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Site created 12/15/97.


review added: 6/12/98



CD PlayRight's Trio for DVD
DVD Care System


review by Bill Hunt, editor of The Digital Bits

Trio for DVD

As many of you know, there has been a great deal of concern recently, as to the durability of DVD as a rental medium. Early reports from video retailers (as well as just about anyone who purchased a disc in the Polygram jewel case), were that DVDs were very easily scratched. And because of the much smaller pit size on a DVD (as compared to a CD), even the slightest scratch can lead to degraded video or sound performance, or worse... render a disc unplayable.

So when I learned that a company called CD PlayRight had just announced a kit to repair damaged DVDs, I was eager to put it to the test. I contacted Dave Whitesel, CD PlayRight's VP of Operations, who kindly agreed to provide me with a sample to review. And after putting it through its paces... well, I'm extremely impressed.

In order to really test the kit, I decided to attempt repair on different degrees of disc damage (including both major and minor scratches). I also decided to attempt repairs on both DVDs and CDs (as CD PlayRight's kit works on all optical disc formats, including laserdisc).

For the test, I selected my Terminator DVD (which had minor but numerous scratches from its original Polygram packaging), and Peter Gabriel's So CD (a favorite of mine, which had enough light scratches to cause occasional skipping). Next, I selected two discs to purposely damage for the test, which I would little miss if they could not be repaired. These were a Reprise Sampler DVD that came free in my Toshiba DVD player owner's kit, and a bargain-basement CD of classical music. I used a wire brush (normally used to brush my cats!) to inflict some nasty scratches in a small area on each disc. Once damaged, the CD skipped repeatedly, and the DVD would not properly track in my Toshiba SD-3006.

CD PlayRight's Trio for DVD includes three separate products: DVD Quick Wipes, the actual DVD Repair Kit, and a spray bottle of DVD Quick Shield. Each product serves a different purpose. The Quick Wipes are designed to quickly remove dust, dirt and fingerprints that might cause degraded performance. The Repair Kit actually lets you repair scratches on the disc surface. And the Quick Shield product is designed to add a scratch-resistant coating on the disc surface, to protect it from future damage. The Quick Wipes work adequately as such products go, and thus will receive little attention here. The Repair Kit and Quick Shield are by far the most important items. I'll address the Repair Kit first.

The DVD Repair Kit contains small packets of disc Polish and Finish, a number of soft yellow application cloths, and the necessary instructions for use. You need to carefully read the instructions in order to properly repair the disc. The exact procedure to follow, will depend on the type of damage on the disc, so you'll need to evaluate the disc's condition before you start. There are three repair procedures: one for dirt and smudges, one for light scratches, and one for more severe scratches.

Terminator DVD in hand, I choose the procedure for light scratches. Following the instructions, I first cleaned the disc surface with the Quick Shield. To the scratched area, I applied a small amount of Polish from one of the packets provided. Then using one of the supplied cloths, I rubbed the Polish onto the disc for the instructed three minutes. It's important to know, that the DVD Repair Kit works by actually resurfacing the damaged area of the disc (in a process which, I'm told, is patented in Europe and the U.S.). To accomplish this, the Polish contains a very fine abrasive. That being the case, you must be very careful, when applying pressure with the cloth on the disc, to do so in a straight line from center to edge. Once finished with the polishing stage, I rinsed the disc in warm water and let it air dry. Upon inspection, the scratches were greatly diminished.

With a little bit of experience, I quickly learned to vary the pressure and time when polishing the damaged area, to obtain the desired results. Two important pieces of advice: first, don't be afraid to really apply the pressure needed to remove the scratches. Second, take care not to polish more than the damaged area (it's easy for the area you're working on to grow unnecessarily large on you).

The result of my work, was that the scratches on both the Peter Gabriel CD, and the Terminator DVD were removed nicely, with both discs playing as they should (no more skips on the CD!).

The procedure for severe scratches is similar to that for light scratches, except that it adds an additional step. After polishing the scratches out (which requires more time and effort for larger scratches), you apply Finish to the polished area, using a another cloth and similar movements. After some effort, both the Reprise Sampler DVD and the classical music CD were restored to full operation, with no loss of picture and/or sound quality! Given the damage I had deliberately inflicted, I was really blown away by this.

The DVD Repair Kit contains enough Polish and Finish to repair 12 discs. The application cloths provided can (if thoroughly rinsed and allowed to dry) be reused as many times as needed. There's no other way to say it - the kit really works.

As I said before, the DVD Quick Shield product is designed to add a scratch-resistant coating to the disc surface, to prevent future damage. It also helps to prevent dust and dirt from clinging to the disc. After using it on the Reprise DVD, I tried again to scratch it, and found that it was significantly more difficult to do so.

This product is a real boon to the video rental folks. CD PlayRight's own numbers (kindly provided for me) indicate that rental disc life is greatly improved when treated with the Quick Shield coating. Having tried it myself, I have no reason to doubt this. And as I saw first hand, damaged discs can be repaired, and restored to complete usability with the DVD Repair Kit.

As I learned from their materials, CD PlayRight approached Toshiba, and asked them to evaluate their product. Toshiba, in turn, took it to WAMO (Warner's Advanced Media Operations - the largest DVD manufacturing facility in the world) for testing. WAMO was able to successfully repair all but the most severely damaged discs with the DVD Repair Kit (the actual results of these tests were also provided for my inspection). In addition, WAMO found that discs treated with Quick Shield, were much less easily scratched than non-treated discs.

After trying CD PlayRight's Trio for DVD, I spoke directly with Toshiba's Director of Product Planning for DVD, Craig Eggers. He tells me that they were so impressed by the product, that they now are including a discount coupon for it with all their DVD players. And, according to David Whitesel of CD PlayRight, there's no reason that DVDs couldn't be treated with Quick Shield to begin with, right in the plant as they're manufactured.

All in all, I'm extremely impressed with Trio for DVD. I've already started treating my DVD collection with Quick Shield, for the added scratch protection. For video retailers who rent DVDs, CD PlayRight's Trio for DVD is a must have. And for anyone else, at less than $30, it's well worth the price to protect your DVD investment. As always, I welcome your comments.

For more information, contact:

David Whitesel
Vice President, Operations

CD PlayRight
6339 Long, Suite C
Shawnee, Kansas 66216
1 (800) 800-8879 (toll-free phone)
1 (913) 631-3339 (fax)

Web site: http://www.cdplayright.com
E-mail: Cdmogul@aol.com

Bill Hunt
billhunt@thedigitalbits.com


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