DVD-R Playback Problems - Strange Behavior - AVS Forum
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Old 08-25-2003, 03:30 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been burning DVD-Rs on an external Firewire DVD-R/RAM writer as well as the Panasonic DMR-HS2 for about a year. I admit to buying inexpensive media (Princo, Ritek, Optodisk, Samsung BeAll, and who knows what else out there) and ackowled that cheap media is probably at the root of my playback problems. These problems are generally seen as the disk freezing and eventually simply not playing after a bit of pixelization starts to show itself. I think that often times this is caused by scratches or microscopic dirt/grime on the disk during burning or playback but as of yesterday, I have a new theory, pointed out by an observation made by my wife.

We've been on a train for a week and as part of our travel planning I brought along a number of movies and TV shows burned to DVD-R via the HS2 and DVD-X Copy software. We've been playing them on a portable Panasonic DVD player (LV75) as well as on my Toshiba laptop but the playback problems described above happen in set-top players at home, too.

My wife, frustrated at our inability to watch a complete movie more times than I care to admit, suggested that the problem is heat related. At first I discounted that idea, preferring instead to cling to the notion that it was cheap media that had been scratched or had other physical damage. But she insisted on testing the heat theory. I think she nailed the problem.

Using three different movies and TV shows, burned onto DVD via both systems described above, we watched each disk until it became unplayable. I removed the media, carefully cleaned the surface and restarted the programs where we had left off prior to the freeze. Cleaning seemed to help us get past the point of the playback trouble. But then we tested her idea - taking the disk out of the player or computer, letting it cool down to room temp, and again restarting from the trouble point. Low and behold, every time we did this, the disk would play again - at least for a few minutes and then the freezing began again. This happened on both the portable DVD unit and the computer.

So my fellow DVD burnning AVS experts, here's the question: have any of you experienced these playback problems and had any similar experiences regarding warm disks? I recall seeing a reference to using compressed air to clean microscopic particles from the media prior to burning and playback (something I've been doing with mixed results) and that the cold from the air can create problems, too. Perhaps there is merit to this temperature question. What do you think? And if there is, is it the cheap media that's the problem? What is the lowest price point for media that might be less prone to these issues (and what brands)?

I find this whole freezing issue interesting but very frustrating. So, in my never-ending quest to solve this problem once and for all - I turn to those of you who know more than me. Perhaps the bottom line is the bottom line - buy known, high quality media and pay more than the $.69 - $1.50 per disk (100-pack spindles) then I've been willing to pay.

I eagerly wait to hear about your own experiences, theories, and solutions. If I need to spend more I will but first I hope to hear from others.

Thanks in advance for your thoughtful consideration of this question.
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Old 08-25-2003, 11:02 AM
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Yes, I know people who have had problems with overheating players. (More often, it is the player that overheats and not the media. A good way to test this would be to keep playing another disc in the player while you wait for the disc to cool down.)

Improving ventilation near your player might make a huge difference. Worst case scenario is that your player might need some casemodding to improve cooling.
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Old 08-25-2003, 12:56 PM
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Since this phenomena is happening in 3 different playback devices, my guess it is the media you are using. But you list so many different brands, it's odd that all of them do it. Buy some TDK or Fujis and see if you have the same problem, easy test, for media or heat buildup.
I've only used Fujis and had the Pannys (E30 and E80) for less than a month. I had some Memorex and they did exactly what you mention. Recorded fine, but on playback would pixellate and then freeze the machine. I've never had a Fuji do that. I did buy a spindle of Beall since I read they are very reliable with the Pannys but I have not opened it yet.
Good luck. I'm not an expert but you should test out some well respected media.
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Old 08-25-2003, 10:21 PM
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Did you put a paper sticky label on your DVD-R? My friend sent me a DVD-R with a paper label he printed and it froze after about 10 minutes. I heard you shouldn't put labels on your DVDs, so I peeled off the label and cleaned off the adhesive and got it to play all the way through. I've never heard a good explanation of why paper labels screw up the playback of recordable DVDs, but based on my own experience I would have to agree they do, at least sometimes.
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Old 08-26-2003, 02:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the reponses. It seems that it is a combination of issues and cheap media is at the top of that list. I am going to try the good stuff next - TDK, Fuji, etc. and see what happens. Never tried Verbatim but picked up a couple of spindles at Office Depot yesterday so today I'll try those and see what happens.
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