Fans of children’s show Inspector Gadget will recall that whenever he gets instructions it ends with a message that it will self destruct, usually within a few seconds. This technology has been in use by government and business organisations for decades, however they never exploded. But have you ever heard of a self destruct DVD? It’s possible that you have, but the period of time that you had such a chance was short lived. Who would want to invent, let alone use a self destruct DVD, and why would it even be invented?
We can thank Disney for this innovation. As we have seen by their broken deal with Robin Williams, Disney is in the business of making money, and they thought they had struck a winner, a real money spinner. What Disney had come up with was a DVD rental system that would allow people to rent a DVD from anywhere, basically any shop, and use it for two days. After two days the DVD would self destruct and the renter would not have to try and return the DVD. It was not an attempt to foil copyright as the DVD’s performed exactly as a regular DVD for two days, and could still be copied in that time. Try to keep in mind that was in 2003, and companies such as Netflix were not yet available. How did it work, and would it damage the DVD player?
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When a customer rented a DVD it was red in colour. Once it was removed from its packaging it would initiate a reaction with the air, similar to rusting, that would cause the DVD to turn black. Once it had turned completely black it rendered the DVD unreadable. This of course did no damage to customers DVD players, only the DVD itself. Needless to say, the technology didn’t catch on and it quickly faded from existence.