DVD Player fire? Durabrand/Walmart Snafu

Apparently the stove isn’t the only item in my kitchen that can start a fire.

About three years ago, I bought a Durabrand DVD player at Walmart to accompany a 13-inch television, where I watch my cable recordings and TV DVD box sets while cooking.

According the the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the lid-style player’s circuit board can overheat and pose “a fire and burn hazard to consumers.”

Walmart has confirmed 14 complaints, with seven of them involving fires that damaged property with no injuries. The retail chain is encouraging customers to return the players for a full refund.

If you want to be one of those “better safe than sorry” people, then go ahead and do it. Take the $29 and buy yourself something new.

Personally, I think this is ridiculous:

  • The primary complaint is that the motherboard gets hot. (Start sarcasm.) REALLY! Get out! A DVD or PVR device that gets hot! I’ve never heard of that before! (End sarcasm.)
  • We know nothing about the circumstances of these fires. This could simply be seven people who used their DVD players as a “security measure” — leaving on a television to give the appearance that somebody is home — to fool burgulars while on a two-week vacation.
  • Out of 4.2 million people, only 14 had problems. That’s 0.0000034%.

This particular Durabrand player can play both NTSC and PAL format discs, works well with recordable DVD media, and it can easily be set to region-free mode (using a secret code on the remote, allowing the playback of my overseas disc purchases). It’s small, and it works great — I’m keeping mine.

If my house bursts into flames, I’ll be sure to leave a follow-up blog, from the Internet cafe down the street.

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