Number 4: Slipped Discs DivX Enhanced DVD Players (1998)
[[xref:http://www.pcworld.com/printable/article/id,125772/printable.html|Digital Video Express (DivX)| The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time]] was a train wreck from the moment it left the station. (It earned a 'dishonorable mention' in our story, "[[xref:http://www.pcworld.com/article/125772/the_25_worst_tech_products_of_all_time.html|The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time|The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time]].")
Circuit City's attempt to create 'disposable' time-limited DVDs went off the rails almost immediately--in part because the devices needed to play these discs (such as the Zenith DVX2100, pictured above) were $100 to $200 more expensive than a standard DVD player and required a telephone hookup to verify rentals.
Consumers worried that faceless corporations could track what they watched and when they watched it; studios and video stores balked at carrying films in yet another format. Within a year, Circuit City killed DivX, despite its being "a technological tour de force, easy to use and technically bulletproof," says R.J. Dunnill, who runs the [[xref:http://www.the-doa.com/|ironically acronymed Divx Owners Association|Divx Owners Association]] Web site. The DivX name was later adopted by DivX Inc. for [[xref:http://www.pcworld.com/article/121402/another_way_to_master_your_digital_video.html|a video codec still in use today|Another Way to Master Your Digital Video]]. But don't be misled by competent latter-day naming-rights holders; the original articles were the real stinkers.
Photo: Courtesy of R.J. Dunhill