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This is part of an article I wrote some time back for http://www.HowToVideoPRO.com on the subject of DVD playback:
Here is a brief list of some of the most common problems associated with poor DVD disk playback, and how to avoid them:
- Cheap media: DVD media comes in many different grades. Cheap, no name grades of media tend to have imperfections in the dye layer that will cause data loss. Go with a good grade of blank media. If you’ve never heard of the manufacturer, watch out! When you buy disks in bulk, the price difference between good quality disks and questionable stuff will probably be only a few cents per unit. Your disk media is not the place to cut corners.
- You chose a DVD media format other than DVD-R: This is becoming less of a problem as more people replace their DVD players with current models that are compatible with DVD+R. For now, DVD-R format disks are compatible with more consumer DVD players.
- The DVD was duplicated at a high speed: Your blank disks may say that they can be recorded at 16X. Just because you can, does not mean you should. Generally, the lower the duplication speed the fewer disk errors you will encounter on playback, and the higher the quality of the image on playback. If possible, use 1X or 2X duplication speed.
- A stick-on or stomp label is applied to the disk:Labels are bad news for DVDs. These disks are spinning at a relatively high speed. Having a stick-on label that is off center the slightest bit will cause the disk to wobble and flutter in the player, which will in turn create playback errors or will make the disk unplayable. Buy inkjet printable DVDs and use a media-capable printer such as one of the Epson models (I use an Epson R260) to print professional looking full-color labels on your disks. An alternative might be using Lightscribe media along with a Lightscribe labeling drive. Typically, these drives are too slow for practical use in commercial duplication, however.
- The disk was scratched before it was burned: Handle your unburned, disks with the utmost of care. Even slight marring or scratching of the plastic disk surface can cause big problems for a drive when burning a disk. If you are using an inkjet printer to label your disks, only print on disks after they have been burned.
- The disk was not verified following the burn process: Most computers or DVD duplication racks have the option of verifying data after burning. This second scan can slow down the duplication process, but it will often reveal problems with a burn before your customers discover it. I also like to spot check one or two disks from each run to make certain that they play well on the cheapest DVD player I can find. I have a player in my office that cost less than $30.00 that serves this purpose very well. I figure that if a disk plays okay on my cheapo player, it should play just fine on almost anything else.
- The consumer’s DVD player is an old model that does not support DVD-R media: Some players that were manufactured more than five years ago may have problems with DVD-R media. I actually run into this problem only rarely now. Most people have upgraded players or have already run into the problem with their older players and so are able to solve the problem themselves. It might be a good practice to insert a brief note in your disk shipments recommending that if playback problems are encountered, to attempt to use a more recent model of player.
Hope this helps.