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The DVD Recordable FAQ
Your Top DVD Burning Questions

©2004 by, 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.

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

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

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

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:

  • "My 4X DVD Writer won't even recognize many brands of 4X DVD-Rs!"
  • "My 4X DVD Writer burns some 4X DVD-Rs at 4X and others at only 1X!"
  • "My 2X DVD Writer burns all 4X discs at 1X... why not 2X?"
  • "My DVD Writer shows lots of errors when burning 2X or 4X DVD-Rs!"
  • "My DVD Writer seems to burn at 4X okay, but then the discs don't play well!"
  • "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?"

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.

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...

After Installing the New Firmware...

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

Here are the places to find firmware upgrades for several of the most popular DVD burners.

Try the OTHER BRANDS link immediately above if your brand/model is not listed. If your brand or model of burner is not listed there, please contact the manufacturer of the drive, or the store from which you bought the burner itself. Tell them which brand and model number of burner you own, and ask them for the URL where you can download the latest firmware for your own specific model of DVD burner. Unfortunately some companies may not be as active in fixing their burner problems as others, so you may find that your burner may not have a firmware upgrade available. In that case please do not try to apply firmware from another brand of burner, as it could permanently damage your burner.


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.

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.

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.

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

Freeware DVD Backup Programs -- 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 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 yet, you can use the link below to download a trial version. After 30-days, it costs $60 for the serial number.

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

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

  • 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.
  • Nero 6.0 30-day Trial Download (Serial Number costs $60 after 30 days)

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 page.

Retail DVD Backup Programs:

If you feel you need to be using an "in-the-box" retail type program, then you may want to consider using DVD X Copy. Until programs like DVD X Copy arrived, direct DVD to DVD-R copying had been made difficult if not impossible for most users who feel more comfortable using "in a box" retail type software. DVDs are difficult to copy, even though common law permits "fair use" copying of a disc you actually own for your own use (rented or borrowed discs may not be copied, and any copied disc may not be sold or given away to others -- that's "fair use"). Copy protected or scrambled DVD content is a result of the Digital Mellinium Copyright Act (DMCA) and cooperation between the manufacturers of discs and drives, using scrambling codes on the discs and in the players. As a result, even though various other laws permit you to make copies of your discs and tapes for your own use, making copies of DVD movies or games you own is very difficult. Whether it is legal nowadays to make a copy of a DVD that you own is now controversial. However, if you own a DVD-ROM drive in your computer and a CD-R burner, or if you own a DVD burner that plays DVDs and burns CD-Rs (like the Pioneer combo DVD Writers, or any of the 2nd "plus type" DVD Writers by HP, Sony, Philips, Ricoh, etc.), then you can make copies of DVDs.

Copies directly onto DVD-R or DVD-RW discs, NOT CD-Rs - no loss of quality, you get perfect DVD video just like the original, with all the extra tracks, comments, and so on - uses 1 or 2 DVD-Rs as needed, easy to use!Powerful 3-program suite lets you make copies of DVD movies, VHS tapes, DVD games for only $49.99 - click for detailsDVD Wizard Pro - Copy DVDs, Games and VHS tapes in one versatile yet powerful program for only $39.95 - click for details

The most popular way to make perfect copies of your DVD movie discs is with a new program called DVD X COPY (shown above in the green and black box). DVD X Copy lets you copy directly onto blank DVD-R or DVD-RW discs, with no loss of quality or features. Of course, this program DOES require that you own either a DVD-R or DVD+R burner (it works with either the "general" or "plus" type DVD burners). It copies all the tracks and special features of your DVD movies. If the original movie disc is too long to fit onto one 4.7gb DVD-R, it will use two or more discs as needed automatically. This is the DVD backup software that most DVD movie owners have been waiting for. It lets you protect your valuable DVD library investment so that you don't have to worry about accidently damaging your original DVDs and losing them forever! It even copies many scratched and damaged DVD discs and helps you "recover" them. This program retails for $129, and we're selling it for MUCH less - click here for details and more information. It features easy setup and 1-2-3 step operation, and runs on any Windows 2000 or XP computer (it is NOT compatible with any Macintosh's, or older Windows ME, 98, 95 or 3.1 computers).

At present, there are several programs available for sale that enable you to make high quality copies of DVDs onto CD-R discs, using your CD-R burner and a computer DVD player drive. These programs produce high quality video that is much better than the VHS tapes you're used to, but slightly lower quality than DVD movies. Most people actually can't tell the difference when watching them on TV sets. No DVD burner is needed (although you could use a DVD burner if you have one to PLAY the DVD disc instead of a regular DVD player drive). Two of the most popular of these DVD copying programs are DVD Copy Plus and DVD Wizard Pro. These programs enable you to play a DVD down to your hard drive, decode the program, and then burn it onto 1 or 2 CD-R discs using your CD-R burner. The final CD you produce is in the "Video CD" or VCD format, which most DVD players automatically recognize and play, just like a DVD movie disc. If the movie is 80-minutes or less in runtime, then it will fit onto 1 CD disc. Most 2-3 hour movies will take 2 CD-R discs. You can label and store these VCDs just like any other CD-R. We offer CD labels and 2-disc movie cases at very competitive prices.

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.

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.

The copyright laws permit making ONE copy of a recording as a backup of a disc or tape you actually own, for your own use. They do NOT permit making a copy of a disc you do not own, nor re-distributing any copies to others. Remember that making more than one copy of any disc you own is against the law. 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.

(2) Which DVD burner and discs are best?

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

Recommended DVD Burner -- The Pioneer DVR-106D is the most popular and dependable burner/player for most users. It burns or creates 4.7gb DVD±R write-once discs at up to 4x speed (15 minutes) and DVD±RW erasable discs at 2x. It 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. It is an internal ATAPI EIDE drive that works 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.

Regarding DVD-R and player compatibility, see our list of players at... DVD-R Compatible Players List

About 95% of the DVD players now in the market appear to play regular DVD±R 4.7gb "general purpose" type discs well.

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.

There are other burners out in the market, including the Panasonic SW-9571 which burns 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.

If we were entering the market at this time, we would buy the most-popular Pioneer DVR-106D 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 5% or so of players may not play the discs). 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.

(3) Why do 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 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".

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 76% of today's DVD players can play DVD-R type discs. You can see the DVD-R/player compatibility page at... DVD-R Compatible Players List

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

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

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

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

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.

75% Can... A glance at the list below will show you that about 75% of today's DVD players 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. See a list of more than 200 DVD players that can play at least some kinds of DVD-R discs at... DVD-R Compatible Players List

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.

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.

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.

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 (Each sampler pak includes FREE 2nd Business Day Air Shipping at no additional charge, and is non-returnable.)

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...

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


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 layer 4.7 GB capacity, which is roughly equal to 120-minutes of standard playing time.

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.

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

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

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.

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.


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

(7) How long do recorded DVD discs last?

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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 (we include free 2nd day shipping in the cost of these paks)

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

We hope this information helps you. Feel free to call us with more specific information anytime we can help you!

GOVERNMENT, SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES -- Purchase Orders Okay! Just order online specifying "Purchase Order" as your payment method, then fax us your authorized, signed purchase orders to 818-994-6900.

TO ORDER, GO TO... Our Front Page

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