Wednesday, November 12, 2008

DVD burner

A while back I inherited a DVD burner. My media collection has finally gotten to the point where CDs do not work well for backups. This is mostly thanks to the nice camera my grandparents got me two years ago. The pictures take up more space, and backing them up no longer fits on single CDs. I figured a DVD burner would be useful to deal with this. Being the lazy/cheap person that I am, I never bought DVDs for it.

Here are the specs:
iomega SuperDVD
P/N 31367200
Liteon SOHW-1633S burner

My wife did a family history project over the summer which needed the DVD burner so we purchased a spindle of DVDs. I had never burned DVDs before and knew little to nothing about how to do it. So I gave my wife no guidance on what type of media to purchase. It turns out that this was probably a mistake, as using high-quality media when burning DVDs is important. See The Golden Rules of Burning.

We tried to burn the DVDs and could not burn data discs. We tried both my "new" DVD burner and her Mac mini. This was right during my dissertation defense and our move to Massachusetts, so only a quick attempt was made and then the project was shelved. The DVDs never even seemed to start writing before an error occurred (sorry, I do not still have the error written down).

Then, a week and a half ago, a friend of mine asked if I could burn some movies of him teaching a class to a DVD. I said I would look into it and get back to him. This motivated him to get my DVD recorder working. It took a lot of searching, but eventually I found this forum thread which seemed to address my problem. The solution I tried was to upgrade my firmware to a 1653. This allowed me to burn the DVD media using the software which came with the burner.

A few warnings: First, the DVD creation software has two options for closing. The first is a quick version and that seems to work fine (played in my DVD player). The second option claims to be more compatible, but all it really seemed to do was kill the burn at the very end. Second, I always have burned (so far) at the slowest possible setting (again, see The Golden Rules of Burning). Third, I still have not successfully burned a data DVD. The player treats the media as CDs in the bundled software, and the windows driver says it's a CD player.

If anybody has any insight about burning data discs using a Liteon DVDRW SOHW-1633S USB burner that has been flashed with a Liteon DVDRW SOHW-1653S USB burner firmware, please feel free to share. I imagine I will figure it out on my own, though. I just need to put in the time. I will blog about my inevitable success!


Christina said...

All this time I forgot you had a blog.

vandy said...

I don't think it is related, but I have continually had problems burning with our computer. I even bought a new CD drive to see if that was the problem. I have never had consistent success in burning CDs. I would have thought this had been worked out long ago and should be a non-issue.

Granted, I have only ever used free burning software. I don't know though if a good commercial suite of burning tools would do the job any better. Hardware, firmware or software, I am with you in complaints with burning optical discs.