Friday, 17 September 2010

All the 'love' has gone - nearly

I would like to share my latest rant to the not-so-lovely @LoveFilm

Our relationship is not going well and is definitely on the rocks.  Unless they can manage to send me 2 or 3 films on the trot that actually play back all the way through, I think we'll be heading for a nasty divorce after which time I will be thinking about starting a new relationship with Blockbusters or some other attractive film rental service.  I'll be fair though and see what happens next.  I'm always ready to work at any relationship . . .

"I am staggered to again receive a totally unplayable Blu-ray disc from Lovefilm.  This time, the playback was so bad that it stuck throughout from the opening title sequence until I gave up an hour into the film.  5 out of the last 7 films you have sent have been unplayable and even the replacement film for 'Sunshine' was unplayable - that is 6 films in total.

This string of faulty discs had caused me to doubt the quality of my player - the highly rated Panasonic DMR BS750.  I have visited the specialist Panasonic retailer in Chelmsford who played some of your discs in several of their machines and found the same issues that I found.  I bought a £10 head cleaner from them in the hope that it would help.  I also borrowed a collection of 16 Blu-ray discs from a friend of mine.  I have spent many hours playing these films back and all 16 played back faultlessly.  Ironically, they are all ex-rental copies from Blockbusters.
This week I have revisited the most recent films sent by Lovefilm - Master & Commander and Capricorn One.  My hopes were raised as Capricorn One played back fine but Master and Commander has been the worst of the lot.  Errors from the beginning and throughout.
I have become a watcher of films where I no longer follow the story, appreciate the acting or the special effects.  All I now seem to do is wait for skips and jumps in the picture and send back error reports to you.
A few emails back, I was promised a cleaning cloth to clean the discs I receive from Lovefilm but it didn't ever arrive and possibly was never sent.  If I can play 16 ex rental Blockbuster films back-to-back without a single issue, I no longer feel it should be necessary to clean all the discs I receive from Lovefilm - they should be sent in an appropriate condition for playback.
This adventure has led me to considering how you could improve your process for error detection.  Have you considered building machines capable of detecting playback errors and reporting those errors at the end of the playback session?  I think you should put every effort into avoiding sending faulty discs.  If I were to be able to detect a faulty disc before I dedicate 2 hours to sit down and watch it, it would be a simple issue of ticking the fault tick-box and putting it back in the post.  What I really get annoyed about is having to spend 2 hours watching the film, only to find a fault an hour into the film.  This spoils the film and wastes the evening I set aside for watching it.  Furthermore, it deadens the appetite somewhat for wanting to sit down and re-watch the film again, especially (in the case of 'Sunshine'), it proves to be faulty again on the second viewing.
With the 6 films I have been unable to play plus the 16 'test' films I have watched, I now estimate that I have wasted about 35 hours of my time and several months worth of rentals in trying to get this sorted out.  I feel unable to properly enjoy discs that Lovefilm send until I get 80%-90% success rate on playback rather than the 10%-20% of late. I am not yet ready to give up on Lovefilm but I would like you to consider some form of compensation and an effort to try and send me some films that will play back without skipping or jumping.
I would appreciate your views of my recent experience with your films and some form of compensation as you feel is suitable in the circumstances I have described."

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