Do you rent Blu-ray discs from Netflix? Have you had any show up with a crack on the outer edge that makes the disc unplayable? Victor just wrote to us that he’s received several Blu-ray discs lately that are damaged, and he’s wondering if it’s just him or part of a wider problem.
Here’s what’s been happening to Victor:
We have been experiencing a growing number of brand new Blu-Ray releases from Netflix that arrive with a small crack (usually 1-3mm, and sometimes only through the hardcoat part) along the outer edge that makes the disc unplayable. In better than 4 years we have had only ONE regular Netflix DVD arrive cracked, but with Blu Ray we’ve now have three arrive in just the last three weeks with this problem. I started asking around, and it seems like this is a growing problem. The Blu Ray hard coating actually seems to make the discs MORE susceptible to damage in transit.
Mars Box noted this problem nearly two years ago, when 13 out of 24 Blu-ray titles he rented in September and October of 2007 arrived cracked. In the comments below the post, other Netflix customers are still posting (as recently as last month) that their Blu-ray rentals keep showing up cracked.
Netflix raised the rates on Blu-ray plans by $1 per membership tier this past March. At the time, they justified the price increase by saying, “Blu-ray discs are substantially more expensive than standard definition DVDs.” We wonder if that price increase wasn’t also a way for Netflix to avoid an expensive envelope redesign, and pass the cost of frequent disc replacement over to the consumers who rent Blu-ray in the first place.