HD DVD errors...
February 10, 2008 8:07 PM   Subscribe

HD DVD errors: normal or just us?

It seems like HD DVD's we get from Netflix "skip" or cause errors like crazy if the disk is even slightly scratched. The symptom usually ends up being freezing or digital artifacts followed by regular movie but no sound. Is this something that is typical of HD DVD (and/or BluRay?) or just our player (Toshiba HD-A3)?

New HD DVDs without the Netflix wear and tear seem to be fine.
posted by starman to Media & Arts (8 answers total)
HD-DVDs and Blu-Ray are both much more sensitive to scratches than regular DVDs and CDs. The issue is that they are packing a lot more information into the same amount of space, so a scratch obscures a lot more data. FWIW, Blu-Ray discs are supposed to have some special scratch-resistant coating that is supposed to be pretty effective, but I own an HD-DVD player, so I have no experience with it.
posted by AaRdVarK at 8:45 PM on February 10, 2008

Have you tried updating the firmware?

Although I don't have direct experience with this model, I know a number of people who bought Toshiba's HD-A2 model whose initial playback issues were helped significantly with firmware updates.
posted by pmbuko at 8:50 PM on February 10, 2008

Yeah they're more dense but they also have lots of error-correction. Supposedly the A1 player doesnt support a lot of error-correction properly. What player do you have?
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:49 PM on February 10, 2008

What AaRdVarK said, but try taking a lint free cloth to them. It's not just scratches, but also dust and dirt. And rental DVDs seem to accumulate more than their fair share of that.
posted by fvw at 12:25 AM on February 11, 2008

One data point: I use both netflix and own the Toshiba HD-A3 (firmware updated). I'm 1 for 3 on HD DVDs that have played correctly. (One I returned and the replacement was fine, one I suffered through the problems). My guess is your (and my) experience is not uncommon.
posted by sexymofo at 5:10 AM on February 11, 2008

Sexymofo: do you have the same problem with the audio track going silent after a glitch? (If you pause it or rewind/fast forward it will usually come back)
posted by starman at 6:47 AM on February 11, 2008

In my experience, the Netflix HD discs (HD DVD and Blu-ray both) are nowhere near the level of reliability of regular DVDs. It's unclear to me if this is just scratches and dust, or the discs are themselves not surviving the mailing process in the same way.

In over ten years, I've never recalled having to send back a DVD as non-working. I've gotten a few duds in the past 6 months. The replacement discs of the same titles worked fine.

The HD DVD discs did appear to be badly scratched, but the Blu-ray one that didn't work didn't appear to be damaged in any way, it just skipped too badly to be watchable.
posted by Caviar at 11:11 AM on February 11, 2008

For the record I did try the upgrade (to 2.0) but doesn't look like it helps for this particular disk (Bourne Ultimatum).
posted by starman at 7:53 PM on February 12, 2008

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