RE: [Videolib] DVD-R -- not a stable format

Mark Kopp (iu8film@iu08.org)
Fri, 17 Feb 2006 16:24:52 -0500

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With all the questions regarding DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD+RW, etc, etc, I =
figured, though quite lengthy, the following would be very timely to =
post Again, please excuse the length, but the article is quite =
definitive. At least some of geeks find it interesting reading...lol
*************************************

Difference Between DVD+R and
DVD-R, DVD-RAM, DVD-RW
or DVD+RW - Americal.com=20

The DVD Recordable FAQ
Your Top DVD Burning Questions=20

=A92004 by Americal.com, all rights reserved.

Here's a list of the 11 questions about DVD recordables that thousands =
of our customers ask most often. You may want to save this page by =
printing it out and forward this email to a friend.=20

1. New! Some DVD-Rs burn too slow, or not at all on my burner... =
<http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#faq_0> =20
2. New! What is drive firmware, and why do I need it? =
<http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#fw_definition> =20
3. New! How can I find out my DVD burner's firmware level? =
<http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#finding_fw_level> =20
4. New! Where can I download free firmware upgrades? =
<http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#fw_downloads> =20
5. How can I make copies of my DVD movies or games? =
<http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#faq_1> =20
6. Which DVD burner and discs are best? =
<http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#faq_2> =20
7. Which DVD players can play +/- DVDR's? =
<http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#faq_2a> =20
8. Why do my DVD-Rs only play on some DVD players and not others? =
<http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#faq_3> =20
9. What is the difference between DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R and DVD+RW? =
<http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#faq_5> =20
10. Will paper DVD labels hurt my recorded DVDs? =
<http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#faq_6> =20
11. How long do recorded DVD discs last? =
<http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#faq_7> =20
12. What are "Authoring" DVD-R discs? =
<http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#faq_8> =20
13. Are DVD-R discs guaranteed to be compatible with my player or =
burner? <http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#faq_9> =20
14. Will my DVD-R discs burn at 2X speed? =
<http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#faq_10> =20

Here are the detailed answers, with links to our pages where you can see =
more information, compatible products and latest prices:=20

(New!) Some DVD-Rs burn too slowly, or not at all on my burner...=20

THE PROBLEMS
Many models of DVD burners have had problems burning more than a few, =
limited brands of DVD-R discs. And, sometimes discs that are sold as =
being 2X or 4X rated only burn at 1X speeds. And also, after being =
recorded many DVD-R discs would either not play or produce playback =
errors in some DVD players. Here are some of the complaints we hear most =
often:=20

* "My 8X DVD Writer won't even recognize many brands of 8X DVD-Rs, or =
only burns them at 4x or 2x, sometimes even 1x... are these bad discs?"=20
* "My 4X DVD Writer won't even recognize many brands of 4X DVD-Rs!"=20
* "My 4X DVD Writer burns some 4X DVD-Rs at 4X and others at only 1X!"=20
* "My 2X DVD Writer burns all 4X discs at 1X... why not 2X?"=20
* "My DVD Writer shows lots of errors when burning 2X or 4X DVD-Rs!"=20
* "My DVD Writer seems to burn at 4X okay, but then the discs don't play =
well!"=20
* "My old 103/104 model burned these same DVD-R discs at 2X, and now my =
new 105/A05 only burns them at 1X -- what's going on?"=20

BACKGROUND
Fixes are now available for many models of DVD burners that will address =
some of these issues (see if your burner model is listed below). The DVD =
recording industry is still evolving, and important improvements in how =
well discs, burners and players work together are being made almost =
every week. As the factories which produce the various brands of burners =
and discs and players learn about ways to make their products work =
better, they add these improvements into newer models they are shipping, =
and also release "firmware upgrades" where possible to add these =
improvements into burners and players they have already sold. Some of =
these problems are impossible to fix, but great improvements are being =
made.=20

SOLUTIONS
The newest firmware upgrades from burner manufacturers can improve your =
burner's compatibility with DVD-R discs, making it possible to burn them =
and play them with fewer errors and at higher speeds. you simply =
download a free upgrade from your manufacturer, install it into your =
burner, and then do some more tests. In many cases, after installing the =
latest firmware upgrades you will find...=20

After Installing the New Firmware...=20

* Most 8x or 4x discs will now burn at their full top speed rating=20
* Many 2X DVD-R discs that would only burn at 1X will now burn =
successfully at 2X speed=20
* Many 4X DVD-R discs that would not burn at all, will now burn =
successfully=20
* Many 4X DVD-R discs will now "fall back" to 2X instead of 1X when 4X =
speed is not possible=20
* Many 2X rated DVD-R discs will now burn at 2X instead of only 1X or =
not at all=20
* Overall writing or reading disc errors will be reduced on most disc =
brands=20

WHERE TO DOWNLOAD FIRMWARE UPGRADES

DVD Burner Drive Updates - Most problems with drive performance and disc =
compatility can be solved by upgrading your drive to the latest firmware =
by downloading a small free updater file from the manufacturer, and =
running it on your computer. Updates are free, and usually come out =
several times a year. Even new drives usually need new updates applied =
to fix problems. New firmware will update the settings on your drive's =
internal firmware chip to fix bugs and improve performance with more =
brands of discs. We maintain a page to help you find the latest firmware =
for your DVD burner model, and keep it up to date with latest download =
links. You can find recent firmware free download links on our own =
Burner Compatibility Updates =
<http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-burner-compat.html> page. On our page, =
click the brand at the top of the page to jump to your brand of drive. =
This will show you a download link for firmware updates, and also a list =
of our recommended compatible discs by Stock Nos. for your particular =
burner - be sure to check this important page often. You can also find =
recent updates at Firmware-Flash.com <http://forum.rpc1.org/dl_all.php> =
. On that page, click the "DVD Recorder" link under your brand of drive, =
and then find your model listed on the next page.=20

WHAT IS FIRMWARE? -- BACKGROUND OF HOW DVD WRITERS WORK
WITH DIFFERENT BRANDS OF DISCS
DVD burners optimize their ability to write to different brands of DVDs =
by internal "write strategies" that control the laser power and pulse =
settings to maximize its accuracy with each different dye formula, =
reflector density and plastic doping chemistry for each brand of blank =
DVD disc. When a disc is inserted, the drive reads the factory media ID =
off the disc and queries its internal list of known disc brands and =
write strategies. If the disc is listed, then it uses the write strategy =
for that disc. If a write strategy for a particular disc brand is not =
present in the drive's firmware, it tries to estimate how best to write =
to the disc by writing to the small re-writable "power calibration" area =
on each unknown disc type to see which power setting might produce best =
results for the unknown disc brand. In some cases, the firmware is =
unable to produce reliable burning with a particular disc brand, and =
rejects the disc as having a "power calibration error" or "illegal disc" =
or a similar error. This error is generally not related to disc quality =
issues, but is simply a result of the drive not having the latest =
firmware in it that lists the particular disc brand.=20

FIRMWARE UPGRADES
>From time to time, drive makers test additional brands of DVD discs and =
then update their firmware with new write strategies for those newly =
tested discs, enabling their drives to work with more brands of DVD =
discs. All DVD writer owners need to frequently check with their drive =
manufacturer to see if there is a new firmware upgrade available for =
their drive. That way they can expect to enjoy working with more brands =
of discs, and more reliably with the discs that they already can use.=20

HOW TO FIND YOUR DRIVE'S MODEL and FIRMWARE LEVEL -- For Windows =
computers, right click on MY COMPUTER, then click on the HARDWARE tab, =
then click on the DEVICE MANAGER button, then click to highlight your =
drive from the list of devices, and select PROPERTIES, then SETTINGS if =
shown. You should see your drive manufacturer, model and firmware =
revision level listed. For Macintosh computers, go to the Apple Menu at =
the upper left of your screen, and pull down to activate the Apple =
System Profiler. Click on the DEVICES AND VOLUMES tab at the top, then =
find the line down the left side that lists the ATA Device for your =
Superdrive, and click on the small ARROW to expland that line. It should =
now show your drive model, manufacturer and firmware revision number.=20

(1) How can I make copies of my DVD movies or games?=20

IMPORTANT
We no longer sell DVD copying software--here's why... Some recent USA =
court decisions have backed up the arguments made by the Recording =
Industry Association of America, and various other trade associations, =
that all movie and music disc copying is unlawful. Whether this line of =
reasoning will stand for many years to come remains to be seen. Retail =
software companies like DVD X COPY which had previously facilitated such =
copying have been ordered to change their programs to stop the practice =
for any copy protected DVD movie or audio disc. Other companies and =
software makers may face similar orders in the future, or perhaps future =
appeals and laws may return to the idea of "fair use" copying. The =
previous interpretations of "fair use" in copyright laws permitted =
making ONE copy of a recording as a backup of a disc or tape you =
actually own, for your own use. They did NOT permit making a copy of a =
disc you did not own, nor re-distributing any copies to others. Remember =
that making more than one copy of any disc you own is certainly against =
the law and "fair use". And, making a copy of a friend's disc, or =
distributing copies to friends is directly against the law. Please use =
these DVD and CD creation software applications and devices in legal =
ways. Respect the intellectual property rights of the authors of these =
discs. We do not support nor encourage unethical or illegal copying of =
DVDs or CDs or tapes, and we will not assist people in those efforts.=20

Freeware DVD Backup Programs -- If legal to use in your state or =
country, you may want to download these programs below. Check your local =
laws if uncertain about whether you can use these programs in your area. =

The two programs below are very easy to use, and dependable for most =
users with Windows computers. If your DVD is a short movie less than 2 =
hours long, and less than 4.7 GB in total size, then it will fit onto =
one DVD-R or DVD+R and you can use DVD Decrypter. If your original DVD =
is longer than two hours or its total size is bigger than 5GB, then you =
need to use DVD Shrink. DVD Shrink will let you squeeze these bigger =
DVDs into one DVDR disc. You will be able to choose which languages, =
menus, trailers and titles to remove and what final quality setting to =
use. Removing most extras from these longer movies often lets you get a =
final quality of 90% or so, which is still quite enjoyable. DVD Shrink =
does require that you have Nero =
<http://www.nero.com/en/631939541422774.php> already installed in your =
computer, since it automatically depends on Nero's burn engine to do the =
final burning of your DVDR disc. If you don't have Nero =
<http://www.nero.com/en/631939541422774.php> yet, you can use the link =
below to download a trial version. After 30-days, it costs $60 for the =
serial number.=20

* For DVD5 "Short" Movie Disks -- up to 4.7gb 2 hour movies onto one =
DVD. Requires no added software.=20
* DVD Decrypter 3.1.9.0 (January, 2004)=20

* Download DVD Decrypter 3.1.9.0 <http://www.dvd-guides.com/tools.php> =

* Read a How-to-Use DVD Decrypter Guide =
<http://www.dvd-guides.com/guides.php?category=3Ddvdcopy&name=3Ddecrypter=
dvd> =20

=09

* For DVD9 "Long" Movie Disks -- squeezes 9gb several hours onto one =
DVD. The recording function requires Nero, see below.=20
* DVD Shrink 3.1.4 (January, 2004)=20

* Download 3.1.4 <http://www.dvd-guides.com/tools.php> - Latest =
version=20

* Read a How-to-Use DVD Shrink Guide =
<http://www.dvd-guides.com/guides.php?category=3Ddvdcopy&name=3Dshrink> =

* Nero Suite 6.3.x -- required to use DVD Shrink above. If you already =
have an older Nero version installed, you may not need this download.=20
* Nero 6.3.x 30-day Trial Download <http://www.nero.com/> (Serial =
Number costs $60 after 30 days)=20

Other Programs -- The two programs above are all most users will every =
need. However, many other programs are also available, some free and =
some in trial or retail versions. See them described in the big list on =
the http://www.dvdrhelp.com/tools/ page.=20

DVD burners are made to produce your own ORIGINAL DVD movies (such as =
wedding videos, home movies, company presentations, etc.), to record =
backups of VHS movies and television shows, and so on. However, when it =
comes to duplicating DVDs, burners and DVD movie or game discs are =
designed to make it difficult for you to make direct copies.=20

So, DVD burners are NOT capable of DIRECTLY copying a DVD movie or game =
disc, since the discs are scrambled, and the CES de-scrambling codes are =
located on a part of the disc that cannot be mechanically copied by the =
burners, but can be read by all DVD players. Those codes are required to =
decode them, so they will play on the DVD players.=20

* Back to Top <http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#top_list>=20

(2) Which DVD burner and discs are best?=20

The recordable DVD world is now a bit too complicated, something like =
the video tape or CD-R world was many years ago. Take a look at a few =
dozen of the most popular DVD Writers and the types of DVD recordable =
discs they can work with at... Our "Which Burner with Which DVD?" Page =
<http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-compatibility.html> =20

Recommended DVD Burner -- The new Pioneer DVR-107 and their previous =
DVR-106D model are the most popular and dependable burners/players for =
most users. They burns or creates 4.7gb DVD=B1R write-once discs at up =
to 4x speed (8x for the new DVR-107) and DVD=B1RW erasable discs at 2x =
(4x for the DVR-107). They also creates or burns CD-R and CD-RW discs. =
It plays DVD-R, DVD-RW, CD-R, CD-RW and both DVD Video and DVD Music, CD =
Video and CD music discs. They are internal ATAPI EIDE drives that work =
in the great majority of Windows PCs and G4 Macs. Installation is easy, =
and is "plug-n-play", only taking a few minutes. If you can install a =
hard drive, you can install this DVD burner. An optional external =
Firewire/USB2.0 enclosure can also be ordered with the drive if you =
intend to use it on Notebook computers or want to make the drive usable =
on more than one PC. See our DVD burners at... Our DVD Burner Page =
<http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd_burners.html> .=20

Regarding DVD-R and player compatibility, see our below... Which DVD =
players can play +/- DVDR's? =
<http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#faq_2a> =20

The majority of DVD players now in the market appear to play at least =
one type of DVD=B1R 4.7gb "general purpose" type discs well.=20

We sell all formats of recordable DVD discs, including DVD-R, DVD-RW, =
DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM, and so on. So whichever burner you buy, we can =
sell you the discs you need at very competitive prices.=20

There are other burners out in the market, including the Panasonic =
drives which burn only DVD-R/W and DVD-RAM discs. The advantage to this =
recorder is that it can edit DVD video using the fast DVD-RAM discs, and =
then produce a final DVD-R disc which will play on most popular consumer =
DVD players. If you do a lot of DVD video editing you may want to =
consider this drive. However, many video editors prefer to edit their =
video on their fast hard drives since hard drives are so cheap these =
days, and prefer the versatility of the Pioneer DVR-A04 above for =
burning and playing many formats of DVDs and CDs. A major problem for =
many users is that these drives require much more expensive DVD-R discs =
than usual, due to their use of a DVD-RAM laser that was designed =
primarily to write to the metallic bottomed DVD-RAM discs. If you are =
intending to use your burner to write to DVD-R discs, don't by a DVD-RAM =
machine. It will end up costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars =
more due to its -R reflectivity issues.=20

If we were entering the market at this time, we would buy the =
most-popular Pioneer DVR-107 burner. For editable discs, we'd use the =
DVD-RWs it burns. For DVD "releases" for public or company-wide =
distribution, we'd use the 4.7 GB DVD-Rs it produces (understanding that =
about many DVD players may not play a particular brand of blank DVD-R or =
DVD+R disc). Over time, as the market matures, more and more consumer =
DVD players will play the DVD-R discs. It is priced right, and is very =
versatile. Then, we would expect to replace it with an all new drive =
sometime in 18-24 months.=20

* Back to Top <http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#top_list>=20

(3.a) Which DVD players can play +/- DVDR's?=20

Model by Model Lists of Reported Features
by DVDRHELP.COM
Reported DVD Compatibility (as of Feb. 2004)

60% DVD-R "minus" COMPATIBILITY - 2204 of ALL 3688 TOTAL DVD PLAYERS =
<http://www.dvdrhelp.com/dvdplayers.php?DVDname=3D&Submit=3DSearch&dvdr=3D=
1&Search=3DSearch&orderby=3DName> (click to check your model of DVD =
player for Minus or General compatibility)=20

47% DVD+R "plus" COMPATIBILITY - 1731 of ALL 3688 TOTAL DVD PLAYERS =
<http://www.dvdrhelp.com/dvdplayers.php?DVDname=3D&Submit=3DSearch&dvdplu=
sr=3D1&Search=3DSearch&orderby=3DName> (click to check your model of =
DVD player for Plus compatibility)=20

In practice, as shown on the pages linked here, about 53% of today's DVD =
players don't work with either DVD+R or +RW discs, a number which is =
substantially more than the "minority" they admit to on the page above.=20

And, the number for DVD-R and DVD-RW discs is only a bit better, with as =
many as 40% of today's DVD players not working with the "general" or =
"minus" type of blank DVD recordable.=20

However, the percentages are improving. More and more of today's current =
DVD player models actually support playing most DVD-R and most DVD+R =
discs. The number of DVD players actually on the shelves in stores that =
play recordable DVDs is around 90%. Only a few models don't play at =
least some brands and kinds of blank, recordable -R or +R discs.=20

It is our experience that thousands of our customers do in fact report =
greater DVD player compatibility of the DVD-R and DVD-RW "minus" or =
"general" type discs, compared to the "plus" type +R or +RW discs. Some =
sources report similar findings of about 60% player compatibility for =
DVD-R, and only 47% or so for the DVD+R. As always, your own =
compatibility may vary...=20

Furthermore, the actual performance of any particular BRAND of disc can =
vary within a type, due to variations in proprietary (patented) design =
issues relating to differing bottom dyes used, dye laser light =
absorption factors and silver reflectivity values. As a result, any =
particular brand may not perform with a particular model of DVD player, =
even though the player is designed to theoretically handle some brands =
of "plus" or "minus" type of blank DVD.=20

The DVD+RW Alliance group that controls that "plus DVD" recording =
industry claims that their disc format is at least theoretically =
compatible with ALL of the DVD players. See their page at... =
http://www.dvdrw.com/why/compatibility.htm.=20

DVD+R and DVD+RW are compatible!=20

DVD+R/+RW video recorders are based on the standardized DVD-Video =
format currently used by the millions of DVD players sold worldwide. =
Because DVD+RW uses only one mode for recording and editing, every =
recording you make is DVD-Video compatible. There is no need for a =
player explicitly to support DVD+RW or to indicate compatibility with =
DVD+RW on the front of the player by means of a logo. The reason you see =
this on other recordable DVD formats is because they require specially =
adapted players to make their recordings compatible with other machines. =
The logo lets you know which players will work with your recording. In =
contrast, even if a player is not indicated explicitly as being DVD+RW =
compatible, it is very likely it will still play the disc because we use =
the standardized DVD-Video format.=20

On a physical level, recordable and rewritable DVDs are almost =
identical to normal, pre-pressed DVDs. However, due to the nature of =
recordable and rewritable media (such as a different degree of laser =
reflectivity), a minority of players might not be able to play such =
discs correctly. As a guideline to which players can and cannot play =
DVD+R and DVD+RW, so-called compatibility overviews were created.=20

DVD+RW ALLIANCE'S OFFICIAL LIST
DVD+RW Compatibility Overview =
<http://www.dvdrw.com/why/compatoverview.htm> =20

DVDplusRW.org LISTS
Home DVD Players =
<http://www.dvdplusrw.org/resources/compatibilitylist_dvdvideo.html>=20
Computer DVD Drives =
<http://www.dvdplusrw.org/resources/compatibilitylist_dvdrom.html> =20

DVDRHELP.COM LISTS
Main DVD Player Search Form <http://www.dvdrhelp.com/dvdplayers> =20

HP LISTS
HP DVD Player Compatibility List =
<http://www.hp.com/cposupport/information_storage/support_doc/lpg41401.ht=
ml> =20

RICOH LISTS
<http://www.ricoh.co.jp/dvd/asia/cope/>=20

* Back to Top <http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#top_list>=20

(3) Why do my DVD-Rs only play on some DVD players and not others?=20

While the DVD Movie and Game discs you buy or rent in the stores appear =
to be "silver" or "gold", they are usually made from aluminum coatings, =
over a clear layer that has been mechanically pressed with pits or holes =
to encode the data that the lasers in the DVD players decode into music =
and video signals. DVD Video discs that are made this way do not require =
the light sensitive dye layer used in DVD-R discs, and so they appear =
clear on the bottom, or nearly so. They never have to be "burned".=20

By contrast, the recordable DVD-R discs use a dark dye layer to absorb =
the higher powered laser in DVD burners to create the tiny pits or holes =
that encode the disc's data. This dye layer causes problems for some =
cheaper and older DVD players, but it is none-the-less required to =
"burn" the DVD-R. Most of today's DVD Players now are able to read both =
the clear bottomed DVD movie and game discs, and also the colored dye =
bottomed DVD-R discs. We have a page that lists over 200 DVD players now =
in the market, rating their DVD-R playing compatibility. Approximately =
97% of today's DVD players actually being sold at the moment, can play =
DVD-R type discs, while about 86% will play DVD+R discs. When you count =
ALL THE PLAYERS still in use, then the numbers drop down to 47-60% =
compatibility... but the older machines are being replaced by newer more =
compatible machines pretty fast. You can see more info on DVD players =
and DVD-R/+R compatibility discussed below...=20

As far as the "quality" of the DVD-R discs themselves, we constantly =
test our own generic DVD-Rs to ensure their high-quality, low-errors, =
and consistent workability with popular players and burners. We get far =
less than 1% of them returned. See our FULL list of all our general =
purpose DVD-Rs at... General DVD-Rs List =
<http://www.americal.com/ct/gen%20dvd%20media.html> =20

The blank DVD-Rs we call "Pro-Grade" are our best quality discs, with =
the lowest error rates and highest player/burner compatibility. See our =
list of Pro-Grade general purpose DVD-Rs at... Pro-Grade DVD-Rs =
<http://www.americal.com/ct/gen%20pro%20dvd%20media.html> =20

Our "Standard Grade" DVD-Rs are less expensive, but may not be =
compatible with a few brands of DVD burners and players, such as the =
Panasonic DMR-EM20/30 series. Otherwise, the discs are of reliable, =
consistent quality for most users. See our list of Standard general =
purpose DVD-Rs at... Standard Grade DVD-Rs =
<http://www.americal.com/ct/standard%20dvd%20media.html> =20

* Back to Top <http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#top_list>=20

(4) Which DVD recordable discs are the most compatible with players?=20

Not all DVD Players are capable of playing or reading a DVD-R format =
recordable DVD disc. And, those that can play at least one kind or brand =
of DVD-R may not be able to play other brands, regardless of quality.=20

Most Can... A glance at the lists linked here will show you that about =
97% of today's DVD players actually on shelves can handle DVD-Rs. As you =
may know, the store-bought DVD Movies and Games you have were pressed =
mechanically, like old-fashioned vinyl LP records. By contrast, your =
recordable DVD-R discs are "burned" with a laser, and have a slightly =
different format than the retail DVDs you buy or rent. Playing your =
burned DVD-Rs requires an extra feature or two that MOST but not all =
players have. Below is our current detailed list, of existing DVD player =
brands and models with an evaluation of their ability to play your DVD-R =
recordings.=20

Little Differences Matter... There are subtle differences between the =
dye formulas and top reflectors used among DVD-R manufacturers, as each =
company struggles to find a "middle ground" that straddles the wide =
variations in laser types and logic circuitry used by DVD players and =
burners. Even though two general purpose type DVD-Rs may be well made, =
they may have been made to slightly different standards by their makers; =
each deciding to be more or less compatible with certain brands of =
players and burners.=20

How Do We Know? This information has been obtained from many sources, =
including our own tests and information from users such as yourself. It =
is constantly updated. While we cannot absolutely guarantee that your =
recordings will play on each of these players, we hope that this partial =
list of over 200 different DVD players will help you see the present =
state of the DVD player market.=20

No Guarantees... Remember that this list is merely a guide to DVD-R and =
DVD player compatibility. It does not, nor cannot guarantee that any one =
DVD-R disc is compatible with a particular player. It merely reports =
that the player has been reported to work with at least ONE type or =
brand of general purpose DVD-R or DVD-RW.=20

Try a Few... As always, we recommend that you buy small quantities of =
several types of general purpose DVD-R discs to determine which will =
work best with your own burner and available target DVD players. The DVD =
recordable market is constantly changing and requires that you be =
willing to invest a minimum of time and a modest "testing budget" to =
gain the experience and knowledge you need to fully enjoy and benefit =
from this exciting new technology. If you wish, you may want to order =
one of our affordable Sampler DVD Paks =
<http://www.americal.com/ct/gen%20dvd%20sampler.html> (Each sampler pak =
includes FREE 2nd Business Day Air Shipping at no additional charge, and =
is non-returnable.)=20

Share Your Wisdom... If you wish to provide us with another model that =
you have tested personally and can provide reliable information about, =
or you have found an error in the list below, feel free to email us your =
own research results at... support@vend4less.com=20

* Back to Top <http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#top_list>=20

(5) What is the difference between DVD-R/DVD-RW, DVD+R/DVD+RW and =
DVD-RAM discs?=20

DVD-R and DVD-RW=20

These 2 disc types were created by the DVD Forum ( see it at DVD Forum =
Site <http://www.dvdforum.org/forum.shtml> ).=20

Both DVD-R and DVD-RW types generally come in the single-sided, single =
layer 4.7 GB capacity, which is roughly equal to 120-minutes of standard =
playing time.=20

You can also now find 9.4 GB double-sided discs entering the market, =
although there are no players which will automatically play both sides =
of the disc without ejecting it and turning it over. Eventually, there =
will be DVD-R discs available that will hold around 20 GB of data, =
recorded into two layers on each side of the disc. At this time, these =
20gb discs are not yet available.=20

The most common DVD-R is a write-once 4.7gb disc that comes in two =
sub-types -- "general purpose" and "authoring". The general purpose =
discs are part of the industry's copy-protection scheme, which employ =
CES scrambling to protect movies and music and game discs from being =
copied. These discs can only be burned by general purpose type DVD =
writers such as the Pioneer DVR-A04/104/A03/103 machines, the Panasonic =
LF-D311 and D321, Apple Superdrive, etc. Such machines cannot copy the =
playback descrambling codes on DVD movies or game discs, so they cannot =
be easily copied. Authoring DVD-Rs must be burned by the Pioneer =
DVR-S201 DVD Writer, which produces non-copy protected discs for use in =
the industry for professional, retail DVD duplicators and distributors. =
Once recorded, either a general or authoring DVD-R can be played on most =
DVD players (if the player is DVD-R compatible). See our DVD-R discs' =
info and price offerings at... General DVD-R Discs Info =
<http://www.americal.com/ct/gen%20dvdr%20media.html> =20

By contrast to the write-once DVD-R types, the DVD-RW is fully =
re-writable or eraseable up to 1,000 times. However, unlike the older =
DVD-RAM format, these particular erasables are NOT "random access", =
meaning that you cannot erase bits and pieces of them. Instead, you have =
to completely erase the whole disc to reuse it. The DVD-RW can be played =
on many DVD players, but not quite as many as the DVD-Rs. Of course, =
DVD-RAM discs are playable on only a few types of DVD players. See our =
DVD-RW discs' info and price offerings at... General DVD-RW Info =
<http://www.americal.com/ct/gen%20dvdrw%20media.html> =20

Most DVD-R burners like the Pioneer DVR-104s and compatibles, can also =
burn DVD-RW discs. An exception is the popular Panasonic DVD burners, =
which burn only DVD-R and DVD-RAM. This drive is great for users who =
want both data storage and editing features from DVD-RAM, and DVD-R =
production capabilities for disc copying and distribution.=20

DVD-R is the most popular format for most Windows users, and is almost =
universally accepted by Mac users as their standard DVD recordable =
format.=20

DVD+R and DVD+RW=20

These two types were created and are backed by the DVD+RW Alliance ( see =
it at DVD+RW Alliance Site <http://www.dvdrw.com/> ). A few companies =
who back the DVD Forum (above) are also active in the DVD+RW Alliance, =
but the two standards are not compatible.=20

The oldest "plus type" DVD is the DVD+RW. It, like DVD-RW, is a =
rewriteable 4.7 GB DVD kind of disc. DVD+RW, does have a couple of =
technical advantages -- (1) lossless linking (which enables some editing =
after recording without a full erasure that DVD-RW requires), (2) up to =
2.4X recording speeds on some burners, and (3) a special drag-and-drop =
file support on the desktop (otherwise known as DVD+MRW). Unfortunately, =
the DVD+R disc type does NOT even begin to compare with DVD-R as far as =
DVD playback compatibility. However, the actual level of DVD workability =
on players of DVD+RW is claimed to be about equal to DVD-RW. Of course, =
even so, neither the DVD+R nor the older DVD+RW discs are as popular as =
DVD-R and DVD-RW are. See our DVD+RW disc info and prices offerings =
at... DVD+RW Product List =
<http://www.americal.com/ct/plus-rw%20media.html> =20

The newer DVD+R write-once type disc is aimed at becoming more =
compatible with DVD players. However, the fact is that so far it is only =
about as compatible as DVD-R discs are. Also, the DVD+R discs are more =
expensive in today's market, and not burnable by "1st generation" =
plus-type burners, which were designed only for the DVD+RW rewritable =
discs. If you want to create +R discs, you'll need the newer "2nd =
generation" type burners, such as the Sony 120A, the Ricoh 5125A, and so =
on. See our DVD+R disc info and prices offerings at... DVD+R Product =
List <http://www.americal.com/ct/plus-r%20media.html> =20

DVD-RAM=20

DVD-RAM is used for data backups and storage, and for editing of video =
or audio content prior to the production of a final distribution DVD. =
The DVD-RAM disc type is made to act a lot like a hard drive, where the =
disc can be formatted for HFS+ Macintosh or Windows type computers, and =
so on. It can handle 100,000 or more erasures, and should last for many =
years. Of course it is not playable on many DVD players. Type 2.0 =
DVD-RAM discs can be removed from their cases to enable playback on the =
few players in which they are compatible. The newer DVD-RAM drives can =
handle any sized such disc, including 2.6, 5.2, 4.7 or 9.4 GB discs. See =
our DVD-RAM disc info and prices offerings at... DVD-RAM Product List =
<http://www.americal.com/ct/dvdram%20media.html> =20

HOW ABOUT AN "EVERY DVD" TYPE BURNER?=20

Nope. Unfortunately you can't get a burner that will handle both =
"general type" and "plus type" DVD recordables.=20

The Panasonic LF-D321/311 machines (and OEM versions packaged by other =
companies using the same mechanism) offers a drive that some users =
prefer. It lets you do backups, editing and temporary storage on DVD-RAM =
discs, and then lets you switch to DVD-R's popular format when you want =
to make discs for distribution. For editing, the DVD-RAM is very fast =
and offers a drag-and-drop type ease of use like a hard drive. See the =
Panasonic DVD Writers at... Panasonic DVD Burners =
<http://www.americal.com/ct/lfd311.html> =20

However, the popular Pioneer DVR-104 and its OEM compatibles such as the =
Apple Superdrive also offer a combination of features -- you can burn =
both CD-R and CD-RW discs, as well as DVD-R and DVD-RW discs. While you =
can use DVD-RW for erasable backups, you don't have the easy file access =
that DVD-RAM offers. As far as editing goes, most users simply buy =
bigger hard drives to have the room for video and music edits. Hard =
drive prices and speed advantages make that an attractive option. =
Altogether, these drives are by far the most popular machines for most =
users. See the Pioneer combo DVD Writers at... Pioneer DVD Burners =
<http://www.americal.com/ct/pioneer%20dvd%20burner.html> =20

* Back to Top <http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#top_list>=20

(6) Will paper DVD labels hurt my recorded DVDs?=20

For many years, CD-R manufacturers recommended that users NOT apply =
paper labels to their newly recorded CDs. They felt that the labels' =
adhesive would harm the sensitive silver reflector by tarnishing it, or =
that off-center labels might cause the disc to wobble, making it =
unreadable.=20

These factors are much more important today for DVD recordable discs =
than they ever were for CD-Rs. On DVD-Rs, the tiny data bubbles that =
encode the video and audio data are 8-times closer together than on CDs. =
Even the slightest degradation of the edges of the bubbles due to UV or =
heat exposure can ruin a DVD-R. Also, even the slightest wobbling during =
playback can make video tracks unreadable, or produce "jitters" or =
blinking, horizontal lines, and so on. In some cases, the discs can =
become completely unplayable.=20

We recommend that if you wish to apply labels to your DVD recorded =
discs, you use our "no-wobble" discs, together with an appropriate =
full-face label applicator tool to help you center and prevent bubbles =
when applying the labels. See these products at... No-Wobble DVD Labels =
<http://www.americal.com/ct/no-wobble.html> =20

The other solution is to print directly onto the disc itself with a high =
quality inkjet or thermal printer. We sell special inkjet surface DVD-R =
discs. See them at... Inkjet Printable DVDs =
<http://www.americal.com/ct/dvd%20inkjet%20media.html> =20

We also sell CD/DVD inkjet printers with the pass-thru trays that let =
you print directly onto the special inkjet discs... Direct-to-disc =
Inkjet Printers <http://www.americal.com/ct/inkjet%20printer.html> =20

* Back to Top <http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#top_list>=20

(7) How long do recorded DVD discs last?=20

All DVD recordable discs are extremely sensitive to heat, UV light and =
humidity. You should avoid exposing them to any extremely hot =
environment such as automobile interiors in the sun, or inside near =
radiators or heaters, or near an outside window, and so on.=20

It's best to keep all DVD-R discs stored in a cool, dry place, closed up =
in a blank plastic DVD movie case. This will ensure that they last the =
longest.=20

Avoid any abrasive, scratching or etching treatment of the disc's top or =
bottom. Remember that they are much more sensitive than DVD VIdeo or =
Game discs, and that even a small scratch can make them unplayable.=20

However, a scratched DVD-R can be destroyed in seconds, and one exposed =
to high temperatures, humidity or strong UV light sources can become =
unplayable within anything from a few hours to a few days. One study of =
average DVD-R discs stored at 80 degrees and high humidity showed that =
many of them became unplayable in only a few hundred hours. Imagine what =
storage in a sun-heated car interior's "oven" at about 200 degrees would =
do!=20

Treat your recorded DVD-Rs with care. Handle them by their edges, =
gently. Avoid harsh chemicals in marking pens, ink and label adhesives. =
Avoid touching the top or bottom surfaces. Don't slide them across =
tables, players or computer cases. Return them to their black DVD cases =
immediately after playing. Don't stack DVD-Rs one on top of each other =
and shuffle them like a deck of cards.=20

Do buy white coated DVD-Rs. The extra top coating can add a bit of extra =
protection against some chemicals and minor nicks and abrasions. Do buy =
gold metal reflectors when you want to get the absolute longest storage =
possible. Gold does not tarnish. Silver alloy metal reflector discs can =
last for many years also, especially with the white top.=20

With proper handling and protection during storage, a DVD-R disc can =
last for longer than you will probably want to re-play them. One company =
claims that its DVD-R discs can last up to 100-years or more. Store your =
own DVD recorded discs carefully in a cool, dark, dry place and they =
should last for many years.=20

* Back to Top <http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#top_list>=20

(8) What are "Authoring" DVD-R discs?=20

Authoring type DVD-R discs are made to be compatible only with the very =
expensive Pioneer DVR-S201 DVD Writer, which sells for $4,000 to $5,000. =
This machine produces special DVD-Rs which are used as "mastering" discs =
for professional distribution and duplication purposes. Authoring discs =
are not compatible with inexpensive "general purpose" or "plus type" =
DVD-R/RW or DVD+R/+RW Writers. The actual quality of authoring discs is =
not necessarily better than any other. It is simply a non-copy protected =
disc type, made for professional use. See our AUTHORING DVD-R discs' =
info and prices at... Authoring DVD-R Discs =
<http://www.americal.com/ct/auth%20dvd%20media.html> =20

* Back to Top <http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#top_list>=20

(9) Are your DVD-R discs GUARANTEED to be compatible with my player or =
burner?=20

Actually NOBODY can guarantee 100% compatibility for their DVD =
recordables in today's market. Why? Well ...=20

While the market is improving regarding burner/player/disc compatibility =
and conformity with standards, it is not yet a "mature" market.=20

In fact, some say there is a battle going on between major brands such =
as Philips and Pioneer, with the consumer caught in the crossfire.=20

Unfortunately, as a result of this battle, DVD-R discs cannot be =
guaranteed to be compatible with all DVD burners or all DVD players. =
Even within the specific DVD recordable type, such as authoring, general =
purpose, plus and DVD-RAM, a particular brand of disc may not be =
compatible with a particular burner or player. The discs are only =
guaranteed to be free of defects in materials or workmanship. Since you =
find a disc of excellent quality to be incompatible with your particular =
combinations of burners, players and software, we always recommend that =
you order a sampler pak before ordering the larger spindles of discs. =
Anytime after upgrading your software, firmware or changing your =
hardware configuration, we recommend testing again. You may obtain an =
inexpensive, non-returnable sampler pak containing several brands of =
recordable DVD discs at... DVD Sampler =
<http://www.americal.com/ct/dvd%20sampler.html> (we include free 2nd =
day shipping in the cost of these paks)=20

About 75% of today's DVD players can play at least one kind of DVD-R. It =
appears that just slightly fewer can play DVD+R discs at the moment, =
although this number is slowly increasing. Perhaps 25-30% can play some =
kind of DVD-RW. Next come the DVD+RW and DVD-RAM discs. See a list of =
DVD players with recordable playing features at... DVD-R/W Compatible =
Players <http://www.americal.com/pg/dvdr-play-compatibility.html> =20

* Back to Top <http://www.americal.com/pg/dvd-r-faq.html#top_list>=20

(10) Why won't my DVD-R discs burn at 2X speed?=20

Unfortunately there is no official standard for the manufacturers of 2X =
discs. Standards are set by a group called the DVD Forum, and they DO =
have a standard for 1X. The way that Pioneer gets 2X performance on some =
kinds of DVD-R discs is by testing a sample of each manufacturer's discs =
and tweaking their DVR-104/A04 burner's firmware for each disc. If they =
find an adjustment that works for a disc brand and type, they create a =
modified version of their firmware and release it on their web pages. =
Every few weeks or months, there is a new firmware for the Pioneer brand =
DVR-104 and DVR-A04. However, some DVR-104 units installed by other =
computer makers may use different, and older, firmware. That firmware =
may not recognize as many kinds of discs to operate at 2X.=20

FOR WINDOWS USERS -- Most of our Windows users have no problems with the =
2X speed on our 2X Pro-Grade DVD-Rs, however we have had a few Apple =
owners report that they've had problems. If you're a Windows and Pioneer =
drive user and have installed the latest Pioneer firmware upgrades, you =
still may not be able to get 2X performance from some discs that are in =
fact rated for 2X. This may be due to the condition of the disc, the =
version of the creation software you're using and various other factors =
including memory usage, bus and processor speed, and so on. As always, =
it is best to buy a small sampler pack of DVD recordables to check for =
performance on your machine. Be sure that no other programs are running =
other than your disc creation software to guarantee maximum speed =
performance.=20

FOR APPLE MAC USERS -- Apple's Superdrive will probably NOT be =
upgradable with the Pioneer Firmware, but you will need to check with =
Apple to find out. Also, Pioneer may know about that issue, since they =
are the ones doing the testing and re-writing of the upgraded firmware =
for users to download.=20

See the Pioneer 2X DVD-R Writing Statement at... Pioneer's 2X Statement =
<http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/Pioneer/CDA/Common/ArticleDetails/0,14=
84,36000,00.html> =20

See Pioneer's comment about non-Pioneer drives ... "This firmware =
utility is not proper for upgrading OEM drive. For users of OEM drives, =
please contact each PC maker for assistance when upgrading." (By OEM, =
they mean non-Pioneer units like the Apple Superdrive.) at their =
firmware download page... Pioneer's Firmware Page =
<http://wwwbsc.pioneer.co.jp/product-e/ibs/device_e/dev00001r_e.html#firm=
ware1> =20

Read Apple's knowledgebase support page about upgrading the Superdrive's =
firmware... Apple Firmware =
<http://download.info.apple.com/Apple_Support_Area/Misc/Inserts/073-0662-=
a.pdf> (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)=20

________________________________

From: videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu =
[mailto:videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu] On Behalf Of =
MileFilms@aol.com
Sent: Friday, February 17, 2006 11:52 AM
To: videolib@library.berkeley.edu
Subject: Re: [Videolib] DVD-R -- not a stable format

Here's my perspective as a distributor who just got into DVD-R last year =
for our smaller titles. I will be the first to admit that there are =
inherent problems with the technology and say that I don't particularly =
like them. We include instructions in the case or on the back explaining =
the difference between a DVD-R and a DVD that strongly encourages =
everyone to play the DVD-R on the machine that will be used ahead of =
time to make sure it's compatable with the player. On important =
playdates with our new releases, I tend to provide a DVD-R and a DVD+R =
as backup.

DVD-Rs only exist because a) they're cheaper to produce and b) libraries =
and educators prefer DVDs in whatever format over VHS tapes. It's =
getting back to Gary's theory about new technologies. And admitedly, =
when done right and depending on the source material, DVD-Rs do look =
better than tape.

I'd say "home produced" DVD-Rs (those burned on replicators or computers =
at the distributor) have a 5% to 20% failure rate, which is way too =
much. The DVD-Rs that come straight from the lab with more sophisticated =
machinery, seems to have less failures.=20

Of course, anytime there's a failed DVD-R, we replace it immediately and =
I suspect other companies do as well. And we are continuously =
investigating ways to provide real DVDs for new nontheatrical titles at =
an economical cost, and though that time hasn't come yet, it should =
soon. Especially when the studios start going over to HD-DVD and the =
small replicators get desperate for standard DVD work.

We also established a policy for those who bought a DVD-R from us for =
institutional rates (such as WINTER SOLDIER), where we will be shipping =
the standard DVDs out automatically to those people when they are =
printed for the home video market. I hope other distributors consider =
this.

Hopefully, DVD-Rs will be a temporary format before a better one comes =
along. Most of our DVD-Rs of our older titles cost $29.95 to $39.95 to =
purchase (without PPR) as we have a different model for our company.

Unless they come with a free replacement guarantee at any time (they are =
even more prone to scratches and fingerprints than DVDs), I don't think =
they're worth buying over a VHS. Not yet.

Dennis Doros
Milestone Film & Video
PO Box 128
Harrington Park, NJ 07640
Phone: (800) 603-1104 or (201) 767-3117
Fax: (201) 767-3035
Email: milefilms@aol.com
Website: http://www.milestonefilms.com

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With all the questions regarding DVD+R, DVD-R, = DVD+RW, etc,=20 etc, I figured, though quite lengthy, the following would be very timely = to post=20 Again, please excuse the length, but the article is quite definitive. At = least=20 some of geeks find it interesting reading...lol
*************************************

Difference Between DVD+R and
DVD-R, = DVD-RAM,=20 DVD-RW
or DVD+RW - Americal.com=20

The DVD Recordable FAQ
Your Top DVD Burning Questions=20

=A92004 by Americal.com, all rights = reserved.

Here's a list of the 11 questions about DVD recordables that = thousands=20 of our customers ask most often. You may want to save this page by = printing it out and forward this email to a friend.

  1. New! Some = DVD-Rs burn=20 too slow, or not at all on my burner...=20
  2. New! What is = drive firmware, and why do I need it?=20
  3. New! How=20 can I find out my DVD burner's firmware level?=20
  4. New! Where = can=20 I download free firmware upgrades?=20
  5. How can I=20 make copies of my DVD movies or games?=20
  6. Which DVD=20 burner and discs are best?=20
  7. Which DVD=20 players can play +/- DVDR's?=20
  8. Why do my=20 DVD-Rs only play on some DVD players and not others?=20
  9. What is=20 the difference between DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R and DVD+RW?=20
  10. Will paper=20 DVD labels hurt my recorded DVDs?=20
  11. How long=20 do recorded DVD discs last?=20
  12. What are=20 "Authoring" DVD-R discs?=20
  13. Are DVD-R=20 discs guaranteed to be compatible with my player or burner?=20
  14. Will my=20 DVD-R discs burn at 2X speed?

Here are the detailed answers, with links to our pages where = you can=20 see more information, compatible products and latest prices:

(New!)=20 Some DVD-Rs burn too slowly, or not at all on my burner... =

THE PROBLEMS
Many models of DVD burners have had = problems=20 burning more than a few, limited brands of DVD-R discs. And, = sometimes=20 discs that are sold as being 2X or 4X rated only burn at 1X = speeds. And=20 also, after being recorded many DVD-R discs would either not play = or=20 produce playback errors in some DVD players. Here are some of the=20 complaints we hear most often:=20

  • "My 8X DVD Writer won't even recognize many brands of 8X = DVD-Rs, or=20 only burns them at 4x or 2x, sometimes even 1x... are these bad = discs?"=20
  • "My 4X DVD Writer won't even recognize many brands of 4X = DVD-Rs!"=20
  • "My 4X DVD Writer burns some 4X DVD-Rs at 4X and others at = only 1X!"=20
  • "My 2X DVD Writer burns all 4X discs at 1X... why not 2X?"=20
  • "My DVD Writer shows lots of errors when burning 2X or 4X = DVD-Rs!"=20
  • "My DVD Writer seems to burn at 4X okay, but then the discs = don't=20 play well!"=20
  • "My old 103/104 model burned these same DVD-R discs at 2X, = and now=20 my new 105/A05 only burns them at 1X -- what's going on?" =

BACKGROUND
Fixes are now available for many models of = DVD=20 burners that will address some of these issues (see if your burner = model=20 is listed below). The DVD recording industry is still evolving, = and=20 important improvements in how well discs, burners and players work = together are being made almost every week. As the factories which = produce=20 the various brands of burners and discs and players learn about = ways to=20 make their products work better, they add these improvements into = newer=20 models they are shipping, and also release "firmware upgrades" = where=20 possible to add these improvements into burners and players they = have=20 already sold. Some of these problems are impossible to fix, but = great=20 improvements are being made.=20

SOLUTIONS
The newest firmware upgrades from burner=20 manufacturers can improve your burner's compatibility with DVD-R = discs,=20 making it possible to burn them and play them with fewer errors = and at=20 higher speeds. you simply download a free upgrade from your = manufacturer,=20 install it into your burner, and then do some more tests. In many = cases,=20 after installing the latest firmware upgrades you will find...=20

After Installing the New Firmware...=20

  • Most 8x or 4x discs will now burn at their full top speed = rating=20
  • Many 2X DVD-R discs that would only burn at 1X will now burn = successfully at 2X speed=20
  • Many 4X DVD-R discs that would not burn at all, will now = burn=20 successfully=20
  • Many 4X DVD-R discs will now "fall back" to 2X instead of 1X = when 4X=20 speed is not possible=20
  • Many 2X rated DVD-R discs will now burn at 2X instead of = only 1X or=20 not at all=20
  • Overall writing or reading disc errors will be reduced on = most disc=20 brands

WHERE TO DOWNLOAD FIRMWARE = UPGRADES

DVD Burner Drive Updates - Most problems with drive = performance=20 and disc compatility can be solved by upgrading your drive to the = latest=20 firmware by downloading a small free updater file from the = manufacturer,=20 and running it on your computer. Updates are free, and usually = come out=20 several times a year. Even new drives usually need new updates = applied to=20 fix problems. New firmware will update the settings on your = drive's=20 internal firmware chip to fix bugs and improve performance with = more=20 brands of discs. We maintain a page to help you find the latest = firmware=20 for your DVD burner model, and keep it up to date with latest = download=20 links. You can find recent firmware free download links on our own = Burner=20 Compatibility Updates page. On our page, click the brand = at the=20 top of the page to jump to your brand of drive. This will show you = a=20 download link for firmware updates, and also a list of our = recommended=20 compatible discs by Stock Nos. for your particular burner - be = sure to=20 check this important page often. You can also find recent updates = at Firmware-Flash.com. On = that page, click the "DVD Recorder" link under your brand of = drive, and=20 then find your model listed on the next page.=20

WHAT IS FIRMWARE? -- BACKGROUND OF = HOW DVD=20 WRITERS WORK
WITH DIFFERENT BRANDS OF DISCS

DVD burners = optimize=20 their ability to write to different brands of DVDs by internal = "write=20 strategies" that control the laser power and pulse settings to = maximize=20 its accuracy with each different dye formula, reflector density = and=20 plastic doping chemistry for each brand of blank DVD disc. When a = disc is=20 inserted, the drive reads the factory media ID off the disc and = queries=20 its internal list of known disc brands and write strategies. If = the disc=20 is listed, then it uses the write strategy for that disc. If a = write=20 strategy for a particular disc brand is not present in the drive's = firmware, it tries to estimate how best to write to the disc by = writing to=20 the small re-writable "power calibration" area on each unknown = disc type=20 to see which power setting might produce best results for the = unknown disc=20 brand. In some cases, the firmware is unable to produce reliable = burning=20 with a particular disc brand, and rejects the disc as having a = "power=20 calibration error" or "illegal disc" or a similar error. This = error is=20 generally not related to disc quality issues, but is simply a = result of=20 the drive not having the latest firmware in it that lists the = particular=20 disc brand.=20

FIRMWARE UPGRADES
From time to time, drive makers = test=20 additional brands of DVD discs and then update their firmware with = new=20 write strategies for those newly tested discs, enabling their = drives to=20 work with more brands of DVD discs. All DVD writer owners need to=20 frequently check with their drive manufacturer to see if there is = a new=20 firmware upgrade available for their drive. That way they can = expect to=20 enjoy working with more brands of discs, and more reliably with = the discs=20 that they already can use.=20

HOW TO FIND YOUR DRIVE'S MODEL = and FIRMWARE=20 LEVEL -- For Windows computers, right click on MY = COMPUTER,=20 then click on the HARDWARE tab, then click on the DEVICE MANAGER = button,=20 then click to highlight your drive from the list of devices, and = select=20 PROPERTIES, then SETTINGS if shown. You should see your drive=20 manufacturer, model and firmware revision level listed. For = Macintosh=20 computers, go to the Apple Menu at the upper left of your = screen, and=20 pull down to activate the Apple System Profiler. Click on the = DEVICES AND=20 VOLUMES tab at the top, then find the line down the left side that = lists=20 the ATA Device for your Superdrive, and click on the small ARROW = to=20 expland that line. It should now show your drive model, = manufacturer and=20 firmware revision number.=20

(1) How=20 can I make copies of my DVD movies or games?

IMPORTANT
We no longer sell DVD copying = software--here's=20 why... Some recent USA court decisions have backed up the = arguments made=20 by the Recording Industry Association of America, and various = other trade=20 associations, that all movie and music disc copying is unlawful. = Whether=20 this line of reasoning will stand for many years to come remains = to be=20 seen. Retail software companies like DVD X COPY which had = previously=20 facilitated such copying have been ordered to change their = programs to=20 stop the practice for any copy protected DVD movie or audio disc. = Other=20 companies and software makers may face similar orders in the = future, or=20 perhaps future appeals and laws may return to the idea of "fair = use"=20 copying. The previous interpretations of "fair use" in copyright = laws=20 permitted making ONE copy of a recording as a backup of a disc or = tape you=20 actually own, for your own use. They did NOT permit making a copy = of a=20 disc you did not own, nor re-distributing any copies to others. = Remember=20 that making more than one copy of any disc you own is certainly = against=20 the law and "fair use". And, making a copy of a friend's disc, or=20 distributing copies to friends is directly against the law. = Please use=20 these DVD and CD creation software applications and devices in = legal ways.=20 Respect the intellectual property rights of the authors of these = discs. We=20 do not support nor encourage unethical or illegal copying of DVDs = or CDs=20 or tapes, and we will not assist people in those efforts.=20

Freeware DVD Backup Programs -- If legal to use in your = state or=20 country, you may want to download these programs below. Check your = local=20 laws if uncertain about whether you can use these programs in your = area.=20

The two programs below are very easy to use, and dependable for = most=20 users with Windows computers. If your DVD is a short movie less = than 2=20 hours long, and less than 4.7 GB in total size, then it will fit = onto one=20 DVD-R or DVD+R and you can use DVD Decrypter. If your = original DVD=20 is longer than two hours or its total size is bigger than 5GB, = then you=20 need to use DVD Shrink. DVD Shrink will let you squeeze = these=20 bigger DVDs into one DVDR disc. You will be able to choose which=20 languages, menus, trailers and titles to remove and what final = quality=20 setting to use. Removing most extras from these longer movies = often lets=20 you get a final quality of 90% or so, which is still quite = enjoyable. DVD=20 Shrink does require that you have Nero = already=20 installed in your computer, since it automatically depends on = Nero's burn=20 engine to do the final burning of your DVDR disc. If you don't = have Nero = yet, you=20 can use the link below to download a trial version. After 30-days, = it=20 costs $60 for the serial number.=20

  • For DVD5 "Short" Movie Disks -- up to 4.7gb 2 hour = movies=20 onto one DVD. Requires no added software.=20
  • DVD Decrypter 3.1.9.0 (January, 2004)=20
  • Read a How-to-Use DVD=20 Decrypter Guide=20

  • For DVD9 "Long" Movie Disks -- squeezes 9gb several = hours=20 onto one DVD. The recording function requires Nero, see below.=20
  • DVD Shrink 3.1.4 (January, 2004)=20
  • Read a How-to-Use DVD=20 Shrink Guide

  • Nero Suite 6.3.x -- required to use DVD Shrink above. = If you=20 already have an older Nero version installed, you may not need = this=20 download.=20
  • Nero 6.3.x 30-day Trial = Download=20 (Serial Number costs $60 after 30 days)

Other Programs -- The two programs above are all most = users will=20 every need. However, many other programs are also available, some = free and=20 some in trial or retail versions. See them described in the big = list on=20 the http://www.dvdrhelp.com/tools/=20 page.=20

DVD burners are made to produce your own ORIGINAL DVD movies = (such as=20 wedding videos, home movies, company presentations, etc.), to = record=20 backups of VHS movies and television shows, and so on. However, = when it=20 comes to duplicating DVDs, burners and DVD movie or game discs are = designed to make it difficult for you to make direct copies.=20

So, DVD burners are NOT capable of DIRECTLY copying a DVD movie = or game=20 disc, since the discs are scrambled, and the CES de-scrambling = codes are=20 located on a part of the disc that cannot be mechanically copied = by the=20 burners, but can be read by all DVD players. Those codes are = required to=20 decode them, so they will play on the DVD players.=20

=95 Back = to=20 Top

(2) Which=20 DVD burner and discs are best?

The recordable DVD world is now a bit too complicated, = something like=20 the video tape or CD-R world was many years ago. Take a look at a = few=20 dozen of the most popular DVD Writers and the types of DVD = recordable=20 discs they can work with at... Our = "Which Burner=20 with Which DVD?" Page=20

Recommended DVD Burner -- The new Pioneer DVR-107 and = their=20 previous DVR-106D model are the most popular and dependable=20 burners/players for most users. They burns or creates 4.7gb = DVD=B1R=20 write-once discs at up to 4x speed (8x for the new DVR-107) and = DVD=B1RW=20 erasable discs at 2x (4x for the DVR-107). They also creates or = burns CD-R=20 and CD-RW discs. It plays DVD-R, DVD-RW, CD-R, CD-RW and both DVD = Video=20 and DVD Music, CD Video and CD music discs. They are internal = ATAPI EIDE=20 drives that work in the great majority of Windows PCs and G4 Macs. = Installation is easy, and is "plug-n-play", only taking a few = minutes. If=20 you can install a hard drive, you can install this DVD burner. An = optional=20 external Firewire/USB2.0 enclosure can also be ordered with the = drive if=20 you intend to use it on Notebook computers or want to make the = drive=20 usable on more than one PC. See our DVD burners at... Our DVD = Burner=20 Page.=20

Regarding DVD-R and player compatibility, see our below... Which = DVD players=20 can play +/- DVDR's?=20

The majority of DVD players now in the market appear to play at = least=20 one type of DVD=B1R 4.7gb "general purpose" type discs well.=20

We sell all formats of recordable DVD discs, including DVD-R, = DVD-RW,=20 DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM, and so on. So whichever burner you buy, we = can=20 sell you the discs you need at very competitive prices.=20

There are other burners out in the market, including the = Panasonic=20 drives which burn only DVD-R/W and DVD-RAM discs. The advantage to = this=20 recorder is that it can edit DVD video using the fast DVD-RAM = discs, and=20 then produce a final DVD-R disc which will play on most popular = consumer=20 DVD players. If you do a lot of DVD video editing you may want to = consider=20 this drive. However, many video editors prefer to edit their video = on=20 their fast hard drives since hard drives are so cheap these days, = and=20 prefer the versatility of the Pioneer DVR-A04 above for burning = and=20 playing many formats of DVDs and CDs. A major problem for many = users is=20 that these drives require much more expensive DVD-R discs than = usual, due=20 to their use of a DVD-RAM laser that was designed primarily to = write to=20 the metallic bottomed DVD-RAM discs. If you are intending to use = your=20 burner to write to DVD-R discs, don't by a DVD-RAM machine. It = will end up=20 costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars more due to its -R=20 reflectivity issues.=20

If we were entering the market at this time, we would buy the=20 most-popular Pioneer DVR-107 burner. For editable discs, we'd use = the=20 DVD-RWs it burns. For DVD "releases" for public or company-wide=20 distribution, we'd use the 4.7 GB DVD-Rs it produces = (understanding that=20 about many DVD players may not play a particular brand of blank = DVD-R or=20 DVD+R disc). Over time, as the market matures, more and more = consumer DVD=20 players will play the DVD-R discs. It is priced right, and is very = versatile. Then, we would expect to replace it with an all new = drive=20 sometime in 18-24 months.=20

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(3.a)=20 Which DVD players can play +/- DVDR's?

Model by Model Lists of Reported Features
by=20 DVDRHELP.COM
Reported DVD Compatibility
(as of Feb. = 2004)

60%=20 DVD-R "minus" COMPATIBILITY - 2204 of ALL 3688 TOTAL DVD = PLAYERS=20 (click to check your model of DVD player for Minus or General=20 compatibility)=20

47%=20 DVD+R "plus" COMPATIBILITY - 1731 of ALL 3688 TOTAL DVD = PLAYERS=20 (click to check your model of DVD player for Plus compatibility)=20

In practice, as shown on the pages linked here, about 53% of = today's=20 DVD players don't work with either DVD+R or +RW discs, a number = which is=20 substantially more than the "minority" they admit to on the page = above.=20

And, the number for DVD-R and DVD-RW discs is only a bit = better, with=20 as many as 40% of today's DVD players not working with the = "general" or=20 "minus" type of blank DVD recordable.=20

However, the percentages are improving. More and more of = today's=20 current DVD player models actually support playing most DVD-R and = most=20 DVD+R discs. The number of DVD players actually on the shelves in = stores=20 that play recordable DVDs is around 90%. Only a few models don't = play at=20 least some brands and kinds of blank, recordable -R or +R discs.=20

It is our experience that thousands of our customers do in fact = report=20 greater DVD player compatibility of the DVD-R and DVD-RW "minus" = or=20 "general" type discs, compared to the "plus" type +R or +RW discs. = Some=20 sources report similar findings of about 60% player compatibility = for=20 DVD-R, and only 47% or so for the DVD+R. As always, your own = compatibility=20 may vary...=20

Furthermore, the actual performance of any particular BRAND of = disc can=20 vary within a type, due to variations in proprietary (patented) = design=20 issues relating to differing bottom dyes used, dye laser light = absorption=20 factors and silver reflectivity values. As a result, any = particular brand=20 may not perform with a particular model of DVD player, even though = the=20 player is designed to theoretically handle some brands of "plus" = or=20 "minus" type of blank DVD.=20

The DVD+RW Alliance group that controls that "plus DVD" = recording=20 industry claims that their disc format is at least theoretically=20 compatible with ALL of the DVD players. See their page at... http://www.dvdrw.com/= why/compatibility.htm.=20

DVD+R and DVD+RW are compatible!=20

DVD+R/+RW video recorders are based on the standardized = DVD-Video=20 format currently used by the millions of DVD players sold = worldwide.=20 Because DVD+RW uses only one mode for recording and editing, = every=20 recording you make is DVD-Video compatible. There is no need for = a=20 player explicitly to support DVD+RW or to indicate compatibility = with=20 DVD+RW on the front of the player by means of a logo. The reason = you see=20 this on other recordable DVD formats is because they require = specially=20 adapted players to make their recordings compatible with other = machines.=20 The logo lets you know which players will work with your = recording. In=20 contrast, even if a player is not indicated explicitly as being = DVD+RW=20 compatible, it is very likely it will still play the disc = because we use=20 the standardized DVD-Video format.=20

On a physical level, recordable and rewritable DVDs are = almost=20 identical to normal, pre-pressed DVDs. However, due to the = nature of=20 recordable and rewritable media (such as a different degree of = laser=20 reflectivity), a minority of players might not be able to play = such=20 discs correctly. As a guideline to which players can and cannot = play=20 DVD+R and DVD+RW, so-called compatibility overviews were = created.=20

DVD+RW ALLIANCE'S OFFICIAL LIST
DVD+RW = Compatibility=20 Overview=20

DVDplusRW.org LISTS
Home=20 DVD Players
Computer=20 DVD Drives=20

DVDRHELP.COM LISTS
Main=20 DVD Player Search Form=20

HP LISTS
HP=20 DVD Player Compatibility List=20

RICOH LISTS

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(3) Why do=20 my DVD-Rs only play on some DVD players and not others? =

While the DVD Movie and Game discs you buy or rent in the = stores appear=20 to be "silver" or "gold", they are usually made from aluminum = coatings,=20 over a clear layer that has been mechanically pressed with pits or = holes=20 to encode the data that the lasers in the DVD players decode into = music=20 and video signals. DVD Video discs that are made this way do not = require=20 the light sensitive dye layer used in DVD-R discs, and so they = appear=20 clear on the bottom, or nearly so. They never have to be "burned". =

By contrast, the recordable DVD-R discs use a dark dye layer to = absorb=20 the higher powered laser in DVD burners to create the tiny pits or = holes=20 that encode the disc's data. This dye layer causes problems for = some=20 cheaper and older DVD players, but it is none-the-less required to = "burn"=20 the DVD-R. Most of today's DVD Players now are able to read both = the clear=20 bottomed DVD movie and game discs, and also the colored dye = bottomed DVD-R=20 discs. We have a page that lists over 200 DVD players now in the = market,=20 rating their DVD-R playing compatibility. Approximately 97% of = today's DVD=20 players actually being sold at the moment, can play DVD-R type = discs,=20 while about 86% will play DVD+R discs. When you count ALL THE = PLAYERS=20 still in use, then the numbers drop down to 47-60% = compatibility... but=20 the older machines are being replaced by newer more compatible = machines=20 pretty fast. You can see more info on DVD players and DVD-R/+R=20 compatibility discussed below...=20

As far as the "quality" of the DVD-R discs themselves, we = constantly=20 test our own generic DVD-Rs to ensure their high-quality, = low-errors, and=20 consistent workability with popular players and burners. We get = far less=20 than 1% of them returned. See our FULL list of all our general = purpose=20 DVD-Rs at... General = DVD-Rs=20 List=20

The blank DVD-Rs we call "Pro-Grade" are our best quality = discs, with=20 the lowest error rates and highest player/burner compatibility. = See our=20 list of Pro-Grade general purpose DVD-Rs at... Pro-Grad= e=20 DVD-Rs=20

Our "Standard Grade" DVD-Rs are less expensive, but may not be=20 compatible with a few brands of DVD burners and players, such as = the=20 Panasonic DMR-EM20/30 series. Otherwise, the discs are of = reliable,=20 consistent quality for most users. See our list of Standard = general=20 purpose DVD-Rs at... Standard = Grade DVD-Rs=20

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(4) Which=20 DVD recordable discs are the most compatible with players? =

Not all DVD Players are capable of playing or reading a DVD-R = format=20 recordable DVD disc. And, those that can play at least one kind or = brand=20 of DVD-R may not be able to play other brands, regardless of = quality.=20

Most Can... A glance at the lists linked here will show you = that about=20 97% of today's DVD players actually on shelves can handle DVD-Rs. = As you=20 may know, the store-bought DVD Movies and Games you have were = pressed=20 mechanically, like old-fashioned vinyl LP records. By contrast, = your=20 recordable DVD-R discs are "burned" with a laser, and have a = slightly=20 different format than the retail DVDs you buy or rent. Playing = your burned=20 DVD-Rs requires an extra feature or two that MOST but not all = players=20 have. Below is our current detailed list, of existing DVD player = brands=20 and models with an evaluation of their ability to play your DVD-R=20 recordings.=20

Little Differences Matter... There are subtle differences = between the=20 dye formulas and top reflectors used among DVD-R manufacturers, as = each=20 company struggles to find a "middle ground" that straddles the = wide=20 variations in laser types and logic circuitry used by DVD players = and=20 burners. Even though two general purpose type DVD-Rs may be well = made,=20 they may have been made to slightly different standards by their = makers;=20 each deciding to be more or less compatible with certain brands of = players=20 and burners.=20

How Do We Know? This information has been obtained from many = sources,=20 including our own tests and information from users such as = yourself. It is=20 constantly updated. While we cannot absolutely guarantee that your = recordings will play on each of these players, we hope that this = partial=20 list of over 200 different DVD players will help you see the = present state=20 of the DVD player market.=20

No Guarantees... Remember that this list is merely a guide to = DVD-R and=20 DVD player compatibility. It does not, nor cannot guarantee that = any one=20 DVD-R disc is compatible with a particular player. It merely = reports that=20 the player has been reported to work with at least ONE type or = brand of=20 general purpose DVD-R or DVD-RW.=20

Try a Few... As always, we recommend that you buy small = quantities of=20 several types of general purpose DVD-R discs to determine which = will work=20 best with your own burner and available target DVD players. The = DVD=20 recordable market is constantly changing and requires that you be = willing=20 to invest a minimum of time and a modest "testing budget" to gain = the=20 experience and knowledge you need to fully enjoy and benefit from = this=20 exciting new technology. If you wish, you may want to order one of = our=20 affordable Sampler DVD = Paks (Each sampler pak includes FREE 2nd Business Day Air = Shipping at=20 no additional charge, and is non-returnable.)=20

Share Your Wisdom... If you wish to provide us with another = model that=20 you have tested personally and can provide reliable information = about, or=20 you have found an error in the list below, feel free to email us = your own=20 research results at... support@vend4less.com=20

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(5) What=20 is the difference between DVD-R/DVD-RW, DVD+R/DVD+RW and DVD-RAM = discs?=20

DVD-R and DVD-RW

These 2 disc types were created by the DVD Forum ( see it at DVD Forum Site ). =

Both DVD-R and DVD-RW types generally come in the single-sided, = single=20 layer 4.7 GB capacity, which is roughly equal to 120-minutes of = standard=20 playing time.=20

You can also now find 9.4 GB double-sided discs entering the = market,=20 although there are no players which will automatically play both = sides of=20 the disc without ejecting it and turning it over. Eventually, = there will=20 be DVD-R discs available that will hold around 20 GB of data, = recorded=20 into two layers on each side of the disc. At this time, these 20gb = discs=20 are not yet available.=20

The most common DVD-R is a write-once 4.7gb disc that comes in = two=20 sub-types -- "general purpose" and "authoring". The general = purpose discs=20 are part of the industry's copy-protection scheme, which employ = CES=20 scrambling to protect movies and music and game discs from being = copied.=20 These discs can only be burned by general purpose type DVD writers = such as=20 the Pioneer DVR-A04/104/A03/103 machines, the Panasonic LF-D311 = and D321,=20 Apple Superdrive, etc. Such machines cannot copy the playback = descrambling=20 codes on DVD movies or game discs, so they cannot be easily = copied.=20 Authoring DVD-Rs must be burned by the Pioneer DVR-S201 DVD = Writer, which=20 produces non-copy protected discs for use in the industry for=20 professional, retail DVD duplicators and distributors. Once = recorded,=20 either a general or authoring DVD-R can be played on most DVD = players (if=20 the player is DVD-R compatible). See our DVD-R discs' info and = price=20 offerings at... General = DVD-R=20 Discs Info=20

By contrast to the write-once DVD-R types, the DVD-RW is fully=20 re-writable or eraseable up to 1,000 times. However, unlike the = older=20 DVD-RAM format, these particular erasables are NOT "random = access",=20 meaning that you cannot erase bits and pieces of them. Instead, = you have=20 to completely erase the whole disc to reuse it. The DVD-RW can be = played=20 on many DVD players, but not quite as many as the DVD-Rs. Of = course,=20 DVD-RAM discs are playable on only a few types of DVD players. See = our=20 DVD-RW discs' info and price offerings at... General = DVD-RW=20 Info=20

Most DVD-R burners like the Pioneer DVR-104s and compatibles, = can also=20 burn DVD-RW discs. An exception is the popular Panasonic DVD = burners,=20 which burn only DVD-R and DVD-RAM. This drive is great for users = who want=20 both data storage and editing features from DVD-RAM, and DVD-R = production=20 capabilities for disc copying and distribution.=20

DVD-R is the most popular format for most Windows users, and is = almost=20 universally accepted by Mac users as their standard DVD recordable = format.=20

DVD+R and DVD+RW=20

These two types were created and are backed by the DVD+RW = Alliance (=20 see it at DVD+RW Alliance = Site ). A=20 few companies who back the DVD Forum (above) are also active in = the DVD+RW=20 Alliance, but the two standards are not compatible.=20

The oldest "plus type" DVD is the DVD+RW. It, like DVD-RW, is a = rewriteable 4.7 GB DVD kind of disc. DVD+RW, does have a couple of = technical advantages -- (1) lossless linking (which enables some = editing=20 after recording without a full erasure that DVD-RW requires), (2) = up to=20 2.4X recording speeds on some burners, and (3) a special = drag-and-drop=20 file support on the desktop (otherwise known as DVD+MRW). = Unfortunately,=20 the DVD+R disc type does NOT even begin to compare with DVD-R as = far as=20 DVD playback compatibility. However, the actual level of DVD = workability=20 on players of DVD+RW is claimed to be about equal to DVD-RW. Of = course,=20 even so, neither the DVD+R nor the older DVD+RW discs are as = popular as=20 DVD-R and DVD-RW are. See our DVD+RW disc info and prices = offerings at...=20 DVD+RW = Product=20 List=20

The newer DVD+R write-once type disc is aimed at becoming more=20 compatible with DVD players. However, the fact is that so far it = is only=20 about as compatible as DVD-R discs are. Also, the DVD+R discs are = more=20 expensive in today's market, and not burnable by "1st generation"=20 plus-type burners, which were designed only for the DVD+RW = rewritable=20 discs. If you want to create +R discs, you'll need the newer "2nd=20 generation" type burners, such as the Sony 120A, the Ricoh 5125A, = and so=20 on. See our DVD+R disc info and prices offerings at... DVD+R = Product=20 List=20

DVD-RAM

DVD-RAM is used for data backups and storage, and for editing = of video=20 or audio content prior to the production of a final distribution = DVD. The=20 DVD-RAM disc type is made to act a lot like a hard drive, where = the disc=20 can be formatted for HFS+ Macintosh or Windows type computers, and = so on.=20 It can handle 100,000 or more erasures, and should last for many = years. Of=20 course it is not playable on many DVD players. Type 2.0 DVD-RAM = discs can=20 be removed from their cases to enable playback on the few players = in which=20 they are compatible. The newer DVD-RAM drives can handle any sized = such=20 disc, including 2.6, 5.2, 4.7 or 9.4 GB discs. See our DVD-RAM = disc info=20 and prices offerings at... DVD-RAM = Product=20 List=20

HOW ABOUT AN "EVERY DVD" TYPE BURNER?

Nope. Unfortunately you can't get a burner that will handle = both=20 "general type" and "plus type" DVD recordables.=20

The Panasonic LF-D321/311 machines (and OEM versions packaged = by other=20 companies using the same mechanism) offers a drive that some users = prefer.=20 It lets you do backups, editing and temporary storage on DVD-RAM = discs,=20 and then lets you switch to DVD-R's popular format when you want = to make=20 discs for distribution. For editing, the DVD-RAM is very fast and = offers a=20 drag-and-drop type ease of use like a hard drive. See the = Panasonic DVD=20 Writers at... Panasonic=20 DVD Burners=20

However, the popular Pioneer DVR-104 and its OEM compatibles = such as=20 the Apple Superdrive also offer a combination of features -- you = can burn=20 both CD-R and CD-RW discs, as well as DVD-R and DVD-RW discs. = While you=20 can use DVD-RW for erasable backups, you don't have the easy file = access=20 that DVD-RAM offers. As far as editing goes, most users simply buy = bigger=20 hard drives to have the room for video and music edits. Hard drive = prices=20 and speed advantages make that an attractive option. Altogether, = these=20 drives are by far the most popular machines for most users. See = the=20 Pioneer combo DVD Writers at... Pioneer = DVD=20 Burners=20

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(6) Will=20 paper DVD labels hurt my recorded DVDs?

For many years, CD-R manufacturers recommended that users NOT = apply=20 paper labels to their newly recorded CDs. They felt that the = labels'=20 adhesive would harm the sensitive silver reflector by tarnishing = it, or=20 that off-center labels might cause the disc to wobble, making it=20 unreadable.=20

These factors are much more important today for DVD recordable = discs=20 than they ever were for CD-Rs. On DVD-Rs, the tiny data bubbles = that=20 encode the video and audio data are 8-times closer together than = on CDs.=20 Even the slightest degradation of the edges of the bubbles due to = UV or=20 heat exposure can ruin a DVD-R. Also, even the slightest wobbling = during=20 playback can make video tracks unreadable, or produce "jitters" or = blinking, horizontal lines, and so on. In some cases, the discs = can become=20 completely unplayable.=20

We recommend that if you wish to apply labels to your DVD = recorded=20 discs, you use our "no-wobble" discs, together with an appropriate = full-face label applicator tool to help you center and prevent = bubbles=20 when applying the labels. See these products at... No-Wobble DVD = Labels=20

The other solution is to print directly onto the disc itself = with a=20 high quality inkjet or thermal printer. We sell special inkjet = surface=20 DVD-R discs. See them at... Inkjet=20 Printable DVDs=20

We also sell CD/DVD inkjet printers with the pass-thru trays = that let=20 you print directly onto the special inkjet discs... Direct-to-disc = Inkjet Printers=20

=95 Back = to=20 Top

(7) How=20 long do recorded DVD discs last?

All DVD recordable discs are extremely sensitive to heat, UV = light and=20 humidity. You should avoid exposing them to any extremely hot = environment=20 such as automobile interiors in the sun, or inside near radiators = or=20 heaters, or near an outside window, and so on.=20

It's best to keep all DVD-R discs stored in a cool, dry place, = closed=20 up in a blank plastic DVD movie case. This will ensure that they = last the=20 longest.=20

Avoid any abrasive, scratching or etching treatment of the = disc's top=20 or bottom. Remember that they are much more sensitive than DVD = VIdeo or=20 Game discs, and that even a small scratch can make them = unplayable.=20

However, a scratched DVD-R can be destroyed in seconds, and one = exposed=20 to high temperatures, humidity or strong UV light sources can = become=20 unplayable within anything from a few hours to a few days. One = study of=20 average DVD-R discs stored at 80 degrees and high humidity showed = that=20 many of them became unplayable in only a few hundred hours. = Imagine what=20 storage in a sun-heated car interior's "oven" at about 200 degrees = would=20 do!=20

Treat your recorded DVD-Rs with care. Handle them by their = edges,=20 gently. Avoid harsh chemicals in marking pens, ink and label = adhesives.=20 Avoid touching the top or bottom surfaces. Don't slide them across = tables,=20 players or computer cases. Return them to their black DVD cases=20 immediately after playing. Don't stack DVD-Rs one on top of each = other and=20 shuffle them like a deck of cards.=20

Do buy white coated DVD-Rs. The extra top coating can add a bit = of=20 extra protection against some chemicals and minor nicks and = abrasions. Do=20 buy gold metal reflectors when you want to get the absolute = longest=20 storage possible. Gold does not tarnish. Silver alloy metal = reflector=20 discs can last for many years also, especially with the white top. =

With proper handling and protection during storage, a DVD-R = disc can=20 last for longer than you will probably want to re-play them. One = company=20 claims that its DVD-R discs can last up to 100-years or more. = Store your=20 own DVD recorded discs carefully in a cool, dark, dry place and = they=20 should last for many years.=20

(8) What=20 are "Authoring" DVD-R discs?

Authoring type DVD-R discs are made to be compatible only with = the very=20 expensive Pioneer DVR-S201 DVD Writer, which sells for $4,000 to = $5,000.=20 This machine produces special DVD-Rs which are used as "mastering" = discs=20 for professional distribution and duplication purposes. Authoring = discs=20 are not compatible with inexpensive "general purpose" or "plus = type"=20 DVD-R/RW or DVD+R/+RW Writers. The actual quality of authoring = discs is=20 not necessarily better than any other. It is simply a non-copy = protected=20 disc type, made for professional use. See our AUTHORING DVD-R = discs' info=20 and prices at... Authoring = DVD-R=20 Discs=20

=95 Back = to=20 Top

(9) Are=20 your DVD-R discs GUARANTEED to be compatible with my player or = burner?=20

Actually NOBODY can guarantee 100% compatibility for their DVD=20 recordables in today's market. Why? Well ...=20

While the market is improving regarding burner/player/disc=20 compatibility and conformity with standards, it is not yet a = "mature"=20 market.=20

In fact, some say there is a battle going on between major = brands such=20 as Philips and Pioneer, with the consumer caught in the crossfire. =

Unfortunately, as a result of this battle, DVD-R discs cannot = be=20 guaranteed to be compatible with all DVD burners or all DVD = players. Even=20 within the specific DVD recordable type, such as authoring, = general=20 purpose, plus and DVD-RAM, a particular brand of disc may not be=20 compatible with a particular burner or player. The discs are only=20 guaranteed to be free of defects in materials or workmanship. = Since you=20 find a disc of excellent quality to be incompatible with your = particular=20 combinations of burners, players and software, we always recommend = that=20 you order a sampler pak before ordering the larger spindles of = discs.=20 Anytime after upgrading your software, firmware or changing your = hardware=20 configuration, we recommend testing again. You may obtain an = inexpensive,=20 non-returnable sampler pak containing several brands of recordable = DVD=20 discs at... DVD=20 Sampler (we include free 2nd day shipping in the cost of these = paks)=20

About 75% of today's DVD players can play at least one kind of = DVD-R.=20 It appears that just slightly fewer can play DVD+R discs at the = moment,=20 although this number is slowly increasing. Perhaps 25-30% can play = some=20 kind of DVD-RW. Next come the DVD+RW and DVD-RAM discs. See a list = of DVD=20 players with recordable playing features at... DVD-R/W = Compatible Players=20

=95 Back = to=20 Top

(10) Why=20 won't my DVD-R discs burn at 2X speed?

Unfortunately there is no official standard for the = manufacturers of 2X=20 discs. Standards are set by a group called the DVD Forum, and they = DO have=20 a standard for 1X. The way that Pioneer gets 2X performance on = some kinds=20 of DVD-R discs is by testing a sample of each manufacturer's discs = and=20 tweaking their DVR-104/A04 burner's firmware for each disc. If = they find=20 an adjustment that works for a disc brand and type, they create a = modified=20 version of their firmware and release it on their web pages. Every = few=20 weeks or months, there is a new firmware for the Pioneer brand = DVR-104 and=20 DVR-A04. However, some DVR-104 units installed by other computer = makers=20 may use different, and older, firmware. That firmware may not = recognize as=20 many kinds of discs to operate at 2X.=20

FOR WINDOWS USERS -- Most of our Windows users have no problems = with=20 the 2X speed on our 2X Pro-Grade DVD-Rs, however we have had a few = Apple=20 owners report that they've had problems. If you're a Windows and = Pioneer=20 drive user and have installed the latest Pioneer firmware = upgrades, you=20 still may not be able to get 2X performance from some discs that = are in=20 fact rated for 2X. This may be due to the condition of the disc, = the=20 version of the creation software you're using and various other = factors=20 including memory usage, bus and processor speed, and so on. As = always, it=20 is best to buy a small sampler pack of DVD recordables to check = for=20 performance on your machine. Be sure that no other programs are = running=20 other than your disc creation software to guarantee maximum speed=20 performance.=20

FOR APPLE MAC USERS -- Apple's Superdrive will probably NOT be=20 upgradable with the Pioneer Firmware, but you will need to check = with=20 Apple to find out. Also, Pioneer may know about that issue, since = they are=20 the ones doing the testing and re-writing of the upgraded firmware = for=20 users to download.=20

See the Pioneer 2X DVD-R Writing Statement at... Pioneer's=20 2X Statement=20

See Pioneer's comment about non-Pioneer drives ... "This = firmware=20 utility is not proper for upgrading OEM drive. For users of OEM = drives,=20 please contact each PC maker for assistance when upgrading." (By = OEM, they=20 mean non-Pioneer units like the Apple Superdrive.) at their = firmware=20 download page... Pioneer's=20 Firmware Page=20

Read Apple's knowledgebase support page about upgrading the=20 Superdrive's firmware... Apple=20 Firmware (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)=20



From: = videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu=20 [mailto:videolib-bounces@library.berkeley.edu] On Behalf Of=20 MileFilms@aol.com
Sent: Friday, February 17, 2006 11:52=20 AM
To: videolib@library.berkeley.edu
Subject: Re: = [Videolib]=20 DVD-R -- not a stable format

Here's my perspective as a distributor who just got = into=20 DVD-R last year for our smaller titles. I will be the first to admit = that there=20 are inherent problems with the technology and say that I don't = particularly like=20 them. We include instructions in the case or on the back explaining the=20 difference between a DVD-R and a DVD that strongly encourages everyone = to play=20 the DVD-R on the machine that will be used ahead of time to make sure = it's=20 compatable with the player. On important playdates with our new = releases, I tend=20 to provide a DVD-R and=20 a DVD+R as backup.

DVD-Rs only exist because a) they're cheaper = to=20 produce and b) libraries and educators prefer DVDs in whatever format = over VHS=20 tapes. It's getting back to Gary's theory about new technologies. And = admitedly,=20 when done right and depending on the source material, DVD-Rs do look = better than=20 tape.

I'd say "home produced" DVD-Rs (those burned on replicators = or=20 computers at the distributor) have a 5% to 20% failure rate, which is = way too=20 much. The DVD-Rs that come straight from the lab with more sophisticated = machinery, seems to have less failures.

Of course, anytime = there's a=20 failed DVD-R, we replace it immediately and I suspect other companies do = as=20 well. And we are continuously investigating ways to provide real DVDs = for new=20 nontheatrical titles at an economical cost, and though that time hasn't = come=20 yet, it should soon. Especially when the studios start going over to = HD-DVD and=20 the small replicators get desperate for standard DVD work.

We = also=20 established a policy for those who bought a DVD-R from us for = institutional=20 rates (such as WINTER SOLDIER), where we will be shipping the standard = DVDs out=20 automatically to those people when they are printed for the home video = market. I=20 hope other distributors consider this.

Hopefully, DVD-Rs will be = a=20 temporary format before a better one comes along. Most of our DVD-Rs of = our=20 older titles cost $29.95 to $39.95 to purchase (without PPR) as we have = a=20 different model for our company.

Unless they come with a free = replacement=20 guarantee at any time (they are even more prone to scratches and = fingerprints=20 than DVDs), I don't think they're worth buying over a VHS. Not=20 yet.

Dennis Doros
Milestone Film & Video
PO Box=20 128
Harrington Park, NJ 07640
Phone: (800) 603-1104 or (201)=20 767-3117
Fax: (201) 767-3035
Email: milefilms@aol.com
Website:=20 http://www.milestonefilms.com
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