The Real Winning DVD Drive
In my humble opinion, the real DVD recordable drive winner has turned out to be the Panasonic LFD 521 U !!!
The drive can take a double sided DVD Ram 9.4 Gig or a DVD R 4.7 Gig or even a 4.7 Gig DVD RW or CDR/RW!! To me, this is the real versitile and winning combination. It has all of the true "money" formats (DVD R) and the hands down true backup storage winner 9.4 Gig DVD RAM(Double sided) + all of the other DVD RAM sizes. It's also an ultra DMA mode 4 interface !!! Panasonic generally has more respect for both it's business and consumer customers. They do not desert the client once they introduce a new technology like Pioneer did to the early adopters of DVD R for Authoring media drives like the $17,000.00 US DVR S -101 and the $ 5,400.00 DVR S201 !! Panasonic continued to both produce their unusual double sided re-writeable DVD RAM 9.4 Gig disks, even though it was clear from the outset of the introduction of DVD RAM technology it was not catching on. I think Panasonic showed superior marketing wisdom by bundling DVDR/RW capability in with their not so popular DVD RAM solution on their new recordable drive, thus giving new life and flexibility to their not so popular format. No one was left out in the cold and in my market their drive is cheaper than the Pioneer A05 !
I respectively disagree. It's a comparatively slow burner, and unless you are doing data back up, the RAM option for video purposes is extraordinarily restrictive. I have yet to find a dvd-ram capable set top player in my area. Here is a review from CNET regarding this particular drive:
Here is an article looking at the future of recordable media/drives, and what all but one industry leader (except Phillips) is backing:
I have several Pioneer burners, and they have all worked flawlessly. My most recent (AO5) is 'lightning' fast compared to the original burners. I can output nearly 4 discs an hour on a single burner.
Perhaps you might want to re-read my original post ? I was not heralding the wonders of DVD RAM in regard to actual burning speed or compatibility so much as I was giving kudos to Panasonic for............
A) Not abandoning their early adopters of DVD RAM Technology when newer technologies became available.
B) Including DVD media write capabilitiy which does allow for standard playback and distribution on any table top or DVD ROM computer drive (I'm referring to it's DVD R write capability).
In regards to the issue you raise concerning "write speed," I understood the LFD 521 U/E writes DVD R and DVD RW at the same fast speed as the Pioneer AO5. The Panasonic is more affordable than the Pioneer A05 as well. There is a price difference of over $75.00 in my market. I take no issue with the quality and performance of Pioneer Recordable DVD products. After all, I own a Pioneer S201 myself and it is an excellent product. However, the price and availability of the Recordable DVD R Authoring media is NOT NICE AT ALL!!!!
I'm using the Panasonic DMR E30 table top recorder and I have conducted visual tests with discs made from the Pioneer PVR 9000 and the Panasonic DMR E30 and in both the two hour DVD video mode as well as in the 1 hour XP DVD video mode, both the picture and audio quality is significantly better with the Panasonic product ! It should also be noted that the Panasonic product uses "Variable Bit Rate" encoding to convert the NTSC video signal to MPEG 2 in the DVD video recording mode instead of Pioneer's choice to employ "constant bit rate" encoding in the same mode. Again, as with the A05, the Pioneer PVR 9000 retails for more money ($1,500.00 more than the Panasonic product in my market !)
I will follow your links and check out the review on the LFD 521 U you refered to. Concerning the restrictions of using DVD RAM as a source of DVD video authoring and testing I cannot see any limitations ? Are you referring to the speed of writing to DVD RAM only ? In my personal experience, I have found Pioneer has little or no respect for its business customers. I use my equipment to serve the public's demand for DVD authoring services and I must turn a profit. I have not been able to accomplish this goal using the Pioneer Authoring DVD Recordable drive. I would consider "profitability" not to be an issue when using the A05.
"The LF-D521U writes DVD-R at 2X, DVD-RW at 1X, and DVD-RAM at 2X; those are fairly slow speeds for DVD-R and DVD-RW, especially compared to those of the Sony DRU-500A and the Pioneer DVR-A05. This Panasonic burns CD-Rs at 16X and CD-RWs at 8X, and it reads CD-ROMs at 32X--not state-of-the-art CD performance but fast enough for the average user. Please note, however, that the 2X DVD-RAM rating is a bit misleading. Because DVD-RAM technology features a read-after-write verification cycle to ensure data integrity for mission-critical applications such as backup and archiving, it effectively halves the DVD-RAM write speed. This will not affect DVD-R and DVD-RW performance."
This is an excerpt from the link I posted. Unless I have the incorrect burner, the DVD-R/RW write speeds are no better than the older Pioneer models. The AO5 is significantly faster, and I personally find the media very inexpensive. The $75 differential(in my mind) is worth the extra speed.
I personally see very little use for DVD-RAM for video use (and DVD-RW discs as well). It's unlikely that it will ever be a format that generates much steam for mass distribution since very few set top players (or computer systems without a RAM drive for that matter) can actually play the discs. Over the last 2 years I have distributed 100's of discs, and I can't remember a single set top player that would have accepted a RAM type disc. I easily paid for my 3 dvd burners in almost no time at all.
I used to do proofing of my discs on DVD-RW's if I had a question (which might be a role for DVD-RAM because you can re-use both types) before burning a final project. I no longer do this because I can do software emulation of my project directly off of my hard drive with Cineplayer. Burning a 'trial' rewriteable disc is time consuming, and Cineplayer easily takes the place of this step without adding additional time.
As far as stand alone recorders are concerned, I really have no opinion since I have never used either product. I think it's a bit like comparing apples and oranges however.
I purchased one of the first volley's of the Pioneer AO3, and have never felt that Pioneer 'abandoned' me. The S201 really is a different product, and at the time it first came out was a far cheaper alternative to a disc replicator. One doesn't have to go too far back in history to see what has happened to CD-writers. They were thousands of dollars when they first came out, and now they are almost a 'freebie' add-on. I do a lot of digital photography, and it was not too long ago that a <4megapixel Kodak professional camera cost nearly $30,000. Kodak just came out with their 14 megapixel camera that will list under 5 grand. If you're going to live on the cutting edge, you are also going to have to pay for being the 'first on the block'.
I understood the LFD 521U writing speeds to be different from the ones you posted ? The write speed for DVD R is supposed to be 4X and DVD RW is supposed to be 2X ? I will, of course, double check this information with manufacturor Panasonic. Perhaps my information is in error ?
As for DVD RAM, indeed this media is not playable on anything but table top Panasonic DVD Players/Recorders and a few compter DVD ROM drives.
I must agree to disagree with you concerning your views about the Pioneer company, however. During the heydays of the Pioneer S101 and S201, which was only two years ago in our market, we were deserted by the company in several ways.(Two years is not sufficiently or reasonably long enough to consider a "spent" product cycle for such a product in my opinion !)At that time, it was never a question of wanting to be on the "bleeding edge," as you put it, rather, it was to respond to the increasing demand from our customers to provide quality DVD authoring services and at the time there was no other alternative.
This situation does not paralell CDR, as you have suggested, because CDR development was never abandoned. In fact CDR was improved greatly and re-writeable CD RW was added to this specification as well as improvements to the CD writeable media. The improvements to CDR resulted in increasingly lower prices along with the curve of increased market popularity.
In the case of the DVD R format, we were convinced to purchase the Pioneer S201 on the grounds of a promise that......
A) The DVD R media would soon add Rewriteable media for use with the S201 drive.
B) The S201 already had rewriteable capability, it just needed a firm upgrade to the electronics which would soon be put on the Pioneer web site.
We were assured by Pioneer these changes would be made very soon. Of course thousands of dollars later, the changes never came. Almost immediately after our purchase Pioneer introduced the A03 and a whole new DVD recordable format called DVD R for General recording. It was at this point that Pioneer suddenly began to call the S201 recordable media "DVD R for Authoring." It should be noted that it was never referred to by this name before the introduction of the A03. In my city there were nearly 10 small to large size companies who had either purchased the $17,000.00 US S101 or the $5,400.00 US S201.
The introduction of the A03 severely undermined these companies investments, markets and actually encouraged the three suppliers of recordable media in the city to either discontinue what now became known as DVD R (A) media or icrease the cost of the media and insist on some pretty damn unreasonable quotas per order !
When I sought assistance from Pioneer, they brushed me off and gave me the cold shoulder and not only me, but the other companies in my city described simular experiences ! If you are a large company, you can afford to simply discard such a product and walk away from such an investment. If you are a small company like me, then such experiences really impact your bottom line.
I seriously must question the ethics of any company which would so quickly abandon business clientele who invested so much money in their products ? I can only recommend Pioneer based on the quality of their products, but certainly not on the basis of their willingness to respect their customers. You watch, any day now there will be an announcement that there will no longer be any DVD R for authoring media manufactured. Any day now ! You watch !
Trust me, I can truly understand your frustration with the price you paid to be one of the first to venture into recordable dvd's. I have had a similar experience(if not an even greater monetary sink hole) in the digital photography arena. The S201 is still a different burner than the a03/a04/a05. The authoring media still is much more compatible on a wider range of set top players. I don't think Pioneer could have envisioned that replicating facilities would have started adopting the acceptance of DVD-R's for disc replication, when in the past they would only accept DLT or discs from a high end burner like the one you own. Pioneer has to compete with the rest of the world as well, and other companies drove the market in a different direction (ie cheaper +R/RW drives were on the horizon when the AO3 was brought to market) from the authoring type media/lasers. I bought my first AO3 almost 2 years ago (the S201 was out long before that I might add) for 4x what I just paid for my AO5. I hope you don't end up on the short stick of dying technology, but I still see a lot of authoring media at places like Supermediastore.com and Meritline.com. In fact, the new 2.0 discs are being pushed. I suspect in the next 4-5 years we'll all fall victim to the blu-ray technology, and all of my burners will be obsolete. In the meantime I'm personally willing to bank on recordable dvd-r's, and the Pioneer AO5 is currently hard to beat.
I think I used the term cutting edge, and not bleeding edge. None of my posts are meant to be taken personally--it's just an observation of the 'cost' of using technologies that few non-professionals or prosumers can afford or have access to. DVD's started out as a wonderful technology that only Hollywood could provide, to where now people are putting their own home movies onto dvd's. Your S201` is still a superior burner, and if you are doing professional work, the cost of the disc is nominal with the advantage of having nearly universal acceptance on set top players.
The next round of people/professionals to be hacked off are those that paid a premium for mpeg encoders and authoring applications like Scenarist. My bet is that $25,000 authoring applications like that are going to compete with newer ones that offer nearly the same (if not all) features at a fraction of the cost. In fact, Sonic just came out with 'Scenarist Studio' (under $8000)--which suggests to me others (please Adobe) will be competing heavily in the not too distant future.
FYI, here is a PC World review of the LF-D521 link to from the
It's 2X for DVD-R.
First, let me say I take no personal offense from your posts. I actually commend Pioneer for creating the DVD Authoring format. There are several reasons why I think Pioneer should continue to not only support the "Authoring" format, but also "push" the media.
1. Contrary to poular perception, the "Authoring" format plays in more table top and DVD ROM players because it employes a 635 nw lazer beam pit burn as opposed to the "General" format's 650nw lazer, thus the pit size and "resolution" is superior to general DVD burning.
2. The DVD R for "authoring" format media is capable of holding a full 4.7 Gigabyte capacity as opposed to the "General" media only holding an actual 4.11 Gigabytes of useable data. If you have noticed the differences in the burning patterns on an authoring disk and a general one, then you will see the authoring disk burns on the innermost diameter and the general does not.
Actually, I know the S201 burner became available sometime in early 1999. I first saw the A03 become available in early 2001.
The S101 3.95 Gigabyte burner became available in late 1997. According to all test data I have seen, burning 3.95 gigabyte media in the S201 drive yields a DVD disc which will play on almost any table top DVD player, regardless of vintage and any DVD ROM computer drive as well. If I can solve the problem of finding a reasonable supplier of the authoring media in my market, then I hope to continue to use the my S201 for high end DVD projects. Right now the table top DVD R General recorder is making me money and profit, but not the S201, unfortunately.
As far as replication facilities accepting the DVD R discs as sources for stamping masters, this never materialized in my market. The replication facility here wants DLT tape only. The so called "CMF - Cutting Master Format" did not seem to be adopted by many replicators that I know of ? This is too bad, because I think it was a promising concept. DLT tapes are pricey and they usually don't come back from the facility ! I'm more in favor of taking the mass "duplication" route than the mass "replication" one if you require 5,000 units or less at a time. It's cheaper to run A05's or table top players into the ground and purchase mass spindles of DVD R "General" media than to go any other way. Unless, of course, you require 10,000 plus units. The robotic burner - printer units are now cheap enough to go that way anyway. My Authoring burner came bundled with Prassi, which can controll up to 14? burners at once.
O.K. I checked out your link. That was not much of a review, but they do indicate 2X on the DVDR and 1X on the DVD RW. I wonder if this info is accurate ? I will check with Panasonic to confirm. If this is accurate info on the speed, then perhaps Panasonic might consider a firmware upgrade to increase spindle speed for the faster 4X compatible DVD R media ? This would definitely indicate Pioneer has everyone beat for recording speed. Speed is important when you must mass duplicate.
That page is the one Panasonic links to from their site as follows-
The point is it lists the speed as 2X for DVD-R
I can't agree more. The S201 is a superior burner, and I'm not entirely sure why it didn't get pushed more. I think at least part of the reason was Pioneer's attempt to appease the movie industry as they first introduced this technology to avoid delays. As you correctly noted, the non-authoring burners can't write to part of the disc. This was to prevent (at least casual) copying of movies. The S201 and S101 can, and non-dual layer movies can be copied with these burners without additional software (like 321 studios'). That's why (in part) the media for authoring is so expensive. Even if this format (authoring) 'caught on' and larger volumes of discs were being sold, we would still pay more per disc than we do now. The CD burning industry avoided all of that because they (CD media) could be used legitimately for computer purposes only. In the US we avoid tariffs because of this distinction. In Canada they have/or will be adopting soon tariffs for all recordable media. I'm not sure if the pricing on authoring media is jacked up voluntarily or if it is imposed for these copyrighting issues. When a burner costs nearly $4-$5K and media in the $15-$20 range, Hollywood doesn't have to worry about piracy or casual copying.
Prassi (IMO) is the best burning application out there, especially for multiple burns. The PxEngine was updated for the AO5, but I'm a bit concerned as to where it will go after that since Sonic bought out Veritas. I think it can actually aupport up to 16 simultaneous burners (never have tried it so I don't know for sure). I have 3 that I use simultaneously, and it works great. With 2x media in my older burners and 4x in my AO5, I can pump out 6-8 discs an hour if I have to.
This is correct. The new Panasonic drive has a 2x DVD-R write speed. DVD-RAM is very cool technology - especially for data. It's a shame that it has to be implemented in a multi-drive that is a full generation behind. Now if we could get a drive with 4x DVD-R, 2X +RW and DVD-RAM it would be a really amazing product!
The Electronic Mailbox 800 323-2325
We Are The Desk Top Video Editing & Production Experts
All DTV purchases come with our exclusive 30 day customer assurance program and FREE Tech Support
Yes. I agree with you. This Panasonic DVD drive needs to be writing DVDR at 4X. Perhaps a firmware upgrade to improve burn speed could be released very soon ? Even so, DVD R write once speed aside, this is a darn good solution for those of us who like and use DVD RAM. I am experimenting with the idea of using my Panasonic table top DVD recorder to encode all the MPEG 2 and audio assets in real time to an eraseable DVD RAM, then put the recorded DVD image into the LFD 521 U, rip the RAM disc with Heuris DVD Xtractor software, import those assets into My DVD or Ulead DVD movie factory authoring package and create elaborate splash screens and fancy buttons for my higher end customers who want more than just a quick and simple one off DVD. Quicker and simpler solutions are always a plus.
I use my E30 in much the same way. Record real time to the E30 in FR mode to get the maximum quality and AC3 audio, transfer the DVD-RAM disk to my cheap LG DVD-ROM, copy VOR files to HD, change file extension to mpg, author with Ulead Workshop LE ( with AC3 playback enabled, and checked to not re-encode valid files) and burn with my AO4 burner to DVD-R. That way I get high quality MPEG encoding and AC3 audio.
Way to go buddy !! Now that's thinking. That's original. That's creative and that's effective.
I took a trip down memory lane and re-visited some of the older, but informative posts. In Feb 03, Gary had a request for
"Now if we could get a drive with 4x DVD-R, 2X +RW and DVD-RAM it would be a really amazing product!"
I just picked up Gary's requested device: A Panasonic burner (LF-M721JD) that burns: RAM x5, -R x8, -RW x4, +R x8, +RW x4, CDR x24, CDRW x16 and reads DVD-ROM at x12 and CD-ROM at x32...
Only to visit the videoguys web page to find out that the new Pioneer does dual layer. But then the pioneer doesn't do DVD-RAM. Wait, maybe if you can do dual layer, you don't need DVD-RAM. I'd better run out and stock up on blank DVD-RAM media now before they stop producing them.
Now all I need is for someone to come out with an inexpesnive consumer level realtime board so that I can record DVDs without waiting for transcoding. Completing NLE without rendering would be great too. The excellent Matrox solution exceeds my meager budget, and the ADS Tech DVD +DV doesn't let me transcode realtime:
I would like to edit in .avi and then output either back to the camera, out to videotape or burn to DVD all in realtime. I figure it should only be a matter of time...
Looking for Engineers with DVD Authoring experience. Please contact if you are aware of anyone that might have this capability.
Today, 10-18-06, is there any good software for using DVD RAM disks on a DVD burner of today? I have both an LG and a Mad Dog DVD disk drive. Neither of these drives using the accompanying software, Nero or Roxio is workable. Is there any software out there that I can use or is there another DVD drive I need to buy? Sony? Panasonic? Others?
Thanks, Frank C.