Won't read newer pressed DVDs

I’ve been searching and reading the forums here for weeks before registering, trying to figure this out.
I’ve seen quite a few posts asking what appear to be similar/same problem and no responses… So I thought I’d try again…

Rig:
Gateway MT3707 laptop running Vista Home Premium
GSA-T10N LG DVD combo drive

It’s the first laptop I’ve ever owned and the first computer I’ve owned in the last 11 years that I didn’t build myself. It’s worked flawlessly for over a year. I’m tickled pink with it…

Shortly after Netflix started sending out the gray DVDs my laptop stopped reading them. My other computers and my DVD player would.
I can still read older DVDs that I rent as well as burned DVDs that I’ve made on this and my other computers.

When I say it won’t read, I mean the drive will not read it at all. Just spins and spins… can’t get a lock on it…

I have a 2 year extended warranty on it through Best Buy. I called them up and the Geek Squad dude said “uhhhhhh…”. He suggested I try uninstalling and reinstalling the drivers, did that. Reinstalled the IDE controler. Upgraded the firmware on the drive. No settings for the drive have changed.

Geek Squad says bring it in but I have too much work to do to be without it for a week or so while they fiddle fart around with it.
I’ll end up just getting a new one myself and installing it… keep the old one handy if it needs major warranty work…

The drive is bad… I’m sure of that. I’m just asking if anyone has any idea exactly what the problem is… DVD laser slightly out of whack? I don’t know what the tolerances for that are.
But that still wouldn’t explain why it’s just having a problem with the newer DVDs… Are they pressed from a different type of stock? Like -R vs +R?
I haven’t bought a retail DVD in over a year… so I don’t know if it’s just a Netflix thing or industry wide.

Any help/comments would be… interesting…

That is a very odd problem. Normally a drive will either read commercially made dvds or it is completely defective. What software are you using to play the dvds now?

You might try VLC media player. It is self contained and doesn’t rely on outside codecs. Let’s see if the software has anything to do with your problem.

VLC is free to download and use: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/

I use Windows Media Center to play them.
But like I said, the drive isn’t getting a lock on them at all… finding the starting point… whatever you call it… It’ll spin for hours if I let it, just trying to figure out whether it’s got a disk in there or not.

I’ve tried using Media Player and Nero Showtime to play them. Tried opening them with DVD Decryptor, Nero’s disk tools… Yup… every program I have installed that can look at disk contents, I’ve tried it.

I do not think this has much to do with software. If the disc cannot lock, than no software can be selected.
I have never seen gray disc, but it could be the colour which will make laser reflect less light and signal become too week.
If the player will play all other discs I would try to change it, may be for other brand, but it could be week laser also together with colour.

I’ve seen the grey top commercial dvd roms that the OP is talking about, but they are really no different in the way they play on any of my equipment. They are not universally from Netflix by the way. I’ve seen them as rentals from my local Hastings video store.

It is probably just a defective dvd drive, with a marginal quality laser. Unfortunately, I don’t know a great deal about laptop drives and what would be a good replacement.

Hmmm… weak laser…
I think it’s gotta be something to do with the laser.

Occasionally I’ll get one that is recently released but is still printed in full color. Some of those won’t read either.
I don’t know if that means anything…

Could the laser become weak or would it be that way from the factory and just not be an issue until gray printed DVDs came out?

Try cleaning the lens, of the drive, with some 90% isopropyl alcohol and a q-tip,wait a minute or to for it to dry, then try it. use very little alcohol do not flood the lens.

I think I know what you mean by gray now.
I got some rentals from Blockbuster and the new once are not printed any more, but they still look silver, but not so silver, you could say little gray. The last one I got is actually double sided with wide screen on one side and full on the other.
I think it is your drive. I would try [B]Jethro[/B] suggestion to clean the lens first.

[QUOTE=CDuncle;2076212]I think I know what you mean by gray now.
I got some rentals from Blockbuster and the new once are not printed any more, but they still look silver, but not so silver, you could say little gray. The last one I got is actually double sided with wide screen on one side and full on the other.
I think it is your drive. I would try [B]Jethro[/B] suggestion to clean the lens first.[/QUOTE]

Since laptop drives (tray load) expose the lens to the open every time it is opened dust can settle on it easier, once enough gets on it the laser can not focus correctly on some disks. It is a quite common problem.

Thanks for all your replies!

I’ll hose 'er down and see what happens…

jk :wink:

q-tip…

I think an explanation of ‘gray DVDs’ would help here. If it is the color of the ink on the top of the disc, then it should cause no read problems. If it is the read side of the discs that looks different, then maybe it would help to know if these discs are ‘pressed’ like the original post says or are they burned? There is a big difference between pressed (DVD-ROM) discs and burned (DVD recordable discs). What does Netflix send these days anyway?

RM

I think an explanation of ‘gray DVDs’ would help here.

Gray refers to the color of the ink.

There is a big difference between pressed (DVD-ROM) discs and burned (DVD recordable discs). What does Netflix send these days anyway?

RM

Pressed. With gray ink. That’s why I put pressed in the subject line…

Cleaning the laser worked!

thanks for all the help!

It’s good that it works.
Pressed DVD do not use dye, it is most likely the colour of the plastic disc covering the reflective foil.