray Disc engineer says...
By porkpie on 6/21/2007 10:58:36 AM , Rating: 2
The Problem with Children of Men was just a mastering problem, not an issue with the discs themselves. This could (potentially) be far more serious, if it indicates a problem with long-term longevity of BD discs.


By therealnickdanger on 6/21/2007 2:36:40 PM , Rating: 4
I know the CoM issue was mastering, but it just goes to show that these guys all make some mistakes. This is the first such report from the BD camp, therefore making it isolated - like the CoM problem.

If you know anything about how these discs are produced, you would know that there is nothing unreasonable in Sony's explanation. This does NOT indicate a long-term problem, but rather an immediate quality-control issue. Don't spread FUD.

As far as DVD not being reliable or long-lived... WTF? Who leaves their discs out of the cases all the time? Why is that even counted as a strike against durability? I still have all my DVDs from when the format first LAUNCHED and they work perfectly. I'm sorry if your (xsilver) DVDs are broken, but try not to use them as coasters or frisbees.


By BladeVenom on 6/21/2007 8:12:29 AM , Rating: 2
He said it was isolated to one title, then three more titles pop up with the same problem. He just lost his credibility.

Maybe the layer protecting the read side is too thin, and is letting oxygen slowly through. One of the advantages that the HD DVD camp claimed early on was that it's read layer is protected between two solid layers of plastic like a DVD.


By SiliconAddict on 6/21/2007 10:15:37 AM , Rating: 3
Or maybe all the titles were pressed at the same plant? Maybe there was a bad batch of media? Maybe, maybe, maybe. I'm a fan of HD DVD but speculation without any facts is counter productive and is simply FUDish. *shrugs* Either way at some point we will find out if this occurs on more titles.


RE: A Sony Pictures Blu-ray Disc engineer says...
By hubajube on 6/21/2007 11:35:59 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Other forum participants reported that their copies of Stranger Than Fiction, The Departed and Gone in 60 Seconds also suffer from the same defect.
Sounds like more than one title to me. Try reading the article next time.


RE: A Sony Pictures Blu-ray Disc engineer says...
By tacorly on 6/21/2007 11:52:54 AM , Rating: 2
Try reading his post, dumbass. He didn't say it was isolated to one title but isolated to one batch of media materials in one plant. I'm sure they aren't making a separate plant for each title they plan to bulk produce.


RE: A Sony Pictures Blu-ray Disc engineer says...
By porkpie on 6/21/2007 12:13:48 PM , Rating: 2
Before you call someone a dumbass, you should read the article yourself:

quote:
...I did some checking on this issue and found out that this is an isolated case with a limited number of discs affected from one title.
Does that foot taste good?


By geddarkstorm on 6/21/2007 12:21:39 PM , Rating: 1
I suggest you read what the THREAD is about before you post next time!

"Or maybe all the titles were pressed at the same plant?"

Hubajob missed that in his reply.


By hubajube on 6/21/2007 4:20:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Either way at some point we will find out if this occurs on more titles.
This is what I responded to. We ALREADY know this problem occurs on more than one title. Hence, the "read the article" comment.


By BladeVenom on 6/21/2007 3:11:00 PM , Rating: 2
Bad batches are certainly possible, but Gone in 60 Seconds came out for Blu-ray in October 2006, eight months ago which is four months before those other titles came out.


RE: A Sony Pictures Blu-ray Disc engineer says...
By alifbaa on 6/21/2007 8:14:38 AM , Rating: 5
While I certainly agree that Sony is terrible in all respects, I would tend to believe them on this one. So far as I know, the disc is not too physically dissimilar to DVD, which hasn't experienced many problems at all. This seems likely to be an isolated incident to me.

At least Buena Vista is being proactive about replacing the discs. It's nice to see a large company being responsive to its customers for a change.


By BladeVenom on 6/21/2007 2:53:34 PM , Rating: 2
HD DVD is very similar to DVD, but there are a couple of important differences for Blu-ray.

The first is the read side has a much thinner protective layer. It's only .1mm for Blu-ray where it is .6mm for DVD and HD DVD.

Second is that since it is so thin the protective layer is a brand new type of coating. So who knows how age will affect it.

When CDs first came out some people made outrageous claims of how long they would last. The first CDs I burned started to go bad after a year.


By softwiz on 6/21/2007 11:10:02 AM , Rating: 2
In case you've missed it...

My post below entitled "Why is the Blu-ray scratch coat so thin..." may explain why this may not be isolated incident. ;)


Why is the Blu-ray scratch coat so thin...
By softwiz on 6/21/2007 10:51:19 AM , Rating: 2
Please feel free to challenge me on any of the below statements I make below. I don't claim to be an expert on this subject and will admit being wrong. I am throwing these thoughts out there to get a consensus more than anything else.

AFAIK, HD-DVD discs have scratch coating amounting to about 0.6mm thick and Blu-ray discs have 0.1mm. BD media are burned closer to the surface than either DVD and HD-DVD.

You can buff most scratches out with DVD and HD-DVD. However, doing this with Blu-ray may completely wear away the scratch coat. You can try filling in the scratches but when that fails, what are you supposed to do ? Use it as a drink coaster ? Not likely. :(

Perhaps you decide to rely on the upcoming "Managed Copy" program for making legitimate backup of your scratched discs that is promised ? Sure. It won't be free but it will be less expensive replacing the disc, right ?

<Devil's Advocate mode on>
If Blu-ray discs scratch more easier / more often then people will have to replace them more often. That means more money in the pockets of Sony and the other studios. So that's why Studio support is better on the Blu-ray...it's the profit motive! This assumes, of course...that people put up with it. ;)
</Devil's Advocate mode off>




By mindless1 on 6/21/2007 12:41:45 PM , Rating: 2
No need to play Devil's advocate, having the thin coating was an obvious cause for failty in Blue-Ray. Funny how some people can selectively ignore core requirements for media until they finally realize it might impact them, too.


RE: Why is the Blu-ray scratch coat so thin...
By ArneBjarne on 6/21/2007 3:01:50 PM , Rating: 2
HD-DVD discs have no hard coating at all, just like normal DVDs. The data layer is simply located 0.6mm from the disc surface.

On BD discs the data layer is located 0.1mm from the disc surface and a hardcoating is applied to make the disc surface virtually impossible to scratch unless you deliberately try to do so (eg. by using the tip of a sharp knife, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5jEbZt6AIQ).

In the end, the reports from dual format renters on avs seem to indicate that BD rental discs are generally in far better condition than HD DVD rental discs.

Considering that HD-DVDs scratch just as easily as DVDs and that more bits will be affected by a scratch of equal size on a HD-DVD (due to increased data density), this would seem to be the predictable outcome too.


RE: Why is the Blu-ray scratch coat so thin...
By nemrod on 6/21/2007 5:06:49 PM , Rating: 3
May I add, that blockbuster has choose bluray... And that a compagny which has done only 5,5 billions $ in 2006 in this business should be not so stupid and has probably not chose a buggy technology after experimentation ion 250 stores...


RE: Why is the Blu-ray scratch coat so thin...
By softwiz on 6/21/2007 5:13:52 PM , Rating: 1
You may, but I think it might have had more to do with Sony offering them money to do so than any business intelligence on their part. ;)


RE: Why is the Blu-ray scratch coat so thin...
By nemrod on 6/21/2007 5:56:56 PM , Rating: 2
You're right, I've missed that point the evil sony has paid and blockbuster has accepted to trash their business killing the good format and keeping the one which allow only one rent before destroy...


RE: Why is the Blu-ray scratch coat so thin...
By Scrogneugneu on 6/21/2007 10:52:34 PM , Rating: 2
Tell me, where is the logic in offering only ONE format?

What if I bought a HD-DVD player? I can't go to BlockBuster anymore, they won't rent HD-DVD titles. They're locking themselves out.

There must be, somewhere, an incentive. Either you have to look up the propriety chain of the company, or deep in their pockets.


By nemrod on 6/22/2007 3:58:19 AM , Rating: 2
2x cost
2x size
BD+
and perhaps one less good for rent (not scratchless)


By softwiz on 6/21/2007 5:16:37 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks. I stand corrected. :)

Hmmm...if they hadn't applied a hard coat at all to the disc, they likely wouldn't be experiencing this problem.

Just a thought. ;)


By porkpie on 6/23/2007 12:15:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
HD-DVD discs have no hard coating at all...On BD discs a hardcoating is applied
BD discs have to have an anti-scratch coating or they wouldn't survive. So media manufacturers went out and developed a good one.

Having done that, those same companies (all that I know of at least) now apply that anti-scratch coating to both BD and HD-DVD media. So HD-DVD discs have the antiscratch coating AND 6 times as much plastic protecting the data as BD.

There's more to worry about than just scratches. Moisture and other chemicals can permeate through thin layers of plastic. Is 100 micrometers enough to stop them? Only time will tell.


safe...
By InternetGeek on 6/21/2007 8:22:11 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
"I did some checking on this issue and found out that this is an isolated case with a limited number of discs affected from one title. Apparently there was some sort of impurity that was mixed in with a batch of material used for this production run and it was [simply] a fluke. [Your] Blu-ray library is safe.”


Just waiting until the "[Your] Blu-ray library is safe" part changes to "But [Your] Blu-ray library should be safe!!!"




RE: safe...
By christojojo on 6/21/2007 1:19:45 PM , Rating: 2
IFAIK orignal CDs and DVDs never had a "rot" problem.

Don't CDs and DVDs have a halflife of 100 yrs provided they are well taken care of?

It seems like 'planned obsolescence" is the phrase with BD.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_obsolescence


RE: safe...
By ArneBjarne on 6/21/2007 2:43:14 PM , Rating: 2
You should have taken a second to check wiki now that you were there anyway then ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disc_rot

In fact; the problem with the Blu-ray discs seems to have been mislabelled as a disc rot problem. The rot term was known from previous disc types, so people were quick to throw it in that bin, even though the BD problem doesn't seem to fit the description of disc rot.


RE: safe...
By porkpie on 6/21/2007 6:38:32 PM , Rating: 2
'Rot' in this sense means 'gradual decay'. If you get a disc and it works, then slowly becomes unusable, the disc has 'rotted', regardless of the actual cause for it.


RE: safe...
By Behlal on 6/21/2007 3:06:23 PM , Rating: 2
Erm perhaps not rot, but the bonding between the layer and its protective coating did break down on early DVDs. I had a number of DVDs that went "bad" over the years. All were first generation, early release titles. An example of a title that was known to go bad (and I had go bad on me) was Starship Troopers.


Sure Yam
By Dailytechbias on 6/22/2007 6:30:27 AM , Rating: 2
"An isolated case".

I watched every bit of your typically Blu_Ray biased coverage of this issue. I know what you did.

You played it down as an isolated meaningless case. Damage control, is what they call this on videogame message boards.

Yam, you at least need to begin putting a disclaimer that you are paid by Sony, or at the least that you are hugely biased toward Blu_ray, before your articles on the subject. People coming to Dailytech not familiar with you, as I am, might actually expect an unbiased reporting of the news otherwise.

If it was HDDVD suffering this you would have trumpeted it in an alarmist fashion.

Are you going to ban me again for calling your bias out Yam? Like you did my sharky974 and innotech names?




RE: Sure Yam
By Dailytechbias on 6/22/2007 6:37:20 AM , Rating: 2
Well, you need to put the disclaimer if you are paid by Sony.

And I dont know who banned me.


Sony Engineer?
By anonymo on 6/25/2007 8:13:07 AM , Rating: 2
Right...Just want to point out how incredibly inane it is to think that a Sony Engineer would be posting such a comment on a web-forum. It is quite obviously not someone affiliated with Sony whatsoever and even if it is, Sony would never authorize an employee to post such a context sensitive post on some random web-forum (even if it is AVS) regardless of how scripted it is. Sony makes official announcements, not underground whispers.




BR rot
By wallijonn on 6/25/2007 4:19:01 PM , Rating: 2
That's not rot, that's disease.




once again, DT gets a hd-dvd paycheck
By GlassHouse69 on 6/21/07, Rating: -1
RE: once again, DT gets a hd-dvd paycheck
By hubajube on 6/21/2007 4:26:34 PM , Rating: 2
Yet ANOTHER stupid s$$t that either can't read at all or (more likely) can't comprehend what he's just read. Aren't you late for a special ed class?


RE: once again, DT gets a hd-dvd paycheck
By Dailytechbias on 6/22/2007 6:31:42 AM , Rating: 2
LOL, you're funny. Are you paid by Sony?

Yam is a constant Blu Ray shill, obviously.


By porkpie on 6/22/2007 10:54:28 AM , Rating: 2
Lets see, in the past few weeks alone, DT has run at least 3 stories showing BD leading HD-DVD in sales, plus the one on Blockbuster choosing BD over HD-DVD, plus a story on BD player prices coming down. And now they're supposed to be anti-BD just because you don't like this story? Don't make me laugh.


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