Microsoft Single-Play DVD

Status: Hoax
News reports that circulated earlier this week claimed Microsoft had developed "a cheap, disposable pre-recorded DVD disc that consumers can play only once." The idea was that the single-play DVD would be an alternative to renting movies. The same report claimed Bill Gates had appeared in a video "dressed in a sailor suit pretending to audition for the blockbuster Titanic... [to pitch] Hollywood with the proposition that only Microsoft could solve its piracy problem by making its DRM software a standard across every home entertainment playback and recording device." None of this (the single-play DVD nor the Bill Gates pirate video) was true. However, it's not clear where the false story originated from. Microsoft itself has suggested it appeared to be inspired by "an existing feature within Windows Media DRM that allows for single-play of promotional digital material." So single-play DVDs may be a hoax (though I'm pretty sure they're technically possible), but what I wish Microsoft would develop is a DVD that doesn't scratch. Whenever I'm watching a DVD only to have it either freeze or skip back to the beginning of the disc, it really makes me long for the good old days of VHS.


Posted on Wed Oct 05, 2005


Well, Alex, it might have came about when the mention of a disposible camcorder came out in the news a couple weeks ago.....
Posted by X  in  McKinney, TX  on  Wed Oct 05, 2005  at  03:32 PM
I have heard for years that various companies are trying to develop single-use DVDs or other computer software that will erase or otherwise render itself useless after one viewing. It must be technically possible, but the need for such things is debatable.

The Microsoft story, however, is false as far as I know.
Posted by Big Gary in Dallas  on  Wed Oct 05, 2005  at  04:39 PM
I'm still stuck in the wrong time. I don't own a DVD player, I only have a VHS, in my opinion there is nothing wrong with them. As for music CD's I only own a few, most of my music is still on cassette tapes, again, there is nothing wrong with them, well except for the occasional eaten tape.

Anyone remember the eight tracks? Now those were a pain!
Posted by Myst  on  Wed Oct 05, 2005  at  04:53 PM
It is not a hoax. They tested the product out in a few cities in the U.S., Charleston being one of them. It doesn't expire in 1 day though, it lasted approximately 2 weeks before it went bad.
Posted by Dae Dae  on  Wed Oct 05, 2005  at  05:27 PM
The idea of disposable DVDs that expire aren't a hoax, McDonalds was doing some test runs with those at some of their test stores, but instead they're going to go with more of a DVD rental service machine. They're going to start that service nationwide next year, if I remember correctly.
Posted by Dan  on  Wed Oct 05, 2005  at  05:40 PM
If I remember correctly, Disney released a few movies on self-destructing DVD's a year or so ago. They weren't successful. Gee, I wonder why. Who wants something that you can't use in a week or after one playing when, for a few dollars more, you can own the same thing in a version that lasts? These guys truly do not understand their customers.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Wed Oct 05, 2005  at  06:23 PM
one word, DIVX
Posted by dac  on  Wed Oct 05, 2005  at  07:30 PM
If you want your DVD/CD to not scratch, then DON'T SCRATCH IT! Always hold by the edges; always keep it in the jewel case; always have spare jewel cases when they break. I have only ever scratched one CD, which was in trying to remove it from a cardboard sleeve (after which it went into a jewel case and stayed there).
Posted by eriC draveS  on  Wed Oct 05, 2005  at  07:55 PM
I remember there being "EZ-D's" with a light-activated chemical that would destroy the data on the disk a few hours after opening the package, but they seem to have vanished. Perhaps they were legislated out of existence by the environmentalists who balked at the impact on landfills, not to mention that terrible convenience of no late fees.
Posted by Daniel  on  Wed Oct 05, 2005  at  08:21 PM
There are film covers for CD's/DVD's that you place on them to prevent scratches and still use your disc.
Posted by Dae Dae  on  Thu Oct 06, 2005  at  06:10 AM
Like dac, I immediately thought of DIVX.

Of course, one had to be following the DVD market in the first few years to know what that was...
Posted by coit  on  Thu Oct 06, 2005  at  08:15 AM
As people have said there were disposable DVDs (they were even sold at Best Buy but as someone commented above it may have been only in a few test markets) under the DIVX name a few years (this DIVX was different than the video codec). There are a lot of reasons that they were unpopular but the main reason I remember were the were priced completely too high (they were more than rentals and pay-per-view). The only way they could survive is if they were inexpensive (i. e., less than NetFlix).

There are legitimate environmental concerns but that is not what is driving their unpopularity. They were a complete rip-off and a nightmare to support (apparently many came unplayable). I could see them surviving into the future as novelty/premium but I doubt the economics would ever work out to make them a serious consumer product.
Posted by Floormaster Squeeze  on  Thu Oct 06, 2005  at  09:10 AM
"they were even sold at Best Buy but as someone commented above it may have been only in a few test markets) under the DIVX name a few years ago"

I thought it was Circuit City. Not to be nitpicky. I was really just chiming in because I remember both Divx and the Disney light-triggered DVD things. I think if you kept them in the dark and in the freezer they would last longer, or forever. Whatever, bad idea.
Posted by Matt  on  Thu Oct 06, 2005  at  09:44 AM
My mom is part of some movie club where she can get a disk that has 3 movies on it...and it can only be viewed 6 times. Each time she watches it, she has to call an 800#, and they provide a passcode that she has to input in order to view it. So, she would watch each episode twice, or space out the watchings over all 6 viewings. She has to use the code w/i about 24 hours I think, for it to work. It's not the same, but it's a similar notion.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Thu Oct 06, 2005  at  10:25 AM
Last year New Scientist reported on a nearly invincible coating for CDs:
In one of the most convincing technology demonstrations this reporter has witnessed, I was handed a CD, a wire-wool pan scourer and some permanent marker pens, and invited to scratch or mark the discs. Hard as I tried, I could not make a single mark on the disc with the scourer. And the ink simply wiped off.
If it was on an infomerical, it would seem like a hoax. But apparently it's for real. I hope it's not long before it goes to manufacturing. And even if it's too expensive at first for discs, surely Apple could throw down for the coating to keep iPod screens from scratching!
Posted by Mason Inman  on  Sat Oct 08, 2005  at  03:56 PM
This does exist, and it's called flexplay.

An easy google search can find it. (And no, I'm not affiliated with the company).
Posted by David Ljung Madison  on  Sun Oct 09, 2005  at  03:34 AM
I work for CVS and we were selling a few movies that you could only play for 24 hours after you open it. we stoped selling them because it was $4.00 a DVD and they were not even good movies
Posted by Disk Killer  on  Fri Oct 21, 2005  at  11:06 AM
I think i remeber seeing a DVD that would only work on a computer for a certain period of time after the first run. That I'm sure they could do.

Sure, they have the DVD, but it doesn't DO anything.

That could solve a couple of problems...
Posted by Tazz  on  Thu Jun 01, 2006  at  06:59 PM
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