Changing booktype doesn't always ensure player compatibility?

I sell several hundred DVDs a month through my website primarily for use on standalone home DVD players. I started out with “+R,” then went to "-R, " and now for some time I have been changing the booktype on “DVD+R” discs on my Lite-On 812s & 832s burners to “DVD-ROM”. This has cut down compatibility conflicts to a very low number, but to my chagrin, has not eliminated them.

Even using “DVD-ROM” I still get a small percentage of users whose players either will not play discs or have unacceptable amounts of skipping etc. I have tried a number of brands, but usually use Ricoh R01s that Kprobe at what are considered excellent levels. Almost all of the problems have involved Toshiba or Samsung players, and most of those have been “combo” vcr/DVD units. (Read “cheap.”) Some of these models are currently for sale, so it is not just an “old player” thing.

It does appear to be mostly a manufacturer specific issue. When I get the the “problem” discs back, a few are just bad blanks, but in most cases, the PIFs are below 15 and the PIs 3 or below, with no noticeable defects. I had always heard that a discs burned as “DVD-ROM” with low error rates would play on anything. Obviously not the case.

I have found the best fix is to send out DVD-R replacement discs (usually Ritek R04s) that almost always cure the problem, despite the fact that they KProbe an order of magnitude worse than than the “problem” bitset +Rs. Since the manufacturers in question are in the DVD-R camp, this would make sense if I was sending out straight “+R” discs in the first place, but I am changing the booktype to “-ROM.” I have verified that many times.

Recently I tried a couple hundred Verbatim MCC03s (also duped at 4x). Despite the fact that they are Kprobing similar to the Ricohs, the customer problem rate, though still very low over all, has noticeably increased.

Does anyone have any idea what is going on? Could the players be reading “disc type” as well as book type? A dye/reflectivity thing? Is it just a question of lousy players? Then why do they play -Rs? I realize “zero defects” is impossible, but there is enough of a pattern here that I would hope there is a fix.



Statistics can be always improved.

I know many Toshiba and Samsung DVD players, including their latest combo VCR/DVD players, can play either DVD+R, DVD+RW, or DVD+RW/+R booktyped to DVD-ROM. DVD-R/-RW as well.

What Toshiba and Samsung DVD players cannot play RICOHJPNR01 booktyped to DVD-ROM that shows very low PIE/PIF rates?

What was the decrease rate like? I mean, out of the hundreds of disc you sell a month (which I think is a very small number), how many are returned on player compatibility reasons? And what was the return rate when you changed it to RICOHJPNR01 and MCC003 booktyped to DVD-ROM? Were most of the returns because of incompatibility with Toshiba and Samsung DVD players? Surely, Toshiba and Samsung DVD players are not friendly to DVD+RW/+R media as the two have been two of the most important DVD-RAM/-R/-RW supporters, but as they sell very many DVD players, they do not want to give their markets to LG, Philips, Pioneer, JVC, Sony, etc. None of them actually does something to make their players completely incompatible with DVD+RW/+R media.

In South Korea, the market share of Samsung and LG in DVD players is sometihng like 100%. I don’t hear much complaint regarding DVD+R/+RW compatibility. Toshiba and Pioneer players seem to play DVD+R booktyped to DVD+R and DVD+R booktyped to DVD-ROM without problems. DVD+RW media are not tested often. Personally, for DVD players, I have one Toshiba and one Pioneer. They both even read DVD+R DL.

I have experienced this weird phenomenon myself. I am convinced that it is not a manufacturer specific issue as I have faced this problem with two standalones:

  1. Philips DVP720SA ("+" “club”).
  2. Pioneer DV-575A ("-" “club”).

Both recent, capable models with a lot of functions and coping with all type of media ("+" and “-”, good and bad).

I decided to experiment a little. The result is posted here:

My return rate is not particularly alarming – probably about 1%. (That’s in terms of customer orders, not disks. Many customers order more than one disc.) I probably mail DVDs to 100-150 customers a month.

What concerns me is that most problems are from Toshiba or Samsung players. I’m not by any means suggesting that all (or most) Samsung or Toshiba players are a problem or can’t play all kinds of DVDRs. I also know that there can be variations in the production run of the same model number, depending on when it was actually produced. The thing is, two manufacturers stand out disproportionately for problems.

For example: Samsung P-421, Samsung DVDV4600, Samsung DVD V-2000, Samsung DVD-V3650, Toshiba SD-3960SU, Toshiba SD 3800, Toshiba SD-2300 owners have had problems. And there was one Maganavox that was manufactured by Samsung.

OTH, I have never had a return from a Sony, Phillips, LG, Pioneer, Denon,Yamaha, or Panasonic owner. One Toshiba “combo” owning customer bought a 24 DVD “library” from me & emailed me that most of the disks wouldn’t play properly. I suggested he buy a $75.00 Sony, he did & they all played perfectly. And as I said, I have had several instances where a customer who owned one of the machines I listed above had problems with my +R discs that had the booktype changed to -ROM, but had no problem with the DVD-R replacements I sent them.

I have 4 players – a fairly new Sony, a new Philips, a Pioneer & a 6 year old Panasonic. Almost all returns I get will play on the Sony, Philips & Pioneer. A few more have skipped on the 6 year old Panasonic

As for as Verbatim vs Ricoh. Using Ricohs, I had no customer complaints for three months. When I switched to Verbatim, I got 3 in three weeks. I know that is not a huge sample or a high return rate, but it it’s enough to tell me that the Verbatims are giving me more trouble, yet the Kprobe results are still very good.

I offer “no questions asked” free replacements, and have always been able to come up with a solution, but for every customer who complains, there are probably just as many who don’t bother to say a word and never come back. That’s why this problem is so irritating.

DVD+R have a lower reflection rate (about equal to the second layer of a pressed DL disc). DVD-R should not have problems regarding reflection rate. Possible that those drives which cant read DVD+R bitset to DVD-ROM have problems with the reflectionrate of DVD+R since this can not be changed by booktype setting.

That makes sense. I’ve noticed that complaints often concern skipping towards the later part (e.g. outer edge) of the disc, even though the KProbe of the disc shows no “mountain” of errors towards the outer edge.

Maybe disc vibration combined with lower reflectivity means that some players (from my experience, usually cheap ones) can’t track consistently towards the edge of the disc. That could be due to laser focusing , or the way the disc is clamped or both. Inferior error correction could probably figure in too.