Cannot play DVD-RW and DVD-R burned on DVD player on my laptop (or anywhere!)

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sorrel

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Nov 16, 2016
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Hi all,

Approximately 5 years ago, I spent time transferring a load of camcorder videos on small tapes to to DVD's. At the time I think the model I used was similar to JVC's DR-MV1S where I could plug in my sony handycam and connected a lead that went directly into the recorder. I burnt the dvd's on both DVD-RW and DVD-R formats. I know they played back fine on the dvd player. However, that dvd player broke so I am left with the DVD's but cannot play them.

I have tried playing them in my Windows 10 laptop but it just whirs round and is not recognised, and also in our only dvd player (one in a combination Grundig tv) but that too doesn't recognise it and ejects it after a few seconds of whirring.

I desperately want to watch these recorded home movies as they contain precious family memories. Is there anyway I can play other than trying to find the JVC recorder, would anyone have the skills to transfer what is on these DVD's to another format for viewing?

Thanks
 

Unlike music CDs, DVDs are just computer data discs with media files written on them. So even if the computer couldn't play the videos, he should at least be able to browse the files on the discs. It sounds like he cannot even do that.

I see two possibilities here: Your DVD burner used some sort of proprietary format that only it could read. Your only solution then would be to find the same or similar model which can read the format. Then convert it to another more widely supported format (preferably purely digital files). This isn't unheard of. Hollywood saw these standalone DVD burners as a digital version of the VCR, and they hated VCRs with a passion. So they strong-armed a lot of manufacturers into crippling them so you couldn't, for example, burn live TV show broadcasts to DVD and share them with your friends.

Or the DVD burner did not make very good burns. Optical media works by burning a hole into a dye layer. A laser shines through the hole and bounces off a reflective layer indicating a 1. If there is no hole, the dye layer absorbs the laser, there is no reflection, indicating a 0. (Or the other way around - I always forget which is which). No dye is a perfect absorber however, so there's always a tiny bit of reflectance. The difference between the amount of reflected laser light when there is a hole and there isn't is effectively the signal to noise ratio.

Mass-produced DVDs (and CDs) physically alter the reflective layer itself, and have something like a 1000:1 SNR (I don't recall exactly, these are ballpark order of magnitude figures from a very hazy memory). DVD-Rs have to use a photosensitive dye to allow a write laser to burn a hole, but not sensitive enough to burn when hit with the read laser. These are more difficult to produce so are a lot more reflective, and the SNR is only like 100:1. DVD-RWs are the worst. They use a phase change material instead of a dye layer, and their SNR is on the order of 10:1.

If the DVD burner is weak or marginal, it might not burn a very big hole. Maybe the writing laser is weak or doesn't stay on long enough, and not enough dye is etched to make a full-size hole. This further reduces the amount of reflected light when there is a hole, decreasing the SNR even more. A DVD burner/reader manufacturer who knows this may install reading circuitry that is more sensitive to compensate. The DVD will play on that player, but won't on others because their readers are not sensitive enough to distinguish the 1s from the 0s.

So if this second reason is why you cannot read the DVDs, then you'll just have to continue trying them on different players until you find one that works. If the drive lets you control the read speed, try setting it to 1x. If you can find someone with a Plextor, try that. Plextor was widely regarded as the Rolls Royce of CD and DVD drive manufacturers because they overdesigned them with superior (and overpriced) components. The dedicated DVD players (for home video) tend to be better at reading than computer DVD burners, so try them in all of your friends' TV DVD players.

And I don't think the problem is media degradation. 5 years is not very long by optical media standards. 10 years I'd expect to see a few problems, 20 years I'd expect to see a lot of problems. But problems after 5 years would be very unusual.
 

MusenMouse

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Mar 24, 2016
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You should try downloading a media player from online and seeing if one of them will work. I don't think Windows 10 Media player allows you to play DVD's anymore, so that might be the issue with your compuer. VLC media player is my recommendation, just make sure you download it from the site otherwise you can get some nasty adware from other sites that repackage it.

Link: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html
 

sorrel

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Nov 16, 2016
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1,510
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sorrel

Commendable
Nov 16, 2016
3
0
1,510
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Hi, thanks for this suggestion, however I have VLC already installed but it won't even recognise my disc in there, and once I browse to the D: drive to see the disc in VLC it ejects it. There is definitely media burnt onto the disc but I just need a way of seeing what it is
 
5 years go, if I had read your post, I would had told you, user-burn media not reliable long term archiving, you must be careful, verify discs can be read back from another DVD device etc, and I forget if M-DISC (specially designed for long term archival) was available back then but would had mention it, and store discs in a dark room.

They sell a super-duper optical player, what's the brand name I forget somebody help me, is like usd$200-500 depending on features but it's said to read anything. I dunno, that maybe your last resort. I would definitely go to a local video transfer store and see if they can read your disc, am assuming they have more "robust" equipment so at least u know.
 

Unlike music CDs, DVDs are just computer data discs with media files written on them. So even if the computer couldn't play the videos, he should at least be able to browse the files on the discs. It sounds like he cannot even do that.

I see two possibilities here: Your DVD burner used some sort of proprietary format that only it could read. Your only solution then would be to find the same or similar model which can read the format. Then convert it to another more widely supported format (preferably purely digital files). This isn't unheard of. Hollywood saw these standalone DVD burners as a digital version of the VCR, and they hated VCRs with a passion. So they strong-armed a lot of manufacturers into crippling them so you couldn't, for example, burn live TV show broadcasts to DVD and share them with your friends.

Or the DVD burner did not make very good burns. Optical media works by burning a hole into a dye layer. A laser shines through the hole and bounces off a reflective layer indicating a 1. If there is no hole, the dye layer absorbs the laser, there is no reflection, indicating a 0. (Or the other way around - I always forget which is which). No dye is a perfect absorber however, so there's always a tiny bit of reflectance. The difference between the amount of reflected laser light when there is a hole and there isn't is effectively the signal to noise ratio.

Mass-produced DVDs (and CDs) physically alter the reflective layer itself, and have something like a 1000:1 SNR (I don't recall exactly, these are ballpark order of magnitude figures from a very hazy memory). DVD-Rs have to use a photosensitive dye to allow a write laser to burn a hole, but not sensitive enough to burn when hit with the read laser. These are more difficult to produce so are a lot more reflective, and the SNR is only like 100:1. DVD-RWs are the worst. They use a phase change material instead of a dye layer, and their SNR is on the order of 10:1.

If the DVD burner is weak or marginal, it might not burn a very big hole. Maybe the writing laser is weak or doesn't stay on long enough, and not enough dye is etched to make a full-size hole. This further reduces the amount of reflected light when there is a hole, decreasing the SNR even more. A DVD burner/reader manufacturer who knows this may install reading circuitry that is more sensitive to compensate. The DVD will play on that player, but won't on others because their readers are not sensitive enough to distinguish the 1s from the 0s.

So if this second reason is why you cannot read the DVDs, then you'll just have to continue trying them on different players until you find one that works. If the drive lets you control the read speed, try setting it to 1x. If you can find someone with a Plextor, try that. Plextor was widely regarded as the Rolls Royce of CD and DVD drive manufacturers because they overdesigned them with superior (and overpriced) components. The dedicated DVD players (for home video) tend to be better at reading than computer DVD burners, so try them in all of your friends' TV DVD players.

And I don't think the problem is media degradation. 5 years is not very long by optical media standards. 10 years I'd expect to see a few problems, 20 years I'd expect to see a lot of problems. But problems after 5 years would be very unusual.
 

Natsukage

Estimable
Oct 28, 2016
474
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Hello.

I believe you simply did not FINALIZE your DVDs when you recorded them. If you didn't finalize them, then you cannot use them on anything else than a JVC recorder. You will need to buy another JVC DVD recorder, finalize your discs, and then you will be able to read them elsewhere.

DVDs need to be finalized when recorded to be used on another player or a PC. If you do not do this, it will be unreadable practically everywhere. The disc are basically written in Raw data, without any Lead In / Lead Out. Nothing short of the same exact model or brand can read the data, sadly.

I've seen many people do this error over the years. You need to read the manual for DVD recorders, or you'll be in trouble if you didn't finalize and it breaks.
 

I always thought this was automatic for single-session recorders and manually to close out a multi-session disc, and I always thought even with an unclosed disc, you should be able to at least browse it. Sounds like his is just doing an endless seek.
 

Natsukage

Estimable
Oct 28, 2016
474
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3,110
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Not on a home DVD recorder, as the OP had. The DISC needs to be finalized or it will not read elsewhere. They simply do not even make a session at all, they just write RAW or proprietary data.

Since there is no usable lead in/out data, a computer DVD drive can't read the information. It will just spin endlessly. Same with another brand of DVD recorder.
 
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