I admit to being very new to the world of DVD burning. It’s been a far more complicated endeavor than CD burning has been, and despite having a reasonably good burner (a Plextor 708A), I have to admit I have been discouraged and confused more than once in my efforts to make video copies worth watching.
Data integrity has been the most important factor in choosing DVD media for me. There is no point in risking important data or movies on el-cheapo media that will result in coasters or, worse yet, burns that either pixelate halfway through or, within weeks, go unreadable altogether. With CD’s, burning quickie “mix discs” for essentially “one time” listening means you can get away with “Audiobahn,” “Ohm,” or whatever other no-name brand is on offer dirt cheap after rebate at your local electronics store. It’s not as if you need to keep them preserved for years.
But DVD’s have been different for me, because I have been using them to put videotapes to DVD in hopes of preserving them, as well as backing up data for long-term storage.
After reviewing a lot of the advice I have seen here, I jumped on the Arita 4x (Ricoh) purple discs from Newegg a month ago. Ricoh media is reasonably high rated, so for my first DVD burning adventures, I jumped in with both feet. I settled on Nero for the burn engine, and DVD Shrink, when needing to backup an existing DVD.
My first few burns went without incident and, although not the fastest endeavor in the world, seemed well worth it. But as I began to dig down into my Arita pack, suddenly I discovered a bad “vein” of discs… six coasters in a row, all spit out as “write errors” not more than 20% into the burn. At around 90c a disc, it’s definitely more alarming to have burn errors with DVD+R vs. CD-R.
Panic ensued… just how many bad Arita would there be. I managed to move low in the stack and pulled off another good burn, so although I am not sure yet how many bad Arita discs I have gotten, it’s bad luck for me.
The situation only got worse when I discovered the “pixel/freeze” problem when recording a disc not burned properly. Halfway through my “successful” burns, what started as an occasional video glitch later grew to substantial pixel waves and out-of-sync audio. Had I checked my results more carefully, I probably would have not gotten 15 discs burned only to discover the majority of them would suffer from this.
It seems the Plextor so appreciated the quality of the Arita discs that it ran the burn up to 8x.
One piece of advice I have come to learn is regardless of what highly recommended media you find out there, the best way to cut the chances of ending up with a shower of pixels and what looks like badly dubbed film is to slow down the speed of your burns. I have had much better luck with the Arita discs when I limit burns to no more than 2.4x. At 4x, it’s like Russian Roulette and at 8x, it’s just tossing money away. Perhaps it’s also possible my Panasonic DVD player just doesn’t cope well with these discs, but sooner or later we’re all going to end up coping with a fussy player - the end disappointment will be the same.
I think my next restock will be from Ritek, if I can determine which discs are graded the best. It’s worth paying more for something better when you take into account the coasters you also spent money to buy, and the poor quality “successful” burns you have to repeat.