GETTING MORE TALE #479: Cracking the Case
Whoever invented the DVD case, damn you.
In case you’re wondering, the dimensions of the standard DVD case are not random. Somebody didn’t just say, “Hey! Let’s package a round disc in an oversized rectangle!” Since DVD was the format destined to replace the old VHS video tape, the dimensions of the case are roughly the same: Height and width. Only the thickness is different. This was done to ease the transition from one format to the next. Stores would presumably have to display their new and exciting DVD inventory on the same old shelving they already had for VHS tapes. Makes sense from that point of view, although the cases are mostly empty space and could have been made smaller to cut costs, and waste.
When Blu-ray came along, the cases were reduced in height, slightly, to differentiate them from their DVD cousins. It’s still mostly a waste of space.
That’s not the big gripe, though. The issue was that some of the cases designed to hold DVDs would eventually destroy them if you put them in and out too many times. This happened to my now long-discarded copy of the Matrix: Reloaded.
The problem with the DVD cases were the spindles or “teeth” inside the held the disc tight, by the center hole. Remember how you had to push down to release the disc? Either by poor design or bad tolerance issues, the act of pushing down and trying to release your disc could introduce tiny cracks around the center hole. Like death by a thousand tiny cuts, the discs would crack further and further every time you used them. Just like your windshield, the cracks grow. Eventually tiny pieces of plastic would begin to flake off the middle.
At the old Record Store, we saw many DVDs that were cracked and flaking in the middle. Customers were always pissed off when we pointed this out, and who can blame them? They didn’t do anything wrong, they were just trying to watch a movie. It’s not their fault that the cases they came in were so poorly designed. Take that disc out one too many times and it’ll crack right in half. I know because I’ve done it myself.
The traditional DVD case is a double fail. Not only was it too big for its britches, but some would damage your precious movie inside! That is unforgiveable.