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Discussion Starter #1

My aunt has several home movie DVDs that she created using a DVR of some sort. The device stopped working years ago and she got rid of it. We've tried to play the DVDs on a number of devices and have never gotten them to work, the only place they actually played was on that specific DVR device. Even the computer sees that the disk is full, but shows no files. She would like to transfer the video to some kind of format she CAN read in a regular DVD player. The media the moves were burned on are DVD+R (TDK brand) and have an RW symbol as well.

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks in advance.
 

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As you've found generally unfinalized DVDs will only play on the brand of recorder they were recorded on. Another option which might work is a free program called ISO Buster, you may have luck with that.
 

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Recovering such DVDs is not a simple task: if you get really lucky, its a piece of cake, but normally it ranges between very difficult and extremely difficult, even for geeks. If you aren't a geek, prepare to become one.



The first thing you need to do is verify what type of DVD these actually are: DVD+R or DVD+RW. The RW symbol does not necessarily mean they are RW but plain +R that is compatible with RW drives (some blank disc mfrs use strange logic in their markings). Plain +R is a little easier to recover videos from, while +RW can be much trickier. Try loading the DVDs in your computer, then look at how Windows identifies them under "E: Optical Drive." It should display as "E: DVD+R" or "E: DVD+RW." Plain +R is capable of the easiest and best fix: finalizing on the same brand of recorder. But +RW media doesn't have a finalizing ability, so they must be tediously recovered using complex PC software.


It would also be helpful if you can find out what brand of DVD recorder made the discs in the first place. Some brands were more amenable to DVD recovery than others, and some are still being sold today that use the same finalization code they used ten years ago. So ask your Aunt to think back and try to remember the recorder brand she had. If it was Philips or Magnavox, these brands were the same units, and are still sold today. The easiest fix for many +R (but not +RW) DVDs made on these brands would be go to a store that has a display model and offer them $20 to let you finalize a few discs ("finalizing" makes a +R compatible with devices other than the recorder brand). Or, buy a Magnavox from Walmart, the cheapest one is about $99 when on sale.


(Philips and Magnavox use a somewhat peculiar method of recording that makes recovery of unfinalized DVDs more complicated than usual: I strongly recommend use of a matching new recorder instead of trying different computer software solutions. The Toshiba brand was absorbed by Philips/Magnavox in 2006, so Toshiba could also be an option depending how old the original recorder was. Any of these three brands can usually finalize each others +R discs, or play funky +RW discs out to a second recorder or PC to make new copies: see DigaDo's post below for exceptions to this.)


If your Aunt's old recorder was a brand that used the more traditional coding method (such as Pioneer, Sony, Panasonic, LG, pre-2006 Toshiba, etc), more possibilities open in terms of computer software that might be able to pull the videos from these discs. Recovering videos from peculiar DVDs is kind of a Windows-specific task nowadays: not much software is available for Mac users. So if you don't have a Windows PC available, most suggestions you find on AV forums won't apply. One typical discussion can be found at this link , which shows how involved and tricky DVD recovery can be.


If only a handful of discs are involved, another option is to download the 30-day free trial version of Cyberlink PowerDVD to a Windows PC. This media player has a unique ability to read and play videos from most unfinalized or damaged or eccentric DVDs that Windows itself won't even recognize in the drive tray. However, PowerDVD cannot digitally capture what it is playing to a new file on your computer. If your PC has an analog video output, you can play the videos from PowerDVD into another computer or DVD recorder to make normal DVD copies of the material. If your PC only has HDMI video output, you might need an HDMI>Analog adapter ($30-$60). Some versions of Nero software have similar capabilities, and depending on the original recorder Nero can sometimes repair/finalize problem DVDs by itself.
 

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It seems to me that Toshiba brand recorders were actually manufactured by Toshiba into 2005 but transitioned manufacture to Funai in 2006. With that transition Toshibas ceased being Toshiba and became one of the many Funai varieties, i.e. Philips, Magnavox, Sylvania, Emerson, Toshiba, TruTech, Symphonic, PYE and some other private label brands. There were many similarities and a few differences between these brands.


Some, but not all Funai manufactured brands and models included a "Make Recordings Compatible" feature that had to be pre-activated in a menu in order to allow unfinalized DVDs to be used with other Funai manufactured recorders for additional recording and/or finalizing. Unfortunately, Funai's Make Recordings Compatible feature had to be pre-activated on the original recorder AND the other recorder or it wouldn't work.


I should add that I briefly owned a Sylvania ZV450 model that had the Make Recordings Compatible feature listed in one of the menus. That feature allowed one to "activate" the feature-but buried in the Owner Manual there was advice that the Make Recordings Compatible feature is not functional on this model. I still own two of the similar Magnavox ZV450 models where the Make Recordings Compatible feature is functional.


So compatibility of unfinalized DVDs between the "Funai brands" remains a complication.


If these unfinalized DVDs were originally recorded on a Panasonic recorder then most any Panasonic recorder may be used to finalize the DVDs. (I routinely swap unfinalized DVDs between my Panasonic recorders of 2005-2009 vintage.)


I would say more but it appears that we've just had a killing two houses away with many police now on the scene and crime scene tape surrounding our part of the neighborhood. UPDATE: Our neighbor Peter was stabbed to death, supposedly by a roommate. The roommate is in custody but Peter's body has not yet been removed from the house.

http://www.kptv.com/story/24884833/man-stabbed-to-death-in-n-portland

http://koin.com/2014/03/04/man-stabbed-death-n-portland/
 

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If you know anyone that has Nero software on his or her PC than take a look at this thread . I have no idea if other than the Sony/Pioneer recorded discs can be finalized using Nero but it certainly is worth a try.


DigaDo, sorry to hear that your neighbour was murdered.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo  /t/1520921/recorded-dvds-of-unknown-format-any-suggestions/0_40#post_24440625


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Yeah, but if I wanted info from a Brain Surgeon I'd go to the AMA and not the AVS. Likewise if I wanted info on DVD recording I'd go to a group of specialists such as MyCE.com, VideoHelp.com or doom9.com...
 

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Ugh, don't remind me. The first thing the HTPC I'm going to build is going to do is Iso bust about 400 discs. On the plus side It'll be like christmas every day for a while. Lol
 

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Discussion Starter #10

I loaded ISO buster and it does in fact seem that the session is open. It shows files that the computer cannot see, I'm assuming that if I purchase ISO buster it would successfully export the files and I could then create a disk with them. I just hate to put out $$ in the hopes it will work.

 

What would be the ramifications of just using Roxio to finalize the session (in hopes that it can then be read on anything)? Is there a possibility of destroying the data or making it inaccessible if I do this?

 

The disks (at least this one, and I believe all are the same format) is DVD+R. She doesn't remember what brand of recorder it was and she doesn't have any kind of documentation.
 

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I just used the free downloadable version of ISO Buster and when I tried it with a DVD that was damaged during finalizing it was able to play my titles. I remember it took quite some time for it to read the DVD(30?? minutes) but I didn't try and save it, I just played the title to see how the program worked. I would think with the version you have if it's going to work it should at least play your titles, it's possible the upgraded version may have better options like saving the title. I'm no expert by far on the program, unless someone else knows more here you might want to try Videohelp.com which is where I first saw the program mentioned.

Good luck!
 

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Roxio, Nero and ImgBurn can all be deadly if there is a mishap or they choke during the "close session" process. They don't fail gracefully: they either do exactly what you want, or they trash the disc. Before attempting to "finalize" with those programs, its a good idea to use ImgBurn to make backup copies of each disc, so if the originals get ruined you still have backups that ISObuster and other software might be able to extract from. In this specific case of your Aunt, with the discs verified as +R, it is likely they are simply unfinalized and you might get lucky doing that with Roxio or Nero. But no guarantees, so make backup copies beforehand.


I recently had a friend in Asia send me a half dozen DVDs he burned on his Pioneer DVR-550 recorder. He could not get them to play, even in the original recorder that burned them. Three of the discs were +R, three were +RW. All were a nightmare to salvage due to extensive damage (interrupted finalization, incorrect formatting, dye degradation). Finalizing with Nero etc failed, causing further damage. Some videos I did manage to extract could not be made to play normally (bizarre framing, or 60 min recording played at super speed-up). The discs were hopeless until I stumbled on PowerDVD's ability to play any crap mangled disc you can throw at it, allowing an analog dub from PC to external recorder. So each person's unplayable disc will require different methods to repair or extract.


Regarding ISObuster, its a one-of-a-kind yet PITA program. It can do some amazing things, but the free version is practically useless unless you carefully trick it in combination with other software as outlined in the link I posted earlier (and many other threads you could read thru). The paid version simplifies things because it will let you directly extract files within ISObuster instead of screwing around with tricks. Whether it is worth spending the money depends on how many discs you need to salvage with it. There has been a large uptick in posts about this subject across multiple forum sites over the past couple months, with many newbies confused about the difference between free and paid ISObuster versions. There is no difference in ability to read and detect files, the key difference is the paid version will extract them instead of giving you a confusing runaround. The developer of ISObuster clarified this in a statement to VideoHelp last month: see his post here .
 

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Wow nice, I'll check out PowerDvd.


Thanks,


Anthony
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by olyteddy  /t/1520921/recorded-dvds-of-unknown-format-any-suggestions/0_50#post_24441090

Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo  /t/1520921/recorded-dvds-of-unknown-format-any-suggestions/0_40#post_24440625


AVS Stats:


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Yeah, but if I wanted info from a Brain Surgeon I'd go to the AMA and not the AVS. Likewise if I wanted info on DVD recording I'd go to a group of specialists such as MyCE.com, VideoHelp.com or doom9.com...
.

I agree with olyteddy.


Over a decade ago, when I was learning about video recording, ATI Wonder cards, saving TiVo Series 1 files, creating SVCDs, my 'Go-To' sites were:
  1. VCDHelp: Very technical posts, along with many software tutorials and downloads.
  2. Doom9: Even more technical, IMO, than VCDHelp. The tweaks, and discussions, for AviSynth and FFMpeg, IIRC, were just mind-numbing for a Newbie.
  3. MyCE: I can't remember their original name, but, this was the 'Go-To' site for CD hardware and firmware nitty-gritty.
  4. Afterdawn: Alternate site for software tutorials and downloads.

.

While AVS may have more members, IMHO, the members (and owners / moderators) of VCDHelp and Doom9 were much more technically oriented - some were even the developers of the software utilities, while the majority of the AVS members are 'Users / Lurkers' and the moderators are just that - moderators.


For the OP's problem, I'd begin with MyCE.


Good Luck!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClearToLand  /t/1520921/recorded-dvds-of-unknown-format-any-suggestions#post_24443972
  1. MyCE: I can't remember their original name, but, this was the 'Go-To' site for CD hardware and firmware nitty-gritty.
CD Freaks, I use to frequent that site but due to lack of posts(could go weeks or even a months without posts) I removed it's bookmark from my computer. I'm also about this close to doing the same for Video Help which also gets very few posts, for instance it's been since 2/17 since anyone has posted to their DVDR forum. The forum also seems to be driven by a few real antagonistic posters who when they do get posts the OP probably never returns, sad really
 
 

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Discussion Starter #16

Sorry I'm kind of slow to try out the suggestions, been busy with other commitments after work. I will try Power DVD as well and see what it can cough up. I find it interesting that ImgBurn can copy a disk that the computer won't read. Interesting. I'll give that a try too.
 

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Discussion Starter #17

PowerDVD will INDEED read the disk and play the video. I think I can install it on my laptop and then port it out to record it on my other computer.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by yougotiger  /t/1520921/recorded-dvds-of-unknown-format-any-suggestions#post_24446799

 

PowerDVD will INDEED read the disk and play the video. I think I can install it on my laptop and then port it out to record it on my other computer.
I wonder if PowerDVD has the option to directly record what it's playing(rip the DVD)? I use Power2Go(not sure if it's the same as PowerDVD) to burn DVDs on my computer that I've ripped with DVD Shrink. It would be better to not have to use the analog connection and use another PC as you've described. For one thing doing it that way would be realtime as apposed to a internal rip/burn on your PC.
 

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Power2Go is a burning suite, comparable to Nero or Roxio. It doesn't have the brute-force ability to play damaged, unfinalized or eccentric discs that PowerDVD can. I don't think it even rips, just makes bit-for-bit data copies?


PowerDVD is a media player, comparable to KMPlayer or Media Player Home Cinema, with no ripping or burning abilities that I can find. At least, not in the "free demo" and "bundled-with-new-PC" editions I've used: the paid version may be capable of ripping for all I know. If there isn't already a version that can rip and save salvaged files, CyberLink should really make one: it would be a killer swiss-army-knife utility. Although there may be a huge difference between decoding a funky DVD for playback, and saving it as a file in corrected form: perhaps hard to do in a single app? As it stands, PowerDVD is still a minor miracle if you don't mind the quality hit of an analog dub. I'm no fanboy: CyberLink's pricing policies are ridiculously inconsistent, and much of the installation is bloatware. But if you can't get anything decent out of ISObuster (or don't have the geek skills to use it effectively), its nice that the free demo PowerDVD exists as a fallback option.
 

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Discussion Starter #20

Everything I've seen shows PowerDVD is a straight up player only as well. I'll try the analog and see what kind of hit I get and if it's too bad, maybe we'll fork out for isobuster's full version.
 
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