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Play Scratched DVDs From The Library or Netflix

Updated on July 13, 2010

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Finding entertaining shows for children to watch can be a challenge. Fickle tastes mean that one day a certain show is your son or daughter's favorite TV show and the next day it is boring. Add in the fact that DVDs are easily scratched or gotten dirty and you have a recipe for either a shrinking collection of fun kid's movies and good children's TV shows, or you have a very expensive entertainment option.

One great parenting tip for dads looking to increase the variety of shows and movies their kids watch is to rent DVDs. Places like Blockbuster, and online movie rentals from Netflix both provide a lot of kid friendly DVD rental options. DVD rental kiosks like Redbox provide a cheap option to rent DVDs, but they only have a limited selection of children's movies. An even better option might be your local library.

The Denver Public Library downtown branch, for example, has a huge selection of children's DVDs and family movies that can be checked out for free with a regular library card. Many public libraries in other cities offer the same service. Modern library systems even offer the ability to log into the library's card catalog online from your own home and reserve or place titles on hold. In the Denver library system, you can even choose which library branch you want to pick your materials up at. That means that you don't have to drive across town to pick up your copy of Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Squeakquel.

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Play Scratched DVDs Fix Dirty DVD Movies

The big catch to renting movies from the public library is that they are often scratched or dirty. Whether parents let their kids play with the DVD discs or if some people's DVD players just scratch up movies when they play them, lots of the movies you check out from the library or the family DVDs rented from Netflix are scratched or dirty. Nothing is quite as frustrating as sitting down for a fun family night with one of the best childrens movies for the whole family only to find out the DVD won't play because your DVD player is showing an error message that says, "Can't Play Disc. DVD is dirty."

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Fortunately, there is an easy, free way to fix the problem of dirty DVD movies. The DVD players in computers are built to a much higher standard than standard home theater DVD players. That means that while your living room DVD player chokes on that dirty disc checked out from the kid's section at the library, your computer DVD player might play it with no trouble. Unless you want to crowd the family around the computer monitor, however, that isn't much of a solution.

The fix for dirty DVDs and scratched DVD shows?

Burn a copy of the DVD with your computer.

Now, before everyone freaks out and admonishes me for advocating movie piracy, hear me out.

I do not advocate stealing movies or copying movies for your kids. After all, children learn by watching what their parents do, and even if there is a difference between stealing and piracy in your mind, that is a distinction many kids may not be able to pick up on.

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However, by making a temporary backup copy of the movie or kid's television show you rented or check-out, you are not violating any copyright laws or engaging in digital piracy. You have both the original DVD disc and the backup disc in your possession. Only one copy of the movie is being played, so there is no licensing issue. When you are done with your copy, or more specifically, when you return the DVD to the library or sent it back to Neflix, destroy your copy.

This can get expensive and wasteful if you are using regular DVD-R, or record one-time DVD blank discs. Instead, use rewritable DVD blanks, often designated as DVD-RW or something similar. Each time you get a new movie, just burn the copy of the scratched media over the top of the last movie you rented and you will have skip-free, no disappointment family movie night every time, no matter how scratched those library DVDs are.


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    • profile image

      Duke Nukem 7 years ago

      I actually checked two movies out yesterday and right now I am trying to make a copy due to scratches, and guess what, I can't make a copy. Destroying the copy, if I'm lucky to make one, after watching the movie we'll see about that.

    • Hub Llama profile image

      Hub Llama 7 years ago from Denver, CO


      My experience is much different. I have been able to make copies of numerous DVDs on my computer that would not play at all, or would freeze during playback.

      Of course, there have been some that were so bad that they also would not read in my computer and then, what can you do? Take it back and try something else, I guess.

      Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      DC 7 years ago

      I'm sorry, but this is not much of a fix for scratched DVDs. I've tried to make back-up copies of several library DVDs, and they have all been so badly scratched up that three different DVD-RW drives could not read the entire disc to make a copy. If a stand-alone DVD player can't read them well enough to play them correctly, the drive in the computer probably isn't going to be of much help, UNLESS you use some specialized software that is designed to recover info from a badly damaged disc. I've tried that as well, and it does work, but it takes so long to copy an entire disc that it's not worth it.