Mass Market Self-destructing DVDs Get Closer

Amongst protestations from environmental groups, the Walt Disney Co is testing out new rental disks which become unreadable after 48 hours.

The trial is this week in Austin, Texas; Peoria/Bloomington, Illinois; Charleston, South Carolina; and Kansas City, Missouri.

Intended for convenience stores rather than Blockbuster, the “EZ-D” discs are intended as impulse purchases. Developed by Flexplay Technologies Inc, the discs start off red, but turn black as they are oxidized. The system doesn’t make DVDs any more secure against piracy, as they can still be copied in the first 48 hours.

To appease environmentalists, such as the Alliance for Safe Alternatives, concerned at the needless landfill this will create, Disney are offering a recycling programme – and as an incentive, customers will get a new disk for every six used ones they return.


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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?