DVDs not playing correctly (“home made” DVDs)

This subject has been at the top of the list of many consumers who purchase DVDs from local video production companies. DVDs that contain dance recitals, graduations, school events, etc that have purchased from local video companies or received from a friend or parent may have trouble playing in your DVD player. There are several reasons, but the main cause is the media (blank DVD) that is used to record the event. Many people simply buy that is locally available or what is on sale and lack the knowledge that there is a difference in the quality and playability of DVDs.

Currently, many office supply stores and discount houses are selling what is labeled as 16X DVDs. What this means is that you can record the program at up to 16 times normal speed. At this rate, a one-hour program could be recorded in 4 minutes! This may sound like a great time saver (it is), but very few consumer DVD players have the capability of playing this 16X media.

The common misconception is that if you record the program at a slower speed, it will work better on most DVD players. That is not the case. Each blank DVD is digitally encoded to include the type of DVD that it is and that includes the maximum speed. The DVD itself is also constructed differently with a different dye (the bluish/purple stuff on the backside) and other internal components. The problem is that most DVD players that are in our homes were built BEFORE there were 16X DVDs and what happens is that the DVD player doesn’t know what to do when it sees the digital data (the program) and sometimes has problems “seeing” the digital information in the new-type dye. 16X type media should only be used in computers that have DVD drives built in.

The sad fact is that some older DVD players have problems play DVDs labeled 8X (the previous generation of blank DVD media). These machines have been manufactured at least 5 years ago and have the same problems with 8X medial as with 16X media. Some higher-end DVD from some manufacturers exhibit less problems playing in older DVD players than many cheaper and store brand DVD media. Again, more established video production companies know this and have taken the steps to ensure that their DVDs are the most compatible they can be and to minimize difficulty in playback.

Keepsake Video and KVI Media has been using 4X media to produce DVDs that are 99.5% compatible. Unfortunately, all DVD manufacturers have stopped making these 4X DVDs over 1 1/2 years ago and are no longer available. At that time, we purchased the remaining stock of 3 different suppliers and are quickly running out of those much sought after DVDs.

So in conclusion, if your DVD is skipping, stopping, showing digital pixels or simply not playing, try playing the DVD in another DVD player or your computer (if DVD equipt). If it plays without
any problem, the problem is what is described here. My suggestion is to purchase one of those inexpensive (under $30) DVD players from your local discount store. They will play just about anything. This is the best way to go since the problem will never go away and if you want to watch the DVD that you have already purchased, it is an easy solution. In some cases that $30 for the new player is less than the DVD that you bought and most local video production companies are no longer producing VHS tapes. If they are, is only be special order and are more expensive to purchase.

Ed Wardyga
Keepsake Video/KVI Media
copyright 2008

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