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Old 31st August 2002, 13:36   #1  |  Link
alexnoe's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Germany
Posts: 1,737
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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