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Old 31st August 2002, 13:36   #1  |  Link
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DVD Writing FAQ

Since there are the same questions again and again, I'll try to summerize the most important facts.

At first, some general questions about DVD burning, which are valid for all typs of DVD writers
  1. Nero does not work. What should I do?
    Use mkisofs, which is included in cdrtools (running under cygwin), to author your images, and use DVD Decrypter to burn them to a disc. A short guide on the basic usage of mkisofs can be found here.
  2. What is the capacity of a DVD disc?
    DVD-R/W: 4,707,000,000 Bytes, i.e. 4,489 MB or 4,38 GB
    DVD+R/W: 4,700,000,000 Bytes, i.e. 4483 MB.
    DVD+R9 (more than 10x as expensive as DVD±R!): 8,547,000,000 Bytes
  3. My project is a litte bit larger than the capacity of the disc. Can I overburn?
    No. Even one single MB too much is very bad luck. There is no overburning for DVD, so there won't be any way to overburn a DVD unless they release a new MMC command set.
  4. How long does it take to burn a full 4,489 MB disc?
    1x speed: 59 min
    2x speed: 30 min
    2,4x on 4,7 GB media: 25 min
    2,4x on 8,5 GB media: 45 min
    4x speed: 15 min
    8x speed: 8-9 min, depending on writer
    12x speed: 6-7min, depending on writer
  5. How can I determine the manufacturer of a DVD±R(W)?
    Either use ADVDInfo, or, if this doesn't work, cdrecord-prodvd. DVDDecryptor also shows that info.
  6. Can I write to DVDs at a higher speed than what they are certified for?
    The Plextor PX708 can write to some 4x DVD+R media at 8x speed, the LiteOn 811 drives can, and the NEC 2500 will write some 4x DVD±R media at 6x or 8x (mainly Mitsubishi and Taiyo Yuden 4x discs), as well as Philips and Benq 8x DVD+R writers. Usually, those drives only allow 8x writing to 4x discs if it really works, and refuse to do that with cheap, bad media.

    If your drive does not allow writing media at a higher speed, then there might be hacked firmwares which allow this, but you use those on your own responsibility!
  7. Writing takes much longer than it should, even longer than 1h. Why?
    Either your chipset drivers are broken, or you forgot to enable DMA. Enable it.
  8. Does lower write speed mean better result?
    Might be, might be not. Good media should work as good at maximum speed as at low speeds (or even better, if the burner 'knows' a good write strategy for high speeds, but not for low speeds, on a certain disc type)
  9. Which media should I use for my recorder?
    Some manufacturers of dvd recorders maintain lists of media they recommend, for example NEC and Plextor. Generally, it is a good idea to use known, branded media, and to stay away from cheap, unbranded spindle stuff.
  10. Nero makes coasters when trying to record files larger than 2 GB. Why?
    Nero 6 seems to be b0rked. Unlike Nero 5, it sometimes forgets to pop up an error message when the user tries to add a file > 2 GB to an ISO compilation. You have to use UDF.
Questions you should not ask
  1. What is the best DVD writer?
    Might change every month. Just read in the forum.
  2. Is DVD+ or DVD- better?
    You'll only cause flamewars, fought by users who use single-format writers and who have paid more than they are worth...

General questions about DVD±RW media
  1. Which media should I use?
    Although you will generally be told that different discs work on different DVD writers, there are some discs which work on most, or even all, dvd recorders. Such manufacturers are for example Mitsubishi, Ricoh (note that there have recently been some mixed reports with Ricoh discs), Taiyo Yuden, TDK, Maxell
  2. If a cakebox says 'Maxell', 'Verbatim' or 'TDK', do I get discs as good as in juwel cases?
    No! Princo has some time aso faked TDK codes, so that a cakebox labaled as TDK could very well be Princo, and Maxell - IDs are currently also used illegaly by an unknown chinese dvd-r manufacturer, making really, really bad discs. Some won't even work at 1x. If you want to be sure, buy juwel cased media only.
    Nowadays, Verbatim is packing cheap stuff into spindles (like CMC), and sells Mitsubishi media in juwel cases.
  3. I bought cheap DVD-R media, and now it does not work
    Some cheap DVD- media is really bad. See the question above

Now, some special problems with Pioneer DVR-A03/A04 writers
  1. Can I write all media at 2x?
    No! There is media around that even can't be written properly at 1x.
    The following manufacturers make 2x compatible media (no highspeed-media!):
    Mitsubishi (=Verbatim),
    TDK (DVR-A03: firmware 1.65 required)
    Matsushita (DVR-A04 required)
    Taiyo Yuden (DVR-A04 required)
    CMC (DVR-A04 with firmare 1.33 required)
    crap discs! not recommended!
    Sony (DVR-A04 with firmware 1.40 required)
    Prodisc (DVR-A05 with firmware 1.21 required)
    at 2x. Support for Ritek at 2x (which has been introduced in 1.31) has been removed in 1.32, probably because of unreliable burns, but seems to have been reintroduced with 1.40.
    No other non-highspeed-media will be written at 2x (note that some programs always offer 2x speed. The writer will ignore this setting if there is not 2x compatible media inserted), unless Pioneer adds support for more media via firmware upgrade! Note that some of the mentioned manufacturers also make cheaper 1x compatible media, in addition to 2x compatible media.
    There are hacked firmwares available to enable 2x for all media, but you use that on your own risk!
  2. Why does Nero only show 1x speed?
    If your firmware is 1.90/1.33:
    -> Because you have not inserted 2x compatible media.
    If your firmware is 2.00/1.40 (or higher):
    -> Because you have inserted only 1x compatible media
  3. Has 2x writing speed lower quality than 1x speed?
    Usually not. Pioneer only allows 2x writing for media that they are satisfied with. However, there are some bad reports about Ritek media at 2x. There have been reports that some players reject 2x written media, but play the same media if it has been written at 1x, and there is also the possibility of getting bad batches of 2x compatible media, which might then not be reliable (such as Princo 2x, which seems to be B-grade TDK). You will have to try and find out on your own.
  4. Can I bypass the media check?
    Not with official firmware. This would only cause coasters, so Pioneer does not allow to switch it off.
    There is a "modified" firmware available which allows 2x writing to all discs, but you use that on your own risks. Don't complain if you get coasters then. You were the one to install it.
  5. I get write errors, "communication failure", system crashed while writing a DVD, verification errors or other weird errors. help!
    There's a bug in the firmware which sometimes causes these errors if you run Pioneer DVD writers in DMA mode. You must set it to PIO then. Current CPUs are powerful enough to run the device in PIO mode at 2x speed. Setting to PIO mostly fixes the problem.
  6. I bought 2x certified media, but my DVR-A03 only writes it at 1x. Help!
    First possible reason: You use media that only the DVR-A04 can write at 2x speed. Second possible reason: There is so-called "2x"-media around which even the A04 can't recognise as 2x compatible. Then you should have a talk with your vendor.
  7. The windows firmware loader doesn't work...
    I have the DOS loader for DVR-A03 delivered with firmware 1.68 here. Boot into DOS mode and upgrade there. I used it to upgrade to 1.90 and it worked fine. Unlike what Pioneer claims, this loader can also downgrade. Note that this loader does not work if firmware 1.90 is installed. Pioneer seems to intentionally prohibit its use if firmware 1.90 is installed.
  8. Can I downgrade firmware?
    For DVR-A03, with firmare 1.90: Get the DOS-loader and firmware file here. You must then boot ms-dos or win 98 dos prompt in order to install it. Note that this seems to work only if 1.80 or earlier is installed. If you want to downgrade from 1.90 to 1.68, then rename your r3100101.168 to r3100101.91, download this, boot to dos and execute upgdvd.exe
    For DVR-A03, with firmare 2.00 (should also work with older ones) (/BEGIN posted by Antonio S.):
    1 - Download Pioneer firmware 2.0
    2 - Remove installer (UPGDVD.exe) and place it in a folder with the firmware that you want to use to downgrade the firmware of your burner.
    3 - Make a shortcut of UPGDVD.exe to your desktop
    4 - Rightclick your new created shortcut. Go to properties and change the target from .../ UPGDVD.exe to .../UPGDVD.exe /F
    (carefully check the space after ".exe", and the letter "F" must be a capital letter).
    5 - Double click your shortcut. Wait until process is DONE!
    /END posted by Antonio S.
  9. Can bad-flashed drives be repaired?
    The user jaay did a successful bad-flash-recovery with a DVR-A03 here using the DOS loader. I doubt that this works if firmware 1.90+ was installed before the bad flash. [sarcasm] Thank you, Pioneer! [/sarcasm]
  10. Can Pioneer DVR-A03/A04 write the new 4x media at 2x speed?
    Latest firmwares (2.00/1.40) are required for this.
    Why? Very easy:
    There are 1x and 4x discs, but no 2x discs. What we call "2x media" are actually high-quality 1x discs which can even be written at 2x.
    And 2x writing on 4x discs requires a different write strategy. Since older firmwares could damage the writer when inserting 4x discs, a quick fix was made. This fix did not include the new write strategy, and thus only allowed 1x writing on the new 4x discs. Only the abovementioned firmwares now allow 2x writing to 4x discs.
  11. Is it necessary to format a dvd-rw disc before burning?
    Usually not. This should be required only for some crap media which gives bad burns otherwise. However, if a good disc is not recognised by some players, you can try a full erase and reburn the disc.
  12. What about heat?
    Pioneer DVR-A03/A04 consume about 20W, which is more than most other burners. Make sure that there is no drive mounted directly underneath the Pioneer DVD burner. Installing an extra fan is not a bad idea either.
  13. I'm trying to use VIVASTAR discs...
    Shame on you!

Dual Layer Writing

Here a link to my own tests concerning Dual Layer Writing on my LG GSA-4120B drive.

Last edited by alexnoe; 9th September 2004 at 18:45.
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Old 20th December 2002, 15:49   #2  |  Link
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I've got a DVR-103 and have never had a problem with media. Always wrote at 2x even with crap CD-recordable before they folded.

Lately, I've been using Aterra media. Never heard of them until recently, no problems and they sell for $13 US for a 10 pack.

I burn everything with Recordnowmax 4
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Old 21st December 2002, 06:57   #3  |  Link
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dvr104 firmware 1.40 supports 2x write with ritek

Visit the euro site of pioneer electronics and grab the firmware 1.40 and enjoy 2x writing with ritek.
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Old 21st December 2002, 11:37   #4  |  Link
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It is still not in the list...
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Old 22nd December 2002, 02:20   #5  |  Link
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ritek is not listed but i can confirm on my system that 2x is supported with the a04/104 burner using the 1.40 firmware upgrade.
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Old 22nd December 2002, 13:09   #6  |  Link
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Without 2x4all 2x speed on Ritek?

Last edited by alexnoe; 22nd December 2002 at 13:16.
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Old 10th January 2003, 15:51   #7  |  Link
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chadp1a, which Riteks are those? I also have an A04 with 1.40 official firmare but I can only burn them at 1x.

I have some Datasafe DVD-R's which are labelled as 2x. They are identified by dvdrecord as

write str. code: 0B FE FF 80
Manufacturer: 'RITEKG03'

which is one of these medias

00 42 00 00 01 40 C1 FD 9E D8 50 00 02 79 0E 0B .B...@....P..Y..
FE FF 80 00 03 52 49 54 45 4B 47 00 04 30 33 00 .....RITEKG..03.
00 00 00 00 05 88 80 00 00 00 01 00 00 00 00 00 ................


00 42 00 00 01 40 C1 FD 9E D8 50 00 02 37 0E 0B .B...@....P..7..
FE FF 80 00 03 52 49 54 45 4B 47 00 04 30 33 00 .....RITEKG..03.
00 00 00 00 05 88 80 00 00 00 01 00 00 00 00 00 ................

Are you using the same media? if so, what burning program are you using to burn 2x?
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Old 11th January 2003, 02:04   #8  |  Link
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I read in another thread that Atreides was able to write in X2 ONLY with the latest firmware (original one) and Ritek G04.
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Old 14th January 2003, 23:40   #9  |  Link
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I also have just upgraded the firmware of my pioneer a04 to firmware 1.40 and now ritek media only burn at 1 speed where with the 1.31 firmware they burnt at 2x.

What is this Ritek G04 that people are on about and how do you get it?

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Old 15th January 2003, 07:52   #10  |  Link
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Ritek G04 is Highspeed DVD-R media (4x)
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Old 15th January 2003, 11:30   #11  |  Link
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ok thanks

I have tested ritek media I am using and that is G0 3 so it seems that firmware version 1.4 only burns ritek at 2x if it is GO 4
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Old 15th January 2003, 21:25   #12  |  Link
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it only burns at 2x, because you have a 2x burner. You need a 4x burner in order to burn at 4x, doesnt matter what firmware you use.
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Old 15th January 2003, 23:41   #13  |  Link
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Yes understand that but my pioneer burner was burning ritek GO3 media at 2x with firmware 1.31 but now I have upgraded firmware to 1.40 the same ritek media now only burns at 1x
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Old 17th January 2003, 09:36   #14  |  Link
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SamSung BeAll at 2X? Anyone?

I find the Samsung BeAll media to be substantially more readable on marginal older DVD players, but it only burns at 1X on both my A03 and A04 drives. Is there any new firmware that will allow burns at 2X with this media?
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Old 17th January 2003, 12:58   #15  |  Link
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@timmy: The first report on this forum, when 1.31 arrived, was "Ritek of course burn 2x now, but the disc is crap afterwards..."

If you go through the forum, then you will find people who either only get crap when burning Ritek G03 at 2x, or who have failure rates of 10% or even more, while others have no failures at all.

Pioneer does not support 2x writing to discs with such failure rates and varying quality. That's why they have removed 2x writing to Ritek G03 from the firmware.

Again: Ritek G03 are NOT 2x certified, and any shop claiming otherwise is writing crap or trying to fool you.

If you have a good batch, it works well with the 2x4all firmware. That's all. If you get a bad batch => have fun with 1x writing

Last edited by alexnoe; 17th January 2003 at 13:10.
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Old 19th January 2003, 03:54   #16  |  Link
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Thanks for info. I must admit though I have had sucess burning ritek at 2x using firmware 1.31

Regards above matter I have just obtained some DVD Master GO4 disks which I have seen on the forum will write at 2x using firmware 1.40.

When I tried them in Nero ver they only wrote at 1x.

Tried them in Primo dvd and also only wrote at 1x.

I then noticed on forum dvd decrypter lets you check the disk info. using MODE - ISO - WRITE.

On doing this I find the disks are RITEK GO3.

Does this mean I have been ripped off and sold Gen 4 disks when they are only GO3 or are dvd master DVD-R gen 4 really only gO3?

Can anyone advise before I complain to where I bought them.
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Old 29th January 2003, 23:35   #17  |  Link
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general burning issues

is this where i can ask questions about the problems i have - pulling my hair out - dont wanna get told off though for posting in the wrong place.....
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Old 29th January 2003, 23:56   #18  |  Link
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Depends on the kind of problem you have with your dvd burner...usually, the name of each forums describes well enough the kind of problems to be discussed
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Old 30th January 2003, 01:03   #19  |  Link
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Well - i think its the media but not sure - i read earlier on that there are "bad batches" of discs created - ive got an a03 and an a05....tried different os'es, xp and 2000, completely different hardware (shuttle and full size tower) the media ive tried so far is the gen 4 dvd master, 4x datawrite and the 2x white top ritek, the main problem i have is with standalone players (pioneer ironically) my old sony seems to play everything (7700 reference player) so is it something the pioneer player doesnt like. Ive also tried loads of different writing packages record now, instant, nero...etc etc... but cant seem to nail it down to one thing.... any ideas, for example if your getting good burns....what software build are u using...see where im gonig wrong.....
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Old 17th February 2003, 03:40   #20  |  Link
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Pioneer burns at 4X

Well, Comfysofa, all I might do is suggest a few points.
I have a cheap ($179.00) CenDyne aka Pioneer DVR-105 model and burn Ritek 4X all the time and no problems. I also had Hypermedia discs that I threw away.. CMC *read above* and they were only good at 1X. My Maxell and TDK burned at 2X all the time.

I installed an ASPI layer from Adaptec some time ago, called ASPI XP and the version is 4.71.1 from Adaptec. It is the one that DVD Decrypter uses when I rip and probably the one in use when I burn with Nero. ADAPTEC WEB SITE Download is free. There are lots of variables in this burn thing. Using the right ASPI layer, using the right media, and using the right settings in your burning software and it's right version. Many things!

Nero just did some work with folks at DVD2ONE and they were working on a version that wrote DVD compiant videos for many of the DVD set top players. Perhaps Nero has come to terms with the compatibility. I have burned the same movie in 3 different way using Nero and all 3 play on my DVD player, yet only 1 plays on my friends Sony DVD player. Odd huh?

So your question is valid and rigetous, yet the answers are as varied as people's faces.

Start with Good burner, and good updated burning softare.
Good ASPI layer and faily current.
Good media. Cheap is expensive in the long run.
Use 80 wire cables in y our computer ie EIDE for ATA 66 and above. no shortcut there.
Don't mess with the computer while burning.
Don't cause vibrations in the area of the computer while burning. Remeber you are burning tracks at 0.79 micron with DVD. I work at a winery and we sterile filter yeast and some bacteria at .45 micron.. get the idea.?? How successful would burning be next to a freight train rail road track?? *grin* likewise, foot vibrations in the room where the computer resides.

just some suggestions. maybe none of them carry water and I'm all wet, but I do manage to burn at 100% no coasters... lucky I guess.
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