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Disc rot, should it make me rip (Back up) my DVD's?

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  • [DVD/BD] Disc rot, should it make me rip (Back up) my DVD's?

    Widgets Magazine
    So I recently learned of disc rot (Didn't even hear about the term until today.), and it has me worried. I prefer physical over digital heavily, though I don't want to end up down the road having my discs stop working seeing as that's one of the cons of physical media, it wears down.

    So I'm wondering, should I sometime in the future rip my anime DVD's (I currently can't do so really with BD.) to like back them up? I have never ripped DVD's before, so I'm not all that knowledgeable about how it works, how to do it, etc.
    Anime DVD/BD Easter Egg Index | MAL | Anime-Planet | Anime BDs | Anime DVDs | Manga | MFC

  • #2
    Re: Disc rot, should it make me rip (Back up) my DVD's?

    First thing you want to think about is the legality, which is not currently well-defined. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act cannot prevent you from making a true backup copy of a DVD on your hard drive — if you make a disc image, you're not breaking copy protection, which is what the DMCA is mostly about. Making a true backup copy is considered fair use. Going further — for example, converting the program on the DVD to use on your mobile devices — is technically a violation of the DMCA if you break the copy protection (which you have to do to make H.264 files), but the Department of Justice has not been prosecuting and considers space-shifting of this nature beneath its purview. Past legal precedent has protected user rights — you can record a TV broadcast to a VCR to watch later, and you can fast-forward past the commercials, for example — but as far as I'm aware, space-shifting has not been tested. So if you're making true backup copies, you're probably in the clear; if you're breaking the copy protection, don't tell me about it.

    But that's sort of the thing: A true backup copy of a DVD weighs in at the same size as the DVD itself. Let's say 8 GB for a disc with six or seven episodes. Ripping to H.264 works similarly to converting an audio CD track to AAC (or MP3 if you're still living in the digital stone age): It shrinks the file by a lot without sacrificing quality. That 8-GB disc might get shrunk to 1–2 GB of video files. And that means you can fit more on a hard drive. A lot more. Enough that you might stick with the 1-TB drive instead of plunking down a few hundreds on a 4-TB drive or RAID array.

    There are ways to back up DVDs without breaking copy protection, and there are ways to convert the programs on the DVDs to the smaller H.264 files. You can find all of it through your favorite search engine.

    That all having been said, I've been working this past year at a local independent music store, and I've inspected thousands of discs to purchase as used product. The only time I've ever seen "disc rot" is when people do fuck-all to take care of their discs. There are always a bajillion scratches on the "rotten" discs, and the "rot" is nearly always a direct result of their negligence. If you do what any sane person would do with a disc, put it back in the case when you're done with it, you might still see a case of "disc rot" at some point in your lifetime. But I bet you don't see two, at least not within a year of each other. These discs are made to survive a lot.
    I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I’ll go for the gross-out. I’m not proud.
    Stephen King

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    • #3
      Re: Disc rot, should it make me rip (Back up) my DVD's?

      There is such thing as DVD delamination. It's when the adhesive binding the two layers of a disc together degrades and the disc starts to delaminate... fall apart.

      The good news is that this was the result of poor production practices, and only affected a handful of titles early on in the DVD lifecycle. In Europe, comapnies like Technicolor, that studios like Fox, Warner and Pathe used to press their discs were hit by the problem.

      The problem manifested some months/years after purchase, and evidenced my the disc turning misty, and blotchy to look at, and tacky/sticky to the touch, while becoming unplayable in the DVD player. A temporary fix is to clean the disc with warm soapy water, removing the misting and the tackiness, and it would play again. Some months later, the tackiness would return. This image illustrates it.

      To date I've found it on Terminator SE, French Kiss, X Files Season 2, Lethal Weapon Special Editions, and Sleepy Hollow. Everytime, the studio replaced the disc free of charge when I contacted them about it, as it's just not supposed to happen to DVDs. Except for Sleepy Hollow, which by the time I noticed it, was well and truly deleted. I just now remember to wash it before I watch it.

      To date, not a single one of the anime DVDs that I have purchased has exhibited DVD delamination. Most probably because a) it was a problem of the early 2000s, and b) anime companies use different fabricators to press their DVDs than the big studios.

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      • #4
        Re: Disc rot, should it make me rip (Back up) my DVD's?

        You should only worry about disc rot if you own Laserdiscs.
        "I'm sorry, did you say something? Because your authority is not recognized in Fort Kickass."
        Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar who could think you under the table~
        Avatar: Grown up Yue Ayase from Negima.

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        • #5
          Re: Disc rot, should it make me rip (Back up) my DVD's?

          Originally posted by Just Passing Through View Post
          There is such thing as DVD delamination. It's when the adhesive binding the two layers of a disc together degrades and the disc starts to delaminate... fall apart.... This image illustrates it.
          I recently encountered this with one of the discs from my Negima Box Set. I didn't pay attention to the disc when I put it into my player and I didn't encounter any issues until the third episode on the DVD when it started skipping and then froze up completely until my player finally spat it out. Examining the disc showed almost a discoloration and bubbles under the surface (looks just like the picture that Just Passing Through posted in his reply). Looking at the edge of the disc, I could see where it had started to separate.

          None of the other discs in the set appear to be affected, and I was able to get a replacement copy out of Right Stuf's Bargain Bin for $3, which I added to my last order.

          It does start to make me wonder about all of the other discs that I have, and whether or not I should be paranoid enough to start checking them

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          • #6
            Re: Disc rot, should it make me rip (Back up) my DVD's?

            Luckily this is anime and it's not like there aren't ways to access DVD or higher quality versions of the content. I wouldn't worry too much about disc rot.

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            • #7
              Re: Disc rot, should it make me rip (Back up) my DVD's?

              I've had discs from Japan and Taiwan 'die' under mysterious circumstances. Not exactly Disc Rot, but more like Layer Puncture if you want to be literal. The 2nd layer of a dual layer disc would have all these really miniscule holes, as though they were punched or burned through by the DVD player's laser. I don't know how to adequately describe it but i've already lost quite a few discs to this... problem. It always affects the thinner layer in a dual layered disc.

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              • #8
                Re: Disc rot, should it make me rip (Back up) my DVD's?

                I would recommend backing up your discs, not just for disc rot but other unforeseen circumstances. Don't worry about the legality of it, as long as you aren't peddling your copies on some street corner, I think you're fine. Depending on how many DVDs you have, you can decide if it's feasible for you. 1TB hard drives are not expensive these days, so pick a couple up on sale and start making ISOs of your DVDs. That way, should a stray fall hit your disc, you won't have to worry about the content. I'm a big physical medium guy myself, only slowly digging digital media. I buy almost exclusively physicals sets for my DVDs which is why packaging and extras matter to me. A digital high quality copy of my collection actually appeals to me for an on the go lifestyle, as unlikely as that seems.

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                • #9
                  Re: Disc rot, should it make me rip (Back up) my DVD's?

                  Guess I'll go with that then, sometime getting a 1TB hard drive to back up my discs should they fail on me.
                  Anime DVD/BD Easter Egg Index | MAL | Anime-Planet | Anime BDs | Anime DVDs | Manga | MFC

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                  • #10
                    Re: Disc rot, should it make me rip (Back up) my DVD's?

                    On a related topic, does anyone have any experience in getting dvds polished? One of my West Wing dvds has a nasty scratch through it, and I'm thinking about trying to have it repaired - does Block Buster (the movie rental chain) still do stuff like that?
                    "The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the stormy sea, and the destructive sword, are portions of eternity too great for the eye of man."

                    -William Blake, "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell"

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                    • #11
                      Re: Disc rot, should it make me rip (Back up) my DVD's?

                      Originally posted by One Vorlon View Post
                      On a related topic, does anyone have any experience in getting dvds polished?
                      I've had two video game DVDs get scratched to the point that they were unplayable. I took them to Play'n'Trade in Orlando and after polishing they were readable again. I suspect, depending upon the depth of the scratches, that you'll find the same. From my experience, it's harder to find businesses that will polish discs now. GameStop used to do it, but I haven't seen a machine in any of their stores in years. Your best bet might be a mom and pop video game store or a music store, if you're lucky enough to have either in your area.

                      As for the disc rot topic in general, I had one of my Crest of the Stars DVDs rot to the point it was unreadable about 2 years ago. I take great care of my discs and rarely lend them out (See: The reason I had to repair my aforementioned video games), so I can only chalk it up to poor manufacturing. Thankfully (or not depending upon your P.O.V.) F.Y.E. happened to be closing almost all of their stores in the Orlando area at the time and one of the stores had the volume in question for under $10.

                      I currently own a Drobo w/2.2 TB of storage. I'm thinking about expanding it and doing full DVD/BD rips in the near future. My BD collection is going to eat up space fast... LOL

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                      • #12
                        Re: Disc rot, should it make me rip (Back up) my DVD's?

                        Originally posted by One Vorlon View Post
                        On a related topic, does anyone have any experience in getting dvds polished? One of my West Wing dvds has a nasty scratch through it, and I'm thinking about trying to have it repaired - does Block Buster (the movie rental chain) still do stuff like that?
                        Family Video does 1 dollar resurfacing. They are currently the biggest privately owned rental chain, but they only exist in 19 states.
                        Avatar: Misaka Mikoto, the Railgun. Level 5 Electromaster and Ace of Tokiwadai Middle School.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Disc rot, should it make me rip (Back up) my DVD's?

                          I guess this should be updated since the price of HD's are inflated due to flooding in Taiwan. Probably near the end of this year prices might return to where they were in the fall of 2011.
                          Impassionedcinema Thank You, Sentai! Ef Blu-ray is amazing!
                          Avatar: Shana - Shakugan no Shana (Jun Kuga)

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                          • #14
                            Re: Disc rot, should it make me rip (Back up) my DVD's?

                            Originally posted by bluesilo View Post
                            I guess this should be updated since the price of HD's are inflated due to flooding in Taiwan. Probably near the end of this year prices might return to where they were in the fall of 2011.
                            If then. Still, one thing I believe about tech is, if you have a need today, you take care of it today. Need a new hard drive? Don't wait for Thailand (which is where the flooding was, actually) to recover. Suck it up and pay what it costs. But if you don't need it today, wait.

                            Also, I think that internal drives have not seen the same ridiculous price increases as externals. The 1-TB internal drive I bought for my MacBook was $99 then and $99 now, but the 1.5-TB external drive I bought was $135 and is $195. Yikes! (PS: The latter is a portable drive; that $195 buys a 3-TB desktop drive even now.)
                            I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I’ll go for the gross-out. I’m not proud.
                            Stephen King

                            Comment

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