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DVD Media & Burners - General vs. Authoring types

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lamar302DVD Media & Burners - General vs. Authoring types
by on Oct 11, 2002 at 6:01:06 pm

I keep hearing about "General" DVD media and "Authoring" DVD media. I also understand there are "General" and "Authoring" DVD burners. Currently I have a Pioneer A04 and use general media. I'm trying to understand what I've got and it's limitations. Can someone brief me on the differences and when to use one vs. the other?

Thanks in advance....

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Ralph LaBargeRe: DVD Media & Burners - General vs. Authoring types
by on Oct 11, 2002 at 7:38:46 pm

There are currently six different types of recordable DVD products on the market. These include DVD-R For Authoring, DVD-R for General, DVD-RW, DVD+RW DVD-RAM and DVD+R. Each of these recordable DVD technologies has their own unique strengths and weaknesses.

DVD-R for Authoring, DVD-R For General, and DVD+R all use organic dyes that are sensitive to an infrared laser. DVD-R for General and DVD+R discs are recorded using a 650 nm laser, while DVD-R for Authoring discs are recorded using a 635 nm laser. When the organic dye is exposed to a low power infrared laser it is permanently changed, and the data is “recorded” onto the disc.

DVD-RW, DVD+RW and DVD-RAM use phase change materials. There are two different power levels used for writing and erasing data on a phase change disc. The highest power level causes the surface of the material to become less reflective, while a lower power level causes the material to become more reflective. Phase change based recordable DVD media can be rewritten more than 1,000 times, while the organic dye material used in DVD-R and DVD+R media can only be written once.

In general the "most" compatible recordable DVD media type is the 3.95 GB capacity DVD-R for Authoring media. This media can only be burned with a Pioneer DVR-S101 or DVR-S201 drive. 3.95 GB DVD-R for Authoring media achieved an overall compatibility of 96% in the extensive compatibility testing I did for DV Magazine, and some brands were actually 100% compatible on the 70 consumer players we used for testing.

Most people do not have DVD-R for Authoring drives as these are at least two years old, and were pretty expensive ($5,000). Your Pioneer DVR-A04 drive can write to DVD-R for General and DVD-RW media. Compatibility of DVD-R for General media is very dependent on the brand of media you use. In our DV Magazine tests we found that Maxell DVD-R for General media worked in almost 80% of the players we tested, while media from CD-Recordable.com (now out of business) worked on less than 50% of the players we tested.

For a more detailed explanation of the potential problems you can encounter with recordable DVD I suggest you take a look at the entire article which was published in the July 2002 issue of DV Magazine, and is currently available on-line at http://www.dv.com in the "features" section.

Ralph LaBarge
Author, "DVD Authoring & Production"

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lamar302Re: DVD Media & Burners - General vs. Authoring types
by on Oct 11, 2002 at 8:35:21 pm

Thanks Ralph. Sounds like the most significant distinction is one of compatability. I subscribe to DV Mag and recall reading the article. I'll locate it and re-read.

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