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Program to increase DVD-R compatibility

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Joined: 05 Sep 2004
Posts: 1
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Sun 5 Sep 2004, 2:03    Post subject: Program to increase DVD-R compatibility Reply with quote

I am new to this forum and have started a new business offering videos in DVD-R format. A local editor mentioned that there is a method available that will increase the compatibility of DVD-R formats in more DV-R player systems.

From what I know, it involves adding some program during the DVD-R creation/authoring process. The program apparently "tricks" more DVD-R players to think it is reading a standard DVD, thus reducing the number of players that will reject the disc due to compatibility. If true, and if easy to do, it sounds like it would expand DVD-R compatibility especially for older players.

Just wondered if anyone might know what this is about and how I can find out more information about it. I would like to ensure the widest possible ability to view my DVD-R products.

Thanks in advance if anyone has any idea what this is any how I can find more details.

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Joined: 04 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Sun 5 Sep 2004, 16:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, that doesn't make any sense. Regular DVD players don't look for anything inside the disc except the media files; they can't execute any programs (apart from the small scripts that make the menus, etc.). There are some players that support more advanced interactive instructions, but they are not standard, and anyway, to execute those programs, they would already have to be able to read the disc.

The biggest compatibility issue has to do with the players' inability to focus the laser correctly on recordable DVDs, since they reflect it slightly differently from industrial discs. There isn't a lot you can do to fix that, except try different brands of discs. Maxell, Pioneer and TDK have the best compatibility and the least recording errors, judging from the tests I've seen.

The second problem is incorrect disc structure. When you play a disc on a DVD drive, the computer doesn't really care which order the files are in; it simply reads the directory table and then moves to the disc sector that has the file it wants to read. Some set-top DVD players aren't quite as smart, and need the files to be in a specific order. Modern DVD recording software should have a specific "DVD Video" mode that will order the files correctly. If your recording software doesn't have this option, you should create an image file (.ISO) in your authoring program and use "burn image" in the recording program.

The third problem is "illegal" files. Some authoring programs have bugs (either real errors or just poor design) that create files that are missing some important data, or have extra data that shouldn't be there. This confuses some set-top players. The only way to solve this is to use a good DVD authoring program.

What the editor was referring to was probably the "book type" (a "tag" written on the disc that tells the player which kind of disc it is - DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-ROM, etc.). Changing the "book type" can fool players into thinking they have a different disc type. This is useful in some situations because some players actively refuse certain disc types although they are capable of reading them (this is usually due to "format wars" - ex., Panasonic was trying to push DVD-R, so they made their early players incompatible with DVD+R). So "faking" the book type can trick some players into reading your discs. It might also confuse other players that do support the disc's real format, but this is unlikely. Setting the book type to "DVD-ROM" will usually make all players try to play the disc (they still won't play it correctly if it's one of the three problems above, though).

However, changing the book type isn't very simple. The book type is determined by the recorder, and can only be changed with software from the recorder's manufacturer or by flashing the recorder's firmware with a modified version. I know some models from Benq, NEC, Ricoh, BTC and LiteOn come with utilities to change the book type. Just search for "book type [your recorder's brand]" on Google and you should be able to find out if your recorder supports it or not. Also, note that this only applies to DVD+R discs. DVD-R discs (which actually have the best compatibility with set-top players) are always set to "DVD-R", and cannot be faked.


Last edited by RMN on Sun 6 Feb 2005, 0:56; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 13 Jan 2005
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sun 16 Jan 2005, 16:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a BenQ burner that has a simple utitility to change the booktype of DVD+R/RW discs. I have tried it, but it didn't help much. As the previous post explained, the set-top DVD player attempted to play the disc because it was faked into believing the DVD+R/RW was a DVD-ROM, but my old set-top player couldn't play it properly anyway. And actually, changing the booktype to DVD-ROM prevented another set-top player from playing a DVD+RW disc that it otherwise could play. So changing the booktype can work in some cases, but could result in unneccessary incompatibility as well.
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