Bad burns can be avoided by using quality DVD R Media. All DVD R media is not created equal (see article). Try to use only high quality blank media to record onto; saving a few pennies on the blank media is not usually cost effective when you factor in bad burns, compatibility issues and returns. If you take the time to make a great DVD / CD project and/or if you are distributing copies to customers it is worth the little extra to get good media. If you are using DVD media for professional applications commercial grade media is recommended and if you are using them for personal use than consumer grade DVD media will be suitable. Also there is an increasing amount of DVD R media being sold under false labels with stolen m-code (manufacturers code). Just because the DVD media is brand name does not mean it is authentic. Note that most the time you will get what you pay for. How will you know? Buy brand name media from reputable sources and know their return policies.
Use slower burn speeds will produce the best quality burns. Burning at high speeds such as 8X and up may increase the likelihood of errors during recording.
You can always burn high speed DVD R media on slower drives. Manufacturers are always releasing faster speeds of media but they will still burn on slower drives. An 8X DVD R will burn just as effectively at 4X as a 4X DVD R will.
Don’t always assume your DVD R Media is defective. They are a number of different reasons you may be getting recording errors including: faulty DVD burning drive, old drive firmware, old burning software versions, software conflicts, problems with your video source files (bad source, bad conversion, etc) A good test is to try and burn another source file. If it works you will know that it is not the disc.
For higher playback compatibility it is suggested that you use DVD-R media rather than DVD+R media. Many industry studies have concluded that DVD-R media has slightly better playback on more drives and players. This is important if you plan on distributing your DVD media since you will want to make sure that your recipients will be able to play them.
DVD-RW/+RW media are the least compatible of all DVD R media. Some DVD-RW or DVD+RW seem to play only on the drives that they were burned on. If you plan on distributing your DVD using DVD+-RW a good number of recipients may not be able to play them, and they may even accidentally erase, add files to them or overwrite your DVD+-RW disc. Write once media is usually the better choice for distribution of information.
Try to use good DVD burning software. Some programs are definitely better than others. We recommend using Nero, Toast or Roxio DVD copying programs. For data recording try to avoid the ‘drag and drop’ or ‘direct disc’ type recording that may make a ‘packet’ disc that may not be readable by others at all or require special software installed for a recipient to read the disc.
Avoid disc-to-disc DVD copying. Disc to disc increases your chance for error since one drive must successfully read the data and another drive successfully copy the data simultaneously. It is recommended that you always copy data from a hard drive if possible. Most DVD duplicator towers now are equipped with large hard drives for this reason.
Make sure you are only running one burning software program on your computer. If multiple burning software programs are installed they may conflict with each other and cause problems when attempting to copy DVD R media.
Copying write protected movies. Making backup copies of protected movies can only be done with special software that will allow you to read the copy protected disc. There are programs available that can remove copy protection, the laws in some countries prohibit the sales and distribution of software that removes copy protection, so most of the DVD backup software programs are unable to integrate the un-protection process directly into their programs, so you would have to find the software somewhere on the web since they cannot be sold in stores.
Storage and Handling Tips. To help keep the reliability of the DVD R disc and the data stored on it you will want to follow some simple rules that actually apply to all optical media including CDRs.
Dusty discs can easily be dusted off with canned air. Cleaning by wiping the surface is not recommended but if you must, try to use a DVD / CD-cleaner cloth and wipe the disc from the inside to the outside, perpendicular to the tracks. Do not go circular around the disc but straight across, this will prevent scratches that follow the track that are harder for the players to correct. (Soft cotton cloths or lens cleaning cloths work well, avoid facial tissues or paper towels). Specially made DVD cleaning liquids, isopropyl alcohol, or soapy water can be used if necessary.
Handle the disc only by the outer edge to prevent fingerprints and smudges on the disc.
Never touch the recording surface (unlabeled side) or lay it on a hard surface.
Store the disc in its protective case when not in use, this help protect the data from damage due to scratches on the disc surface.
Quick Check Troubleshooting Guide
Check the following items if you are having difficulty burning a DVD R.
Hardware - check drive firmware, this is very important, most DVD R drives have internal Firmware that needs to be updated regularly. (See Drive Firmware update article) Make sure you have enough empty working space on your Hard Drive when working with video files, also try to keep the files organized and ‘defrag’ your Hard Drive frequently.
External Drive - Check your cables and port to make sure everything is plugged in properly. Replace cables if needed. Check power to the drive. Try to use a built in USB port and not a port created with card if possible. – Try not to use a USB 2.0 hub or pass through.
Software - Make sure your software is up to date. Check for possible conflicts with other programs (especially other burning programs) most software websites will have a support pages with information about possible conflicts and their proper resolutions.