I have tried several different brands of dvd-r. all will work in the computer, but not on my standalone dvd players. they do work on other peoples' dvd players, but not most. i don't think it is a media problem, as that was also my first thought. then i thought it was my dvd players, but now it has become clear it is the writer. and after reading all the posts about my specific drive on the Dell forum, I see that many customers are dealing with similar and worse problems.
i don't know what model # NEC I am getting, but it is a 16X rw, Dell isn't sure it is dual layer though.
i took your advice and asked for samples of those japan-made disks. they should be getting to me soon to try.
I am very disappointed with Dell. they knowingly are putting these bad drives in their computers and when you call, the have the nerve to say you are the "first person to complain about the drive." then you check out their message boards, on THEIR website, and see there are hundreds who have complained before you. nice way to do business.