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Disney's Rental DVDs Made to Self-Destruct

May 17, 2003|From Reuters

This disc will self-destruct in 48 hours.

That is the warning Walt Disney Co. will issue in August when it begins renting DVDs that after two days become unplayable and do not have to be returned.

Disney home video unit Buena Vista Home Entertainment will launch a pilot program for the DVD movie rentals in August that uses the self-destruction technology, the company said Friday.

The discs stop working after a change in color renders them unreadable.

They start off red, but when they are taken out of the package, exposure to oxygen turns the coating black and makes it impenetrable by a DVD laser.

Buena Vista hopes the technology will let it crack a wider rental market, because it can sell the DVDs in stores or almost anywhere without setting up a system to get the discs back.

The discs work perfectly for the two-day viewing window, said Flexplay Technologies Inc., the private company that developed the technology using material from General Electric Co.

Chief Executive Alan Blaustein said he also was in talks with other companies to use the self-destructing discs.

The technology cannot be hacked by programmers who would want to view a disc longer because the mechanism that closes the viewing window is chemical and has nothing to do with computer technology.

However, the disc can be copied within 48 hours, because it works like any other DVD during that window.

Buena Vista did not disclose pricing plans but said the discs, dubbed EZ-D, would be available in select markets with recent releases including "The Recruit," "The Hot Chick" and "Signs."

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