Verification of copy-protected pre-recorded DVDs?

What is the fastest reliable way to verify a commercial DVD? I just bought Leave It to Beaver Season 1, found one episode would not play on either my Pioneer stand-alone DVD recorder or my computer’s BenQ DVD-RW drive with Nero ShowTime, even after cleaning the disc and checking for visible flaws, and was lucky enough to still be within the 30 day return period, so have had it replaced. How do I check the replacement, without spending about 20 hours watching all 39 half-hour episodes plus the pilot?

This is a real issue with TV series. Perry Mason Season 1 will take nearly 40 hours to watch. I’m sure that I speak for most people on the planet when I say that I’m not interested in being forced to watch everything on every DVD set I buy within 30 days (some places locally have 14 day return policies!). I like variety and it could be a year or two before I’ve watched every episode of a full 39 episode season of a TV show.

I’ve spent a lot of time googling this question, as well as trying a couple of software packages (Nero CD-DVD Speed’s Scan Disc feature, and EMSA DiscCheck). And, of course, doing the first half of a copy (or backup) of each disc – both my Pioneer stand-alone recorder, and Nero’s OEM software, refuse to even start the read for a copy of copy-protected DVDs.

I’m stumped.

What was wrong with CD-DVD Speed ‘Scan Disc’ feature? Did that not provide a readability test?

Thanks for the rapid response. At first, I thought Nero’s Scan Disc feature was giving me the real goods, but then I tried it on the “It Happened One Night” movie DVD that I’ve seen and know plays flawlessly. It told me that almost every block on the DVD was bad. I got similar results on other “known to be perfect” copy-protected commercial DVDs.

From my googling on the subject of copy protection used on commercial movie DVDs, it said that blocks are purposely “made bad” at the factory, but the Play algorithm used by DVD players (and Nero ShowTime) reads some info on the disc that tells it where the bad blocks are that it should skip over.

It seems you have 2 dif probs.
First, you scan the disc and you find the results that are not good. This scan looks for technical info on burning quality and your DVDs are “pressed” stuff, and I wander if this is as reliable as a normal scan to a burned disc.
And the detected “problems” may not produce any reading issues if they are within your player error correction procedures and circuits - and this practical side may be more important to you than the techye info.
Obviously - if you get a miserable scan of a burned DVD it may be prone to cause you reading problems with certain drives or players.

Second - you say your players don’t read your “backup” - this may be related to copy protection issues rather than the source DVD quality/conditions.

As your DVD may provide you a menu to choose parts from, if you make a kind of ramdom reading may be enough for you to check the disc - if you “start” playing the disc and it goes to menu, try part of videos 1, 10, 14, 20, 16, 24, 30, 40, 7, 33, 28, 38 (just examples of the ones you can check) and the disc has no scratches, it should give you a good idea about its condition.

Sorry about the confusion about “backup”. What I was trying to say was that, as well as trying my DVD recorder’s Copy function, I also tried its Backup function, but both refused to read the commercial movies/TV shows, because they were copy-protected.

I appreciate your suggestions, but I really am looking for a way to know for sure that the entire (set of) commercial disc(s) is 100% readable.

Since writing this, I thought of using the visual scan feature of DVD players where you can push a button repeatedly and watch the DVD at 2x 4x then 8x real-time. But a friend at work thought that it may only sample occasional frames and you could miss as much as several seconds of bad video and/or other weird effects that might not be obvious in the high speed scan. I also think I’d go nuts staring at speeded up video for several hours (e.g. - 40 hours of Perry Mason Season 1 would still take 5 hours to watch).

His suggestion was to use “copy-protection-cracking” software in a completely legal manner: just use it to read the commercial DVDs, but never actually write the copy anywhere. So far, that sounds like the best suggestion.

But, I really would like to know if there is any software out there to do a high speed 100% read verify of copy-protected commercial DVDs. It would seem like such a simple addition to products like Nero ShowTime.

Copyright laws can be quite tricky.
I don’t know how it works in Canada but in some places you can backup your movies and the very same thing can be prevented by law in another country.
Some countries have rather strange regulations - they don’t prevent you from making a personal copy but will prossecute you for “breaking any copy protection device or piece of software” used to protect the original.
Some countries allow fair use, so better you’re aware of your local rules.
I don’t know about such a software, but the final reading exercise will depend on the error correction circuits and firmware of the player, so the findings by your PC drive/scaning software would not guaranty that your Pioneer stand-alone would be able to read the same disc.

I just received the following support response from Nero:
“Unfortunately, Nero AG does not offer a tool that is able to perform the requested operations.”