With the number of posts on why a DVD will play on some equipment, I thought I’d post some tips and info for reference.
Let’s go back to the earliest days of DVD. During many years of technical and copyright wrangling, a specification was finally penned, and was almost universally implemented. The full specifications fill several volumes and cover all aspects of DVD’s. Many cover DVD-Videos, which is what I’ll talk about. This does not cover DVD-Data, or several other variations, some of which were never implemented. These DVD-Videos are what we burn to get our video movies onto a transport medium for play in all sorts of devices. These can include computers with software DVD players, to set-top players hooked up to a TV, or other display device.
Back in those DVD-specs., it was determined that all set-top players MUST play replicated, i.e. pressed, as in a commercial DVD-Video release. This included both the DVD-5's (the single-sided, single layer ~ 4.37GB discs) and DVD-9's (most often known as DL or ~ 7.92GB discs). All set-top players with the "DVD" logo MUST play these.
Now comes the problem, that so many of use face. We burn our DVD’s and do not send DLP tapes to a replication house. Instead, we use writable media and use a laser to "etch" a dye layer in the blank medium.
No set-top player is required by anything in the DVD-spec. to play ANY of these discs.
Wait! How can we burn DVD-Videos that WILL play our burned discs?
Good news: most set-top players will play these burned discs, even though they do not have to do so.
What can be done to insure that our DVD-Videos play on the greatest segment of the set-top players will play them.
This is simple:
1.) chose the best blank media, that you can buy. Verbatim and Taiyo Yuden are about as good as you can buy. Brands, such as Memorex often are re-branded from the cheapest supplier.
2.) burn at the slowest possible speed.
In many authoring and burning programs, this is easy. Just look at the drop-down list and choose the slowest speed.
In some programs, the speed is set automatically to be fastest based on the speed of the media used and the speed of the burner used. This is often much too fast to get a good burn. There are two choices here: buy the slowest media one can find, or use a 3rd party program, like the free ImgBurn to actually do the burning and set the slowest speed. From the editing program, one would often choose Burn to Folder, fire up ImgBurn and burn from that folder to disc. Note: PE does not allow one to set the speed of the burn. Usually, it does a good job, provided that one uses slow media.
Now, we are all in a hurry. We want the fastest computers and drives. We also do not want to tie up our computers and burners, just to burn a DVD-Video. Well, if you have to redo that burn, just once, because it won’t play on a set-top player, you’ve wasted much more time. Go as slow as is possible, get it right and you stand a great chance that it will play on the greatest number of set-top players.
As an aside, many will wonder why a DVD-Video will play on their computer via a DVD software player, but not on a set-top player. The answer is that the DVD drives in computers MUST play burned DVD’s, but not set-top players.