Thanks for posting your solutions.
I've found that three factors affect DVD playback most, and in this order:
1.) choice of media - Verbatim and Taiyo Yuden are highly recommended. Falcon gets good reviews, but is/was only available in US. Have never used it.
2.) burn speed - slower is always better (as you point out). Luckily, Encore allows one to choose a slow burn speed, based on one's selection of media and also the capabilities of the burner. I always buy the slowest media, that Verbatim, or TY offer at the time. I want SLOW.
3.) keeping the bit-rate at about 7MB/s. This one gets debated a bit, and many have never had an issue at 8MB/s - YMMV
Now, my workflow is a tad different, as I always Export from PrPro as a DV-AVI Type II elemental stream (Video-only, no multiplexing obviously) and AC3 DD 5.1 SS Audio-only (or PCM/WAV 48KHz 16-bit, if I'm not doing 5.1 SS with the SurCode encoder). The DV-AVI is Imported into Encore as a Timeline, and the AC3 (or WAV) is Imported as an Asset. The Audio is dragged to the respective Timeline.
Unless I have some real need for bit-budgeting, I let Encore Transcode on Automatic. Even if one uses the above Assets and requires bit-budgeting, you can still set up the Transcoding manually, or can Export from PrPro as an MPEG-2 with the necessary settings. I strongly recommend not using any muxed files as Assets in Encore. Some will work, but many just flat fail.
So far, my method has yielded several hundred Projects with almost 2000 DVD's Burned. Not one has ever come back. Now, each Project gets checked with a DVD RW "test," and then the first DVD -R, or +R gets run through 5 different machines, plus the computer, before delivery, but still no returns, and some of my clients have some pretty old gear. For my testing, I use several brands of players and the models range from a pure esoteric down to a re-branded discount store cheapie. If it plays on all of these, I ship it out the door.
Appreciate the posting of your workflow,