cleaning dvd's - a sales scam?

Being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, I have purchased a DVD player. The kids at Best Buy tried to sell me a service agreement telling me that this thing has to be cleaned every 6 months. (The manual suggests every 1000 hours of viewing, which would be in 10-15 years at my normal rate.) I am generally opposed to those service agreements, seeing them as money makers for the stores. And, I have a CD player which, for my level audiophility, plays beautifully and it’s 10 years old. I can’t see any particular reason to clean the DVD as often as they’re suggesting, being something of a Ludite and a cynic to boot - I’m skeptical. What’s the straight dope?

being a denser information media , granted i am going by my xbox system that plays dvds , small dust particles may interfere with operation much more than regular cds, but it is nothing a can of compressed air and or a dvd cleaner cd with little brushes can’t cure. chances are you will use it about once a year. so skip the service agreement it is as you surmised a scam.

Consumer Reports spoke on service agreements a while back. Their take on them was that an electrical appliance is most likely to fail at the two extremes of its life expectancy: very, very early (due to some significant manufacturing defect) or very, very late (due to wear). If it fails very, very early, it will be covered by warranty. If it fails very, very late and you have renewed your service contract on it over and over, you’ve probably already shelled out the money for a replacement, but now you’re just stuck with a refurbished old unit and you are missing out on the new whiz-bang features available by then.

Verdict: not worth the money.

Hope this helps.

DVD players are too cheap these days to need a longer guarantee (BTW, did you certain credit cards give you twice the manf guarantee for free?)

But some big items like tvs are okay for longer guarantees. Reason is, is because they come to your house.

From the DVD FAQ

So, no. The service contract is not worth it.

Enjoy your DVD player.

I am not a fan of those lense cleaners with little brushes on them because they knock the hell out of the objective lense as it sits in the optical head. Over 9 years I have replaced too many lasers in CD players that (according to the owner of the player) were working fine before they inserted their cleaning disc.

I wish I could find a really good close-up picture of an optical assembly to impress upon you how delicate the focus & tracking coils are that keep the objective lense suspended in place. It is literally hanging on a wire, aided perhaps by a very thin flimsy piece of plastic. The lense has to be as mechanically free as possible in two dimensions, so the focus & tracking circuitry can align the beam’s focal point on the disc.

Unfortunately I can’t comment on the current design of DVD players, but I do know that CD players were notorious for gathering dust. Some designs were worse than others. The very popular AIWA minisystems are dust magnets. Hopefully DVD enclosures are being made more dust-proof these days.

That said, I agree with Consumer Reports about the most likely failure rates on consumer electronics (although the OP is talking about regular maintenance cleanings, not true failures). In the repair sector we called this the bathtub curve because it was sharply high at both ends and flat in the middle. The slope was even more gradual on the old age side of the curve making it look just like the cross-section of a bath tub.

Another startling fact from the service industry: In one of our communications meetings we were told to be extremely generous on covering almost anything that went wrong with a device that was covered under an extended service warranty (hereinafter ESW). Why? Because (according to mamagement) fewer than 5% of customers who bought the ESW actually made claims on them. The other 95% went right into the company’s already deep pockets.

Answer: Some will need cleaning, some won’t. Big help, I know.

The only electronic device I’ve ever had that even needed a good lens cleaning, much less a service agreement, was my PlayStation. For some reason, that little bugger kept getting dirty, and would skip during movie sequences in games, and a good bout with a lens cleaner always helped. I’ve had my DVD player for three years now, and I’m certain I’ve logged well over 1000 hours, and I’ve had no use for a lens cleaning.

I did buy a service agreement on my TV, though, many moons ago. I sure wish I had that $150 back.


Elsewhere on the SDMB, there is a thread about OTHER bbs’s. I’ve never cheated on this bbs, but between feeling like I’m only one degree of separation from The Great Master, and having members or writers or whatever like these - man, is this a great board or what? thanks, boys and girls. Hope I can be of similar value sometime. xo CC

I think the key words here are “kids from Best Buy.” It’s getting to the point where I dread a visit to Best Buy almost as much as a trip to an auto dealer, only because you have to now fight off their extended warranty pitches.

Well, I got a PS2 & I had to clean one dvd (GS2) on it numerous times . When its cleaned it works right. So much for dvd’s lasting a 100 years-maybe if you don’t play them.

Lots of music cd players need a lens cleaning when they don’t perform well, but the disks themselves need cleaning too.