Sorry, but I gotta ask it here....question about +RWs and -RWs

I asked this in the newbie forum here, but was given two answers that had nothing to do with my question. (WHY do people do that?)

Anyway, I tried playing a little with the 5005, using a +RW in it because I’d heard they’ll play in regular DVD players without being finalized.

Lo’ and behold, IT WORKED!

The thing is, I tried to then finalize the disc (just to see how things work with them…after all, they’re eraseable, but I wondered “is that still true once they’re finalized?”) and the 5005 gave me a “change discs” message.

Okay…the 5005 doesn’t finalize recorded +RWs. Then again, it doesn’t have to because they DO play in other machines.

I’m wondering if this is unique to the 5005, or is this true of all recorders that work with +RW discs? (And if some WILL finalize a +RW, is it still eraseable after that, or is it locked up for good?)

Now, the real question-

How much of this applies to -RWs?

Do they also play in regular DVD players without being finalized?

CAN they be finalized, or would I get a “change disc” message with them too?

Finally, if a -RW can be finalized, does it then become “locked”, as in “can’t be erased any more”?

So many ins and outs with this stuff! So much to learn… :iagree:

+RW is the only DVD media that doesn’t need finalizing, all others (+R, -R, -RW) required finalizing (true for all recorders). Some 5005 firmware versions/DVD player combinations don’t required finalizing at all, while other combinations just won’t play - a lot of trial and errors there.
-RW can be erased even after finalizing.

side note:
5005 LiteOn burners do a pretty poor job of writing to +RW media


Unbranded (sample disc that came with Recorder)


Ricoh Co. Ltd.


RICOHJPN W11 (Revision 001)

Disc Type:




Certified Speed:


Estimated Write Speed:


Initialise Time:


Write Time:


Finalise Time:


PI-8 errors Average/Sec:


PI-1 failures (PIF) Avg/Sec:


Very disappointing results for the blank unbranded media that Lite-On included with the Recorder. Both the PI and PIF bursts frequently exceed the allowed limit for DVD media and the disc struggled to read faster than 4x throughout the disc. Our recommendation would be to get pick up a decent DVD+RW disc and only use this to practice with.

The disc failed to be detected at all in an LG GDR-8081N laptop DVD-ROM drive and would not play beyond the 50 minute mark in our Samsung SD616Q. In other drives however, the disc showed no signs of issue playing back.

Weird. Except for the recent “won’t read its own discs” incident, which turned out to be nothing but a dirty laser lens, mine has again proved to be the Superman among 5005’s.

I used a Memorex +RW to record some TV shows for a friend on my '05, and found the thing actually fit about six hours twenty five minutes (and apparently could have fit more) at the six hour setting. Recorded fine, played fine, discs worked well in other machines…

:confused: It’s going to come and get me one night while I’m sleeping…isn’t it?


I’ve mentioned in another thread that my 5005 basically hated the disc that came in the box with it: RICOHJPNW11. After only a few burns, that disc was useless (and not so great before that). It did only marginally better with Fuji branded W11s but they became unreadable after a few burns.

But HP branded PHILIPS 041 (+RW) work great. PIFs average around 2 and the BenQ 1640 reads it with a perfect read curve.

I found it quite odd that Lite-On would ship a fairly low quality disc with its Lite-On, at least the model I have. In my case, I know it wasn’t a dirty lens as the recorder was brand new at the time of the review and the +RW’s were one of the first few I’ve tested. Just note that my review covered the 5045, not the 5005! :stuck_out_tongue: I can confirm that each time I reused that +RW that shipped with the drive, the write quality on that disc got considerably worse, unlike the Verbatim +RW disc.

While +RW’s do not need to be finalised before playing in standalone DVD players, -RW’s do need to be finalised if they are formatted using quick initialisation. If they are formatted using full initialisation (25mins for a 2.4x disc, 15 minutes for a 4x disc), then they can be played in other players without finalisation. Unfortunately, I am not sure if the 500x series supports full initialisation of DVD-RW media.

My recommendation would be to first try Verbatim DVD+RW media as this is the brand that gave the best performance with my drive. :slight_smile:

DVD-RW discs formatted with quick initialisation can be finalised, however DVD-RW discs formatted using full intialisation cannot be finalised, i.e. I get a “change disc” message in my 5045 also. However, as I mentioned, DVD-RW’s that are formatted with full initialisation can be played in other players without finalisation, just like with DVD+RW’s.

Quick initialised DVD-RW’s must be finalised before they can be played in other DVD players. However, while finalising a disc does prevent the editing or recording of additional content to the disc, you can still erase the DVD-RW. Once erased, it appears like a brand new disc all over. Note that once you erase a DVD-RW, it needs to be initialised again, so if you need to do a full intialisation, allow between 15 and 25 minutes for the DVD-RW disc to initialise.

DVD+RW discs can only be quick initialised, however these don’t need to be finalised regardless anyway, at least in the LiteOn DVD recorders.

Unfortunately, I am not sure if the 500x series supports full initialisation of DVD-RW media.

I can confirm that 5005 supports full initialization of DVD-RW, at least for firmware 0101.

I think the burner part of 5045 which you reviewed is pretty much the same as the 500x series.

I’ve just put a -RW disc into my upgraded/hacked 5005, and got the “do you want short or long preparation?” screen. (Sean had told me he’s seen this in the 5045…didn’t know for sure about the '05.)

It specified the long prep. would allow for playing in DVD players.

I chose that option and the first disc is up to a whole SEVEN PERCENT finished now! (LOL!)

I’m going to prepare all the discs in the package, so they’ll be ready when I want them.

Gotta go.

Lex Luthor just frightened an old woman to death on Smallville.

Eleven or twelve minutes into the process, and the disc is showing as 55% done.

Eleven or twelve minutes into the process, and the disc is showing as 55% done.

DVD-RW definitely takes a lot longer (perhaps up to 30x longer) to prepare and to finalize compared to DVD+RW. However, it appears to be slightly more reliable than DVD+RW.

But HP branded PHILIPS 041 (+RW) work great.

Unfortunately for my 5005 with about 300 hours of mostly DVDR+W (approved RITEK -W04-00 [ 4x ] = RICOHJPNW11), neither lens cleaning nor changing to PHILIPS 041 could make the unit record on +RW any longer (showed failed or invalid disc)

Oh, I’m not complaining about the time.

I was PLEASED it wasn’t taking as long as I’d expected. (Someone had told me ‘an hour’ per disc. It’s only taking about half as long.)

I’m sorry to hear about yours no longer working with -RWs, tho’.

I wonder why this is. Have you just swabbed the lens to clean it, or used a cleaning disc? (Also, how’s about that little matter of replacing the disc drive with a better one? Did that fix things, or did you not do that with this machine?)

I’m sorry to hear about yours no longer working with -RWs, tho’.
It is actually +RW that most LiteONs have problems, including mine. They seem to work for a limited lifetime on DVD+RW media.

The only lens cleaner I tried was a CD type with a brush on the disc.

I have not swapped drive on this 5005. Currently using a second 5005 with only about 50 hours on the burner.