Quite a few of our recent movies have started to exhibit difficulty during playback. Generally speaking, these are DVD discs published by Sony Pictures and they have a number of unusual qualities.

One of the first discs that behaved oddly was Gridiron Gang. While the movie itself is not all that memorable, the opening playback of the disc was rather noteworthy. After sitting through a few trailers, the main menu appears and from here you select the option to start the movie. Unfortunately, the movie won’t actually start and instead some of the opening credits are played while the timer on the DVD player flips between 0 and 1 seconds. Meanwhile, after about 60 seconds of playback the movie either starts over again or stops but the player has not been able to show more than 1 second. Eventually the disc starts over and manages to play all the way through.

The next disc that presents unusual behavior is the slightly more memorable Casino Royale. This behavior was similar, the movie starts playing and then the DVD player says there is an error on the disc and it cannot be played. You can eject the disc and try again, but it only repeats the error. It seems the only way to really get the movie to play is to simply hit Play again after the error about the disc being unplayable.

Is this what viewers should expect from other discs published by Sony Pictures? What other kind of random playback failures should be anticipated?

My guess is that these kinds of defects have been added to the media in an effort to prevent users from creating digital copies of the films. The only thing this has actually accomplished is to leave me with the impression that Sony movies are substandard quality that will generally be difficult to play.

Categories: RIAA