DVD Recorders


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DVD recorders have gotten cheap. Is it the right time for you to buy?

A few cautionary notes:

They’re Going To Get Faster Fairly Soon

Right now, the affordable DVD recorders allow you to record DVD+R or DVD-R disks at 4X speed. That means you could record 4.7Gb of data using either format in about fifteen minutes.

The next generation of recorders coming out now allow you to record DVD+R at 8X speed (DVD-R remains at 4X). That means the time for a DVD+R recording would drop to around eight and a half minutes.

No, 8X is not twice as fast as 4X, just like a CD recorder 48X is not twice as fast as a 24X. An 8X recorder is called an 8X recorder because it will get up to 8X while recording, but it starts at a lower speed.

Pioneer announced the other day that its next recorder should be able to record both DVD+R and DVD-R media at 8X speed (the 8X DVD-R standard hasn’t been quite set yet).

As 2004 progresses, 12X DVD+R recorders ought to become available. Phillips recently demonstrated a proof-of-concept 16X DVD+R recording.

By the way, a CD recorder 1X and a DVD recorder 1X are not at all the same thing. For CDs, 1X equals 150Kb/sec, while for a DVD, it equal 1.35Mb/sec. Thus, a DVD “X” is worth about 9 CD “Xs”. That means an 8X DVD recorder would record DVDs at a speed equivalent to a 72X CD-ROM, so it’s not like you can expect a 52X DVD recorder real soon.

Going from 4X to 8X will be the last jump that will save users an appreciable amount of time per recording. An 8X recorder could save you about six minutes over a 4X recorder, while a 12X recorder might save you more like two.

It seems that if you want to get relatively fast recording times from a recorder fairly soon, one ought to wait for 8X recorders.

Still An Adventure…

this review, some of the DVD players used simply would not play most (but not all) of the DVD+R disks it was given.

If you read a bit more about the problem, you find out about interesting new phenomenon like “book type” and you find out that burners often call your DVD+R a +RW; the DVD player won’t play +RWs, and the drive manufacturer has no plans to fix it.

Firmware upgrades occur quite often, mostly to get things to work.

Some of it is no doubt due to the disks out there. Most of the disks being sold (and especially the cheap ones), are being manufactured by the same Taiwanese CD manufacturers who became so notorious during the CD era. For instance, many pioneers have reported that disks made by one of these companies record fine, but won’t play back six months later

More often, pioneers have reported varying levels of quality within a bundle, for instance, the top ones do fine at 4X, but the bottom ones only do 2X.

Even who is making what can be very confusing, as this one forum thread illustrates.

Before you buy a recorder and media, you ought to spend more than a little time at this website, looking at the various guides, user reviews (don’t look at just the numbers, read them) and forums.

The point of all this is not to say it can’t be done. The point to all this is to say that you’re going to need to be pretty motivated and do a lot of reading before being able to do this right.

Either that, or your sister is getting married, and you want a lot of neat coasters (at around $1 a pop) for the reception.

Back To The Drawing Board, Twice

Unlike CD-ROMS, which have stayed pretty much the same insofar as capacity, DVDs are going to change.

Initially, DVDs were recorded on a single layer (that’s called DVD-5). Now, they’re often recorded on two layers (that’s DVD-9). Current DVD recorders can read two layers, but only record one layer, so if you want to “backup” a dual-layer DVD, you have to either:

  • Record on two DVDs.
  • Rip out the parts you don’t want and hope you can fit in on one DVD.
  • Rip out the parts you don’t want, and compress the video files to the point where it will all fit on one DVD.

    All of these entail problems.

    Are there plans to make dual-layer recorders? Yes, there are. Expect to see the first ones about a year from now.

    Just around the time when they’ll start to be obsoleted.

    You see, the DVD standard itself is going to change to.

    Sooner or later, DVDs will have to jump to a much higher capacity due to a new standard: HD-DVD. This is simply DVD recorded to HDTV standards. Current DVDs simply can’t hold an entire movie in HD-DVD format; they can only handle about 25 minutes’ worth of video.

    How soon will this happen? Hard to say. There are already three incompatible competing standards being waved around at the moment (one of which isn’t recordable at all). You can read a bit about the fighting going on about the two recordable standards here (if you’d like a far more technical discussion, go here and scroll down a bit.

    Backward compatibility is at least somewhat questionable (especially for self-recorded disks). For instance, one of the competing standards (Blu-Ray) provides no backward compatibility with recordable DVDs (they would play back prerecorded ones).

    Blu-ray recorders exist today (though at astronomical prices). You might see a semi-affordable one as early as a year from now. Mainstream pricing probably would be two to three years from now. We just don’t know who will win, and what will be compatible with what yet.

    The Love That Dares Not Speak Its Name…

    Here’s an example (though this deals with music from the band Korn, not movies):

    But, of course, the question of how many fans will buy instead of burn “Mirror” bears consideration.

    Korn’s last four albums debuted in the top-3 of The Billboard 200. “Life Is Peachy” arrived at No. 3 and has sold 1.8 million units in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. “Follow the Leader” and “Issues” debuted at No. 1 and scanned 3.6 million and 3.2 million, respectively. “Untouchables” debuted at No. 2 and has moved 1.4 million units. Debut album “Korn” has sold 2.1 million.

    Vocalist Jonathan Davis and Fieldy believe the sales for “Untouchables” were hurt when the album was leaked to the Internet four months prior to its release.

    The band had freely passed material around while recording and made copies for friends. This time, “nobody got a copy, no one,” Fieldy says. “As soon as we were done listening to the CD, we destroyed it. We didn’t go online with it. I think that’s how [the leak] happened the last time.” Recording at Davis’ home studio also provided a more secure environment.

    It will be interesting to see how well this works for Korn. Similiar moves are being made by the movie industry.

    Second, odds are that by sometime next year, this sort of theft will be a felony. Bipartison legislation is being introduced today.

    “The Artists Rights and Theft Prevention Act,” (emphasis for those of you who don’t consider this stealing) which would make it a felony (more than one year in prison) to “share” any pre-release entertainment online.

    The actual text of the act isn’t available yet, but we’ll go over it and talk about it in the next P2P review.

    Should this pass (and the article indicates that even consumer groups don’t have a problem with it), we’re talking about jail time. It will be a lot easier to round up a large proportion of those offering such pre-release material than what the RIAA is currently doing.

    If you have an ounce of brains in your head, don’t do this when or if this bill comes close to passage. It will be a lot easier to round up a large proportion of those offering such pre-release material than what the RIAA is currently doing (whether law enforcement agencies will actually go looking hot and heavy is another matter; if they get lots of money with which to do so, they probably will, if not, any efforts will be token, which is fine except if you’re the token).

    If you have at least a few ounces in your head, we’ll keep a close eye on this bill, not only because of its potential impact, but because it will likely be the first opportunity for the average Congressperson to weigh in on this general issue.

    For the “copy somebody else’s DVD”, it will be a powerful argument for some form of DRM in the near few years, likely tied into the development of HD-DVD (new protection standards are being devised for that), backed up by governmental criminal penalties.

  • Loading new replies...

    cursor

    Member

    984 messages 0 likes


    1) Do you currently own a DVD Recorder if so is it DVD-R, DVD+R or another format ?
    2) Are you happy with your current DVD Recorder ?
    3) Are you currently considering buying a DVD Recorder ?
    4) Does the information contained in this article change your thoughts on the buying a DVD Recorder... if so why

    1) no

    2) n/a

    3) Yes, I am. In fact I'm stoked about the prices that are supposedly going to be offered on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving). One of the office stores is reported to be selling a Lite on dual format 4x for $90 after rebate, and Best Buy is supposedly going to have a deal where it's $80 after rebate (this one may involve a gift card though).

    4) Not particularly. I'm more likely to buy towards the end of a product cycle than the beginning. So if I were to wait for 8x burners to get to a price point, I'd be waiting a really long time. The compatibility of discs is an issue, but the main thing for me is to get my data backed up. I'm willing to take the risk that I'll have trouble with that.

    The main thing is that I've been intrigued by these for a long time, and saving a few minutes on a burn is gravy to me. I just want to be able to put the data on DVD.

    Perhaps I'm in a different segment of the market from many of you in here? I'm cheap. I'm all about the value. I'm not going to spend $200-$250 for a DVD drive to save me a few minutes on a burn. I'd rather put that money toward a new processor, monitor, video card, etc.

    What do you guys think?

    Reply Like

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    JKeefe

    Member

    830 messages 0 likes

    Re: Re: DVD Recorders

    Perhaps I'm in a different segment of the market from many of you in here? I'm cheap. I'm all about the value. I'm not going to spend $200-$250 for a DVD drive to save me a few minutes on a burn. I'd rather put that money toward a new processor, monitor, video card, etc.

    What do you guys think?

    I agree; I think that's a very good thought process. A DVD drive is far from the most important part of a system, and burn time doesn't mean much unless you edit and save video every day to DVD. I too would rather save the money and spend it elsewhere. In fact, I currently have no DVD burner at all and have no plans to change that any time soon.

    Reply Like

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    Pinky

    Member

    6,321 messages 16 likes

    1) Do you currently own a DVD Recorder if so is it DVD-R, DVD+R or another format ?

    Yes. DVD-R, 2x

    2) Are you happy with your current DVD Recorder ?

    Yes.

    3) Are you currently considering buying a DVD Recorder ?

    n/a, I already own one.

    4) Does the information contained in this article change your thoughts on the buying a DVD Recorder... if so why

    No.

    Reply Like

    d
    dgk

    Member

    808 messages 0 likes

    1) Do you currently own a DVD Recorder if so is it DVD-R, DVD+R or another format ?
    Yes, Optorite 0302. +/- 4X.
    I also just bought a Pioneer A06. +/- 4X. The best one by concensus of the DVDR newsgroup. That's for a new machine I'm building.

    2) Are you happy with your current DVD Recorder ?
    Latest firmware made a big difference and it is much better now. It was pretty picky. I use it mostly for bootleg video. Not pirate stuff (copies of legit releases). This is for stuff shot at concerts or off TV. Non-commercial releases. Plus lots of data backups. I bought a new house DVD player just to make sure it was compatible with stuff I burn. So far, pretty good.

    Pioneer? Haven't gotten the new PC far enough along to try it yet.

    3) Are you currently considering buying a DVD Recorder ?
    No, not a third one.
    4) Does the information contained in this article change your thoughts on the buying a DVD Recorder... if so why

    It really depends on use. One very important fact is that 1X CD is not 1X DVD. I didn't know that until about two months ago. I probably would have bought one faster. But now at $100 and dropping fast, it hardly pays to get a CD burner.

    Reply Like

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    cursor

    Member

    984 messages 0 likes

    Bumpage because I like this thread.

    Reply Like

    js341

    Registered

    68 messages 0 likes

    NEC

    I just purchased a NEC ND1300-A and it does write in DVD-R and DVD+R. This is my first DVD recorder and I am very impressed with its ability and speed. But I did have problems with installing this unit when I first got it. When I first installed it windows had problems booting and and it took a couple of times. Then I ran into problem with the software that I was using. But it was all solved when I updated the firmware and now I'm happily burning movies with DVD X Copy with no problem what cheap media that I use. I know the prices are going to drop, but it hit me by surprise when it hit around the $100 mark. I got my NEC for $106. And well worth every penny.

    Reply Like

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    Audioaficionado

    Sparkomatic Moderator

    12,381 messages 29 likes

    I'm getting one in the near future but it has to do +/- in all DVD formats and have the buffer overrun protection. I don't care if it's the fastest burner just as long as it can do ALL formats. $200 is not an unreasonable price.

    Reply Like

    ShadowCat66

    Member

    745 messages 0 likes

    I just bought the plextor PX708A,supports both.

    Love it!

    Nope

    Not really,The burner i just got burns @8x,Now from what ive read 16x may be the max that media will handle.We all know that a 16x will burn faster than an 8x, but, I dont think it will be that much of a difference.I can burn a DVD in less than 7mins.I was looking for the features more than the speed.

    Reply Like

    FizzledFiend

    Member

    1,298 messages 0 likes

    whelp I recon i will be hitting up the relatives to chip in with my new winnings to get me a dvd burner...I assumed 4x burns would be the same as a 4x CD burner...boy glad i saw this article...I currently have a 24X cd burner so speed isn't the main goal here, but features...truely I am glad somebody explained this in simple terms KUDOS!

    Reply Like

    itshondo

    Member

    2,407 messages 0 likes

    Just bought a Plextor PX-708a-BL - $220 retail at Newegg and there's a $50 rebate form to download at Plextor's website. Burns very well at 4x and 8X. Retail comes with Pinnacle Studio 8, Roxio CD/DVD creator, and Power DVD as well as the normal hardware.

    Reply Like