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Product: Compact Disk: Scratch
Scratchometer   (+5)  [vote for, against]

Some of the DVDs I've borrowed from my local video store have been putrid. All scratched up, sometimes even bad enough to create big, ugly blocks of error correction in the middle of my screen.

Someone should create a machine that sits in the same corner of the video store as the tape rewinder. It looks for scratches that may render the DVD unreadable or less readable. Perhaps it can somehow quantify how scratched a DVD actually is.

The video store can then charge a small fine for each time the DVD comes back significantly more scratched. This would, hopefully, provide an incentive for customers to take some care of the fragile little things and not use them as coasters.

My quick Google search came up with medical grade spectrum analyzers and such, but nothing nearing widely useable commerciality.
-- sdm, Jan 02 2002

(?) a little too complex
[sdm, Jan 02 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

I just don't understand how or why someone can scratch a DVD or CD. My CDs are all kept Mirror smooth.
-- thumbwax, Jan 02 2002

I imagine that you take CDs out of the player, put them into the appropriate case, and put the case onto a shelf or suchlike. There are people (my wife's sister being a prime example) who take a CD from the player and drop it onto the floor with forty-seven of its friends, where it can be danced upon by several drunk loonies. CDs tend not to last as long under these conditions.
-- angel, Jan 02 2002

A quick visual inspection is usually good enough to determine if there are scratches. CD/DVD scratch removers are baked.
-- phoenix, Jan 02 2002

While none of my CDs are scratched (with one exception, a now-bifurcated CD-ROM that I ran over on a chair), I know people who can somehow turn a once-shiny CD or DVD into a horribly scratched mess in days. Somehow, the CDs still seem to play okay, but I'm not sure how much damage a DVD will take before you can notice it.
-- cp, Jan 02 2002

And sometimes you have accidents...I bumped the drawer on my computer while putting a CD in once, and it started closing while the disk was only halfway in...The drawer closed almost all the way and the disk was half out...

Fortunately, it was a crap CD that I had burned for someone and I could quickly redo it...
-- StarChaser, Jan 02 2002

I once borrowed a CD that had obviously been used as a coaster. It just gives me the shits having to clean things that other people should have taken care of. A purpose-built machine to analyse DVDs and quantify the damage done to them would ensure that the people who do the most damage to a disc, pay for the damage that they do.

I thought to myself also, that if the damage is just a liquor stain or somesuch, the Scratchometer could have a disc cleaner built in.

And [cp], DVDs are, apparently, about ten times less likely to be rendered unreadable by a scratch or stain. Certainly, I've borrowed some DVDs with huge marks on them and the worst I've experienced is a big, ugly square of strange colours, hashes, percentages, and dollar signs.
-- sdm, Jan 03 2002

random, halfbakery