Disney to rent ‘self-destructing’ DVDs

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

How it works

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, since 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 which developed the technology using material from General Electric Co.

In talks with other companies

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

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

However, the disc can be copied within 48 hours, since 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 August in select markets with recent releases including “The Recruit,” “The Hot Chick,” and “Signs.”

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