Thanks for the replies.
Currently my concern is that my drive might be defective. It has not scanned a disc with a quality score greater than 50, and the number of PIFs are the highest I've ever seen. According to NECs website, "Yuden 8x DVD-R" is a recommended media for the NEC ND-3550A. Shouldn't I atleast be able to burn working discs? They (TYG02) currently do not. 20 coasters so far. Verbatim DVD-R 16x (MCC 03RG20) does produce working discs, but the quality scans are horrible.
But are they really? The drive might be defective, and not able to produce good scans of quality discs at all. The TY discs I have were burned successfully in an NEC ND-2500A, an NEC ND-3500AG and several people here on the forum, and on VideoHelp, report great results with them using many brands and models of DVD-writers. Generally, people seem to be able to write just about any discs with a format that their burners support.
This is where I stop trying to troubleshoot the drive and attempt an RMA. I'm unsure how that will turn out, though. The drive may produce working discs, but they are horrible quality. I don't really trust the retailer to do any sort of testing beyond trying to burn a disc.
I appreciate the responses. I hope I'll be able to reliably backup my data some day. It would be nice.