I usually don't post on these types of forums. I'm just a lurker who searches the Internet for knowledge and contributes rarely. But since I so often search via google and read the informative post of others, I thought I might share something I learned the hard way, to possibly save a few other people the same trouble.
I got my DVD burner, a Sony DRU-710A, a few months back. And although knowing what I know now, I'd probably choose something different if I had the chance again, I've been happy with it.
My first DVD's were GQ's (a.k.a. Princo) from Fry's Electronics. I couldn't pass up the price, as they were about $7.95 for a pack of 25 at the time (now they're even lower). I wasn't even that disappointed when I made coasters maybe 30% of the time, as they were dirt cheap and that was acceptable. It wasn't until I started watching the movies I burned that I started running into the weird glitches that would freeze "DivX Player" at the same spots. Very annoying sitting with my girlfriend and having to end-task the player and restart repeatedly, trying to catch it just a few seconds past the 'glitch' point on the avi/dvd. Things only got worse as much of my data soon produced read errors upon trying to retreive it - even on recently burned discs.
It was time to try something else, so I forked out a bit more for a 50 pack of Memorex, $17.95 at Fry's Electronics. Still a great deal and after burning a bunch of them, I can still say they were great. Alas, that deal passed and they discontinued them and the cheapest replacements were double that cost.
So I was back in the market and looking for Memorex. I decided to do some research and because of the glowing reports and endless praise for Taiyo Yuden, I decided that this was the "Holy Grail" of DVDs and opted to purchase them. But the endless deal-searcher I am, I had to have them as cheap as possible. I scoured high and low, to end up with this jem on eBay called "maryang.com". He had Taiyo Yuden for cheaper than anyone else around. (See http://www.maryang.com/ and the auction page: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=41796&item=5160066826&rd=1) I thought I had found heaven when I struck an even cheaper deal via email with the owner. I ended up with 200 discs for $68 included shipping and tax (it was $45 without). Other places wanted upwards of more than double that. I ordered the discs and I eagerly started burning when they arrived. The second disc produced errors on verify in Nero. I didn't think much, but then I poured through the first 25 discs in one night, over half of them producing verify errors. I checked some of the discs I had burned, and sure enough: read errors. I lost a lot of precious data (each file that contained a read error).
That's when I checked this forum again and found out about "fakes". My discs contained the code "TYG02", which is correct for Taiyo Yuden, but I started to get the hunch that my discs were likely fakes. It's hard to tell with Taiyo Yuden, since they have no brand name on them to begin with, it makes them all the easier to fake. A couple of tip offs included the seller telling me the discs were from Taiwan instead of Japan, the code on the center of the disc was unlike what other sites showed pics of Taiyo Yuden's to look like (they had batch code "8-B11090909"), and notably, they sucked really, really bad.
Of course I had no way to know if these were fakes or not, but decided on my hunch (and because I just could not deal with these discs period - I have to be able to depend on my data and know I can pull out the discs in a few years and the data will still be good) to give Taiyo Yuden another try from a more legitimate source. Supermediastore.com, Rima.com, and MeritLine.com all seemed good and about the same price, around $48 per 100, but I opted for the cheapest shipping price and good return policy at Rima. I got my discs today and started salvaging all the data from the "fake" Taiyo Yuden's I could onto the good ones. I've burned 18 discs so far tonight, and no coasters, no errors, no nothing. It's wonderful! This is only a confirmation that the previous ones were fakes.
The seller of the fakes was kind enough to refund all of my money and even pay for my shipping, and to his benefit, he seemed as though he wasn't aware they were fakes (am I naive?). But this sure was a long ordeal and I'm glad the journey is over!
Again, I hope this helps some newbies out there that probably won't reply to this message, but instead just read it and save themselves a lot of trouble.
This was a really long post, so long story short: get Taiyo Yuden discs from Rima.com or Supermediastore.com and be done with it LOL! Beware of cheap venders selling imitations.
Happy Hunting. Knowledge is Power!
Addendum: The eBay seller is still selling the discs on eBay, but has removed them from his website ironically quickly after my problems with the disc.