|My DVD-Video player/DVD-ROM drive is indicated on the compatibility list as compatible, but I can't play DVD+RW or DVD+R discs on it. Why is that?|
Sometimes this question is being asked to me by people who were unsuccesful in their attempts to play a DVD+RW or DVD+R disc on their equipment, even though it was listed as compatible. Usually, these results are due to one of the issues that are covered on this page, and in most cases the problems can be resolved. The most frequently made mistakes or reasons for compatibility are listed first, followed by some general statements with regard to the compatibility list.
1. The disc does not contain enough data to be recognized by the player
If you fail to read a disc that contains just a few minutes of video on a particular DVD-Video player, try to fill up the disc with some more video. Most DVD-Video players need a disc to contain a certain amount of video to allow laser power calibration to function correctly, as they try to read the disc at various locations when it is loaded. This is not possible when there has never been any data written to these locations of the disc (the disc has never undergone a process called "de-icing"). We suggest you to fill the disc to at least half of its capacity, however, some tests of us have indicated that the "break point" is often reached when the disc is filled for about 1/12th of its capacity, i.e contains at least 5 minutes recorded in HQ mode, 10 minutes SP, 15 minutes LP or 20 minutes EP mode. You may even erase the dummy video that you recorded but don't want to be part of your recording afterwards, since the disc just needs to be "de-iced" once. Some DVD authoring tools on the PC offer a feature called "enhanced compatibility" or "30 milimeter compatibility" which fills up a disc with dummy data if it does not contain enough data.
2. Incompatible DVD-Video authoring on a PC
One of the most common playback problems for people who own a DVD+RW drive in their PC, is due to the fact that it was incorrectly authored. Some people falsly assume that creating a DVD-Video filesystem on a DVD+RW disc will result in the creation of a DVD-Video compatible disc. This is not true! While the recorded disc might play correctly on a PC using a software DVD player, it might not work in a stand-alone DVD-Video player. The format and filesystem that needs to be used on a DVD-Video disc is exactly specified in the DVD-Video standard, a general DVD writing application will not always take care of enabling the settings needed for the creation of a DVD-Video disc. One of the tools that is known to cause many problems is Nero Burning ROM. You should use a dedicated DVD-Video authoring program like Sonic's MyDVD, or make sure that you use a general DVD writing tool which creates DVD-Video discs that fully conform to the DVD-Video specification.
3. DVD+R disc unfinalized
Please make sure that, when you use a DVD+R/+RW video recorder, you need to finalize your DVD+R discs before they can be played on a DVD player. Contrary to DVD+RW discs, which do not need finalization and are always immediately DVD compatible when taken out of the recorder, a DVD+R disc can only be played on the recorder itself unless it is finalized. Refer to your recorder's manual on how to apply this procedure. Usually, finaliztion of DVD+R discs is automatically taken care of by your recording application when your use a computer, although you might want to check whether there is some checkbox or option you need to tick in order for the finalization to be applied.
4. Media quality
As with CD-R and CD-RW, there are different manufacturers of DVD+RW and DVD+R discs, each with their own quality levels and tolerance standards. Some brands might work better on certain players than others. You might want to check compatibility of a certain DVD-Video player or DVD-ROM drive with a different type of DVD+RW or DVD+R media.
5. Incorrect setting of compatibility bits
Some DVD players fail to read a DVD+R or DVD+RW disc when the "compatibility bits" at the lead-in section of a disc do not contain the value for DVD-ROM. Thankfully, there are ways to change these bitsettings using both a DVD+RW PC drive and a DVD+RW video recorder, which is explained in full detail in the article about bitsettings on this site. Players that are known to only read DVD+RW discs that need this procedure are marked in the compatibilitylist with (cs). However, it might be worth a try to apply this procedure to a disc when you have a player that is not listed as (cs), but you have troubles reading a disc. If you encounter reading problems with DVD+R discs, make sure that you apply DVD-ROM bitsettings on your DVD+R discs as well (Philips DVD video recorders, and some PC DVD+R drives such as the ones from HP will do this automatically - for others refer to the mentioned article).
6. Obsolete firmware version
Any DVD-Video player or DVD-ROM drive should be physically able to read a DVD+RW or DVD+R disc, as the specifications for these types of discs fully meet the DVD-ROM margins. All incompatibility problems are due to software and/or firmware implementations. Most manufacturer's of DVD-ROM drives that cause problems when reading DVD+RW or DVD+R media have released a firmware fix to solve this issue. Usually, a firmware fix to read DVD-R and/or DVD-RW discs will also enable this drive to read DVD+RW and/or DVD+R media. Some manufacturer's of DVD-Video players also offer firmware updates for their players, although those are much rarer. It might be a good idea to search for a firmware update for your drive, if it's listed as compatible but you are experiencing read problems. Check for the latest firmware on the drive manufacturer's website, or this unofficial firmware web site.
Some general notes on the compatibility list
We hope that you will understand that these lists are based on input from various sources, but mainly from users of this site that reported correct playability of DVD+RW or DVD+R discs on their players. We assume that these users did indeed test compatibility on their equipment, and that they did sucessfully play video from a DVD+RW or DVD+R disc. However, as you can understand, we have no possibility of checking this.
Change of design by player/drive manufacturer
It is known that manufacturers of DVD-Video players and DVD-ROM drives change the internals of their devices from time to time, without actually changing the type number indication. This is for example the case when the manufacturer switches to a different supplier of DVD read units, but when the actual "features" or "specifications" of the device do not change. Since such a "small" change does not mean a change in operation or functionality to the avarage customer, they do not mention it, but it might be the reason that some production runs of this device work better with DVD+RW media than others. Again, there is no (easy) way for us to identify this.