First some questions:
What brand of media did you use? (I strongly recommend Taiyo Yuden, or Verbatim, though Falcon, US only, gets good marks)
What was the Quality setting? (In general, PE will not let you use too high a bit-rate, which can be a problem for some set-top players)
Have you tried more than one set-top player? (Remember, no set-top player is required by the specs. to play any burned DVD)
Haver you tried -R and +R media? (some set-top players like one vs the other, though that gap is closing)
Also apart from what Hunt said, what speed are the discs? PE4 will burn at the speed of the disc which can give problems as you mention, best idea is to buy the slowest speed discs that you can.
Other thing, I assume you are using PE4 for burning? You could burn to folder and then use a DVD burning program to burn the folder to DVD. You may have NERO or SONIC with you DVD burner... with these program's you normally have more control over the burn. For example you can control the burn speed so you can use faster discs. If you do burn with such a program make sure to burn a DVD-Video disc and not a data dics. DVD video burnt as data discs can also give the same problem as you describe.
Good call Paul. I had not taken that into consideration. Had this been an Encore question, I'd have mentioned the burn speed, which is also a big issue with set-top player compatibility. Your comment about the speed of the media is spot on, as PE goes for the fastest burn, based on the speed of the media and the speed of the burner. In Encore, one just sets the slowest burn speed (usually in the 2x - 4x range). With ImgBurn one can also set a slower burn speed.
Memorex DVD +R
This is my first PE4 project. I just left all the burn settings at the defaults.
I haven't tried another set-top player - would have to find somebody else with one.
I had a very long video, so when I went to burn it, I realized I coudln't get it on a single DVD, so I split it up into 3 projects. One of the other 3 projects plays on the Set-top player, on the same brand of DVD and I left the settings as default, so maybe it has to do with the burn automatically fitting on the disc or something.
So, I should use a slow burn speed?
What should the quality setting be? Don't use the fit to disc setting?
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Yes, the lowest possible Burn speed will be a step in the direction of compatibility.
As for the Quality setting, Robert Johnson has done tests on various versions of PE and has recommend a setting of about 7.8 (IIRC). Unlike Encore, where one has many more choices, PE limits one to a Quality setting of 8. This is about equivilent to the recommend 7MB/s in Encore. Robert found that just below the 8 max. actually yielded slightly better results, than did the full 8, on his tests.
The three things that help to insure the greatest compatibility with set-top players are, and in pretty much this order:
1.) Quality media - Verbatim, Taiyo Yuden or Falcon (US only)
2.) Burn speed (slower is better. It might take a few minutes more, but if it works, you don't have returns or have to do it again.)
3.) Bit-rate around 7MB/sec
Remember - no set-top player HAS to play any Burned DVD. Most do, but some just do not - only replicated, pressed discs. Also, some player are still sensitive to the -R and +R media types. This is less a problem with newer units, however it still could be an issue with many older ones.
Personally, I test a "master" on four different players, plus my computer, before I Burn a batch, or ship out any. One unit is a very high-end Marantz, another is a mid-level Marantz, one is an RCA "el cheapo" and the other is an older Pioneer. I figure if the disc plays everywhere, there is a good chance that it will play for the client - though there are still no guarantees.
Thanks so much for all the good advice!!