I read about these DVDs a few weeks ago, but then quickly forgot about them until seeing this article in Time this morning.
The concept is simple enough. You buy these DVDs from airports, travel centers, and Staples across the country. As soon as you open it, you have about 48 hours to watch it before it becomes unreadable by your DVD player.
Here are some technical details from the article:
The DVDs, which were created by the Georgia-based company Flexplay Entertainment, look like regular discs, but they are made with a special glue that is sensitive to oxygen. Once the disc is exposed to air, a chemical reaction causes the glue to darken so the laser in the DVD player can no longer read the disc. Sealed discs can last for about one year. “It’s like DVD on demand,” says Joe Fuller, Flexplay’s executive vice president of marketing. “You can get Flexplay at the store today, but your rental period doesn’t actually start until you’ve opened the sealed package.”
Sounds pretty cool, so what’s the problem then? Well, the price… These DVDs sell for $5 each. So, it costs more than even renting a DVD from Blockbuster, and the same as the 2-per-month Netflix membership.
Of course, we savvy Redbox users can get 5 (or more with promo codes) movies for the same price. So, why would anyone use these?
The company hopes these DVDs will appeal to business travelers who don’t usually rent movies because their busy schedules make it hard to find time to return them. In addition to Staples, which has never offered movie rentals before, the discs will be for sale at Flexplay’s own Web site, Travel Centers of America, Love’s and at about 200 Hudson Groupâ€“owned newsstands at airports and travel hubs. “You can pick up a couple of movies and put it in your briefcase,” Fuller says. “And the next time you are stuck at an airport, you can pop it in your DVD player or computer and you can enjoy a movie.”
I do like the idea of buying them, and then having up to a year that you can just leave them in your briefcase or bag before watching them, but I don’t think there are enough users who would need this. Perhaps I underestimate the needs and DVD watching habits of business travelers…
Personally, unless they can get the price down to a more reasonable price (maybe $2.99?), I don’t see how these will ever take off. And, if Redbox can get itself in all of the airports across the country, this idea will be grounded for good.
Of course, if we can just put our DVDs and players in a room where there is no oxygen, then these things will theoretically last a lot longer! In fact, how long will be until some young hacker creates some sort of “wrap” or case that you can stick these things in so they will not “self-destruct” at all?
Now you know what I think – how about you? Will this idea work? Would you ever find yourself in a situation where you would buy one of these?