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Old December 5th, 2003, 06:15 AM   #1
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Recordable DVD format war thread

I'm starting this thread because I'm interested in the bona fide issues comprising the DVD+R / DVD-R debate. Though many recorders support both formats, one is still left with the question of which format to burn.

At present blank DVD+R media is on average 11% more expensive than DVD-R media. (The cheapest DVD+R discs I've been reliably able to source are the KHypermedia spindles, about a buck a disc.)

However, it was my understanding that DVD+R discs were slightly more compatible, owing to their later design and matching of the DVD standard both physically and logically. (Probably not the most objective source, but see, for example, the FAQ on dvdplusrw.org. Other informational sites disagree with the assertions expressed therein.)

On this basis I bought a DVD+R burner for a critical project, and prior to shipping my discs to the post house, tested them in an early model DVD-ROM drive from an old Dell computer. I figured that since this early model DVD-ROM drive predated either recordable format, if the discs I burned worked in that drive, they'd work anywhere. At the post house, it was a different story. The producer claimed the discs wouldn't work in one Mac, crashed another Mac, and also wouldn't work in the producer's new Dell laptop equipped with a DVD-ROM/CD-R drive.

If anyone has any links of listed player compatibilities for the two competing formats (i.e., which computer DVD-ROM drives and standalone DVD players are known to work with which disc formats), that would go a long way in understanding the preferability of one format over another for any particular project.

Also if anyone has any anecdotal evidence with regards to either format, please share!
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Old December 5th, 2003, 01:45 PM   #2
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I've burned upwards of 150+ discs. All of them were DVD-R in a Plextor drive. Between 80-100 were of a video project that got sent out to home users. We got alot of feedback on content, about 90%. If the discs weren't able to play, we should have heard. I didn't hear anything negative though.

Strictly anecdotal evidence.
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Old December 5th, 2003, 02:46 PM   #3
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>However, it was my understanding that DVD+R discs were >slightly more compatible, owing to their later design and >matching of the DVD standard both physically and logically. (>Probably not the most objective source, but see, for example, >the FAQ on dvdplusrw.org. Other informational sites disagree >with the assertions expressed therein.)

Yeah, their compatibility lists include the latest firmware for a particular drive, but, of course, it is impractical to test all firmware revisions. This is a problem because few DVD drives have the latest firmware. For example, my October 2001 Toshiba drive is listed as DVD+R compatible, but it won't work until I upgrade the firmware.
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Old December 5th, 2003, 11:19 PM   #4
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Robert, I was also looking for a list of compatible DVD players with the different formats and stumbled upon this link:

http://www.dvdrhelp.com/dvdplayers.php

They haven't tested every player out there but it gives you a good idea though...
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Old December 6th, 2003, 07:53 AM   #5
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Anecdotal only...

I don't think you can truly win either way; some DVD player manufacterers support one standard or the other. And also, I've read that, suprisingly enough, brand of the media matters, too. Apparently some "cheaper brands" of discs don't perform reliably.

With that in mind, I happen to have used only FujiFilm brand of writeable +DVD and -DVD for my limited home-use burning with a Sony DRU-500A. So ALL OF MY COMMENTS SHOULD BE READ WITH THAT IN MIND...perhaps other brands of media would perform differently in the following players. Don't know.

Anyway, of the DVD playing devices I have at home:

-- 3.5 year old Pioneer 535 plays the DVD+Rs like a champ (can't remember if that one handles -R, but I think so).

-- 1 year old Panasonic progressive scan CP67 plays only commercial DVDs and -R. It absolutely will not play +R and even distorts chroma on some -RW's I've burned. (It does advertise only -R). Despite my total displeasure with the LOUSY ergonomics and the -R limitation designed into it, the Panny presents a beautiful prog scan picture to my Mitsu HiDef 55 incher, but it is clear that it was designed to NOT play +R. I'm about ready to garage-sale it and pick up a $79 Sony or JVC that will play all writeable formats so I can test all my burned discs.

Also, I must say that I checked out the DVDRHELP.com website that Krishna kindly mentioned, but I'd take the info there with a grain of salt. I did just one search on it: "CP67" and came up with my Panny model which it listed as playing virtually everything under the sun, specifically including +R and +RW. I have no reason to think that my unit is defective since it operates perfectly (even if NOT ergonomically) in every other way and does not mention or advertise +R at all...and mine does NOT play anything with a "+" in its name.

-- 2 yr old Yamaha DVD/CD-RW drive in my older computer won't read the +R variety. Does fine with -R and -RW.

-- 3+ yr old Creative DVD-ROM is fussy about RW of either variety and more fussy with +Rs. I can only count on -R for that drive.

So perhaps if you are doing small volume DVD burning for commercial purposes, you're forced to ask the client or post-house to put specifically in the contract what flavor of DVD they want, so you don't end up being blamed for compatibility problems. The issue of disc brand/quality...don't know.

Let's hope that BluRay will be one universal standard! And as good as advertised, and really cheap, and....

Best wishes!
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Old December 12th, 2003, 07:01 PM   #6
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Why is it that the DVDs you rent at Blockbuster, etc. are compatible with all DVD players? Or, are they? I have never had a problem with any DVD I have rented with my computers or DVD player, nor have I heard of any of my friends or family having any problems. Am I missing something? What is the special compatiblity they seem to have? Please set me straight! Thanks.

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Old December 12th, 2003, 07:17 PM   #7
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The mass produced disks from commercial studios are replicated (pressed) from glass masters. Home DVD recorders (burners) use lasers to cause a photo chemical reaction that changes the physical characteristic of dyes (ink).
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Old December 12th, 2003, 07:39 PM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jeff Donald : The mass produced disks from commercial studios are replicated (pressed) from glass masters. Home DVD recorders (burners) use lasers to cause a photo chemical reaction that changes the physical characteristic of dyes (ink). -->>>

So, computer and home burners are trying to replicate this process in a different format? And, that is the "war," that is, who does it better?

Jeff, I appreciate the reply, but I have no idea what that means (see signature). Can you direct me elsewhere to find out more information about this process? Thanks...

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Old December 12th, 2003, 07:51 PM   #9
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Type DVD glass master process into Google, or your favorite search engine and you find your answers. My search returned 51,000+ responses.

Clay, it's not really a difficult process, but pick the first one or two sites and do a little reading. If you have questions post back and I'll try and help.
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Old December 16th, 2003, 12:16 PM   #10
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The bottom line is to stick with DVD-R, it is the most compatable format. The only writeable video DVD format approved by the DVD Forum (the people who wrote the DVD spec). Also figure DVD+R/RW came out much later than DVD-R so all the players that were made since DVD-R came out will potentially have problems playing DVD+R discs while manufacturers were making their players DVD-R compatable. We do a lot of DVD Duplication, probably close to 10,000 discs a year burned and have always stuck with DVD-R and we have had maybe 5-15 discs come back becasue they wouldn't play, and some of those were bitrate problems with computer drives.
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Old December 19th, 2003, 10:40 AM   #11
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I belive www.apple.com has a list of compatible drives for the -R format, and www.hp.com has the list for +R. I found their findings more reliable than those of dvdrhelp.com In the meantime, I'm enjoying my Sony DRX-500UL which can do both formats. =) But, I assume that's probably not an option for you guys that do this for a living.

OH! One other thing I've heard (and take this with a grain of salt) is that supposedly the faster the speed you burn DVDs at, the less compatible it becomes, so 1X would be your best bet, albeit painfully slow. Please anyone correct me if this is a myth.
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Old December 19th, 2003, 12:33 PM   #12
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It is somewhat of a myth. It depends entirely on the burner and the media and the software used. And this applies to both CD Burners as well as DVD Burners.

Better burners perform reliably through their entire range of burn speeds. Discount burners may still burn at that top speed, but just not reliably.

Different burners work better with different brands of media. This is a hit and miss. Best place to start is with the brands recommended in your burner's manual.

Different software applications used to burn will auto-detect what the capabilities are of the media you are using, and automatically adjust the burn speed for the best possible reliability. That may be at max speed for your burner, or it may be at 1 or 2x. I know Nero and Roxio are both pretty good at this.

So it's a half-myth, because you can assume that most burners, even the cheaper ones, should do 1x pretty well. But when you get into the faster range, it depends entirely upon the above 3 criteria.
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