Disclaimer: I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings with this post. Neither I am complaining about my presents. It’s just yet another warning for the general public.
Before Christmas spirit wears off the air, I decided to watch one of the DVDs that I’ve got for Christmas presents. In total, I have recieved 3 of them. Martin surprised me with the “Bowling for Colombine” and my brother presented me “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” and “The Terminal”.
After a hard night’s work in the NOC, I was in the mood for some action, so I though I will watch the Angels. When I picked up the box, I was suspecious about the quality. I could see that it not an original DVD. The printing of the cover was of a very low quality with totally messed up and washed out colors. The vacuum pack was also totally different from the original DVDs. It was thin and very easy to open. No holograms, parental warnings, or any other stickers were present. I though “OK, it is definitely a pirate copy, but maybe it is of a good quality”. Opened up a box and saw a disk. It was a regular DVD-R disk, with one side white and another blue. Nothing was printed or even written on it. I put the disk in and fired up my player. It played. The copy was of a terrible quality. It wasn’t even a DVD copy. It was a screener. For those of you, who don’t know what a screen is – it is a copy of the film, done by someone with camcorder in the cinema. Yup. Creepy. The position of the camcorder relatively to the screen is not centralized. The sound is totally messed up with suround being pushed into camcorder’s microphone. Terrible. Not even watchable.
I was very disappointed. I decided to check “The Terminal”. From the moment I took the box in my hands, I realized that it will be the same. It had the same thin vacum pack, lousy printing and virgin white top side of the disk. And it was.
Than I said “Enough is enough” and thought that I am not going to bed without a movie. Martin’s “Bowling for Colombine” was my last hope. I picked it up. The vacum pack was thicker, but not as thick as I am used to. Still no stickers or holograms, but a quality printing of the cover. I opened the box and found the DVD box itself was of a much better quality. It wasn’t something you can get from any computer shop, but something which looked like a real one. Also, the box cover was printed on both sides of the paper and could be seen from both inside and outside of the box. There was also a quality printing on the disk itself. The other side of the disk wasn’t blue or gold either. It was a proper “DVD” colour. For a moment there I was thinking that it is an original DVD and that all the stickers are missing because it is a region 2 DVD. But than I saw something. I changed the angle at which I was looking at the burned side of the disk and I saw FINGERPRINTS!!! There were three huge oily fingerprints on the disk. Now, can anyone tell me how is it possible for human fingerprints to get on the disk which is burned and packed by machines? A copy again. But from the looks of it I thought that it should be better than my previous two attempts. I put it in and started playing. It was indeed a copy of the DVD with menus and everything. The movie was of an excellent quality. I watched until about 20 minutes to end. And than it got stuck. My DVD just couldn’t handle it. Most probably I didn’t dispose of the fingerprints good enough before inserting the disk. The disk got stuck in the drive and it doesn’t want to open up now. I am forced to shutdown my machine and only than I will be able to eject it.
Why am I writing this? I want to warn you. Getting a copy of the film is easy these days. You can get anything – a copy of the DVD, a screener, a compressed version (DivX). You can buy a movie on DVD, CDROM, or download it from the net. But remember, you are getting what you paid for. If you pay the cost of the empty DVD disk, you might as well get one. If you want to be sure that you are getting an original film, buy it from a legitimate DVD shop, with a reciept, and with a heavy price. That is the only way that you will not be screwed over your money. In the worst case scenario, you will be able to change the product for another one, or return your cash.