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TK's MORNING BUZZ: It's Time to Retire the Cardboard DVD Case to the Scrap Heap of Other Failed Packaging Experiments

20 Aug, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

It might be because The DVD Awards, which we're producing this year, areright around the corner (Wednesday, August 22 -- did I mention that before?).

Or maybe it's because my wife was doing laundry and found the stash of DVDs I stuck into the laundry room, apparently right in front of the detergent.

In any event, one of my weekend tasks was to begin drawing up a plan toorganize my DVD collection, which is currently spread across most rooms in the house, plus the garage, in various nooks, crannies, closets and cupboards.

As I set about my task, one thing became quite clear: standardized packaging is a MUST.

I love the special editions the studios are putting out, but please, don't mess with the shape or size of the box. It's hard enough to sort these things without having to have a special section for the odd-sized discs. While Inever cared much for collecting VHS, my DVDs are like my rare books -- I wantto assemble a nice, organized library, in alphabetical order, and woe to anymisshapen box that gets in the way of my plans!

On a similar note, let me go on the record as saying I absolutely LOATHE thecardboard boxes used by Warner Home Video and affiliated labels. They areflimsy, the unprotected cover art is prone to scuffing, the hinge wears out and looks ragged after awhile, and they don't stack or file as neatly as those wonderful plastic cases all the other studios are using. The plasticlock mechanism gets in the way.

I know Warner was first out of the gate with DVD and remains the format's chief cheerleader. Warner has released a wealth of wonderful product, and wasthe first studio to actively include special features on its DVDs (The Wild Bunch disc, to me, was a real eye-opener to DVD's potential). Without thedivision's president, Warren Lieberfarb, there would be no DVD, and Warner also deserves credit for leading the charge to day-and-date releasing withVHS.

And yet...there's the matter of The Box. It's time to retire the cardboardDVD case into the scrap heap of other failed packaging experiments, like theoversize cardboard box for CDs and the flimsy cardboard cassette boxes briefly used by RCA in the 1970s.

Cardboard -- it just doesn't work.

Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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