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.