Anyone who rents movies often is probably all too familiar with the hassles of renting DVDs. The biggest complaint among renters is the dreaded task of making the trip back to the store to return the discs. Even the most responsible video store customer usually has to pay an occasional late fee or two. Then there’s the issue of disc quality. Since the DVDs are used, they may be scratched or worn out, causing them to not play properly when you get them home.
Recognizing the need to provide a better service for movie renters, a company called Flexplay Technologies created a new type of time-sensitive DVD that did not need to be returned. Not only would late fees be a thing of the past, but customers would now be able to view movies on brand new DVDs each time they rent.
Flexplay DVDs work by establishing a pre-set rental period that is activated once you open the package. During this rental period (which, in most cases, is 48 hours), you can view the DVD as many times as you wish. Flexplay DVDs play with the same quality picture and sound as standard DVDs, and can be played in all standard DVD players and computer DVD disc drives. At the conclusion of the 48-hour rental period, the disc is no longer readable and the movie can no longer be viewed.
In order to fully understand the concept of Flexplay, it is important to understand DVD technology. DVDs work by using laser beams to transmit data. The laser penetrates through the surface of the disc to one of the data layers. An image detector then reflects the beam. In order for this process to take place properly (and for you to be able to view your DVD), all layers of the disc must be transparent so that light from the lasers can pass through.
This is where the patented Flexplay technology comes in. The secret to Flexplay discs is a special chemical compound that prevents the disc from being viewed an unlimited number of times, which is the case for standard DVDs. Flexplay DVDs include an extra layer, which is coated with a special dye that becomes opaque 48 hours after being exposed to air. When you open the package, the oxygen in the air will help create a chemical reaction, which turns the layer to a dark, opaque color. This is significant because when the layer becomes opaque, the laser can’t make it to the remaining layers of the disc, making it unreadable.
All Flexplay DVDs expire as a result of the information layers of the discs losing their transparency gradually over time. To prevent the discs from expiring prematurely, Flexplay discs are sealed in airtight packages. This special packaging slows the chemical reaction down to the point where unopened discs are viewable for up to one year after purchase. You can actually see the rental expiration process at work when you buy your disc.
When you open the package, you will notice that the disc is red in color. When the rental period runs its course, it will start turning black. When this happens, the rental window has ended. After use, the DVDs can be either recycled or discarded. In order to be more environment- friendly, Flexplay DVDs are made with mostly plastic, allowing them to be easily recycled.