Commercial DVD question

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by jacqueg, Dec 18, 2014.

  1. jacqueg macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2014
    #1
    I have a commercial instructional dvd - produced by a small sewing pattern company - that plays just fine on the dvd player connected to my TV.

    However, when I try to play it on the external optical drive connected to my laptop, dvd player informs me I have inserted a blank dvd. The drive is fine, it readily plays both cds and dvd - just not this particular one.

    I know next to nothing about dvd formats, so I'd appreciate a simple explanation. I am contemplating the simplicity of getting rid of the dvd player connected to my tv and streaming all my dvds from my laptop. Obviously, there is something I need to know before I take this action!
     
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    Is the disc a standard commercial DVD with pressed pits or is it a "home burned" DVD with the content stored in bits on a phase change film. The former is all of a single metallic silver color; the latter has content area of clearly different color than the unburned area.
     
  3. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #3
    What happens if you open the Mac's DVD playing software from the applications folder?

    Some home-made DVDs just don't activate its auto-launch feature but work fine once you manually launch it.
     
  4. jacqueg thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2014
    #4
    It's the latter - the content area is a kind of lavender-blue color, with a darker ring of the same color on about the outer 1/5th of the radius.

    Interesting, but does this mean that my external optical drive wouldn't be able to read the dvds that I burn on it? How can that make sense? (I haven't tried burning a dvd on this drive, so I really don't know.)
     
  5. jacqueg thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2014
    #5
    No joy.

    Doesn't matter which software, DVD Player or iDVD, I have open - the drive spins for a bit, then quits spinning, and the dvd never "mounts" so that I can see it on either the desktop or the files list.

    DVD Player does give me the "blank dvd" message as the drive stops spinning. iDVD doesn't even do that.

    I'd think that the dvd was defective, except that it plays just fine on the Sony BlueRay DVD Player connected to my tv. BTW, the disc was made in 2006, and it seems unlikely to me that it is a BlueRay disc, but could I be mistaken about that? I can't imagine this company producing millions of dvds on the uses of a french curve in making and altering sewing patterns!
     
  6. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

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    Aug 29, 2006
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #6
    I would try it on a friend's Mac with a built-in drive before coming to any conclusions. Set top players and computer drives don't always treat disks the same.

    I honestly don't have any ideas but I'd want to know the answer to that before I started worrying about hardware changes.
     
  7. jacqueg thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2014
    #7
    That's a good suggestion, I'll try it.
     
  8. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #8
    OK, you have a home-burned DVD. Home-burned DVDs are created by a optical imprint in the photosensitive film on the discs. The optical imprint is created by the laser in the burner. They are read by the laser in the player as changes in reflectance.

    Your problem is an artifact of this technology. For any given home-burned DVD, only a subset of burner and player combinations will work for any specific disc. If a burned disc does not work in one player, then it does not mean that anyone is at fault. You simply try to find a player that will play your disc and move on.

    In this respect, Small White Car's advice is good. Because your DVD set top box will handle your DVD, you know that it is playable. Now, you need to find a computer DVD drive that will also play it. After you locate that drive, I strongly recommend that you create an .iso or .cdr disc image of the DVD. This will allow you to access the content using any Mac without worrying about finding a DVD drive to spin the disc.
     
  9. jacqueg thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2014
    #9
    Thanks for the info, this is starting to make sense, although it never occurred to me that home-burned dvds are not universally playable. After all, I never worry whether a home-burned cd is playable - it just plays!

    If I were to go shopping for another external optical drive, is there a way to compare various drives in this regard?
     
  10. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #10
    No. There is no way to compare various drives. Whether any particular home-burned disc will play depends on the combination of disc, burner, and player. In your case, you have no control over either the disc or the burner. If you want to purchase an optical drive, then get the best drive that you can afford and hope for the best. However, there is no guarantee.

    In the case of CDs, they burn a maximum of 680K data compare to a DVD that burns a maximum of 4.7M [with exceptions]. We can expect each bit on the DVD to occupy less physical space and to be less robust as a result.
     
  11. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #11
    Some of the big box stores have several floor demo units you could try the DVD on.

    If you are making DVDs, its not only the destination player but the media you use. In the past the panasonic brand players seemed to be most tolerant.

    When I was distributing home videos via DVD to family members, I purchased inexpensive Panasonic players and used Verbatim data life plus injet printable DVD-R blanks.
     
  12. montgomeryr macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    #12
    Sometimes duplicating a DVD onto a different known good brand of disc solves the playback issues. I've done this many times over the years with great success for my happy clients (instructors)
     

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