Why won't this DVD work?
January 20, 2007 4:58 PM   Subscribe

What would cause a DVD to work fine when played on a computer, but not work when played on a "normal" DVD player?

The disc in question is home made. Works fine on the computer, but the normal DVD player gives an error: CHECK DISC. I don't know much about DVD formats--is there some special format that only computer drives can play? The normal unit has no trouble with other discs. Thanks.
posted by iconjack to Technology (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have had this issue on older DVD players. Older DVD players have compatibility issues with some DVDs, you could try either a different type of DVD (a DVD-R instead of a DVD+R or maybe a different brand), or you could try burning at a lower speed.
posted by petah at 5:01 PM on January 20, 2007

You might have a DVD player that just can't play home made discs, regardless of the format. Try having a friend play it on something newer, or just bite the bullet and buy a new one yourself. I have seen cheap players for as low as $25, so equate that into how much time you want to spend solving this issue.
posted by bh at 5:19 PM on January 20, 2007

I found that I could create and play both DVD+R and DVD-R on my computer, but my DVD player was only able to play the DVD-R.

I gather that's quite common. DVD-R apparently has better cross-platform compatibility.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:23 PM on January 20, 2007

Get a new DVD player, like petah said.
posted by k8t at 5:44 PM on January 20, 2007

It could also be a region problem. The US is region 1.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 5:49 PM on January 20, 2007

If it's home-made, it's unlikely (though not impossible) that the region is an issue.

Does the disc in question have a paper or plastic stick-on label affixed to it? I used to use these labels and now I find that the labeled discs have some issues. (Some googling on the subject will turn up a number of allegedly knowledgeable folks who concur). In a regular DVD player they lock up about one third of the way into the movie. In a computer drive, usually, they're better behaved.

Not exactly like your problem, of course, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.

As others have pointed out, it could be that the disc is +R and that the DVD player in question can only read -R. That does happen. But it's also possible that your make and model DVD player just doesn't like that particular brand of disc. This, likewise, happens sometimes. You can go to the videohelp.com list of DVD players, find your make and model, and see whether anyone else has reported similar problems. If your DVD player is prone to choking on particular types of discs, this site should be able to tell you.
posted by Clay201 at 7:11 PM on January 20, 2007

There's also the problem of the physical location of files on the disc. IIRC, to be correct under the DVD specs they should be arranged in the following order :
... and so on, starting with a particular physical sector and with the .BUP file physically separated from its related .IFO file.

(Note, this is not the order as displayed in a directory listing - it's the physical order on the disc, and can only be checked with the right tools.)

Most versions of Nero gets this wrong, and some players - more common amongst newer players than older ones - don't like it.
posted by Pinback at 7:12 PM on January 20, 2007

If you're using Nero, make sure you're setting the booktype to DVD-ROM, and before you burn more coasters look up your dvd player here to see what formats it supports: http://www.videohelp.com/dvdplayers
posted by bizwank at 7:18 PM on January 20, 2007

SDB's experience is the same as mine. One of the players in my house will play both +R and -R but all the others will only play -R.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:23 PM on January 20, 2007

If it's a (ahem) copy of a retail DVD, it could be that the DVD is PAL while you're someplace that uses NTSC, or vice versa. Computers can generally play both, but DVD players will only play the one specific to your region.
posted by cosmic osmo at 9:35 PM on January 20, 2007

Another possibility is simply that the disc might be scuffed or scratched, because computer DVD drives are better at reading the data through scratches - because they have to be. A DVD player can get by with much poorer read accuracy and error correction (because all that a minor unreadable section does is briefly put a minor artefact into the picture, wheras on a computer, a few unreadable bits might destroy the entire file, rendering the disc useless, so DVD-rom drives are built with better reading and error correction than DVD player drives.
Same goes for CD-ROM drives, and various companies have attempted to exploit this difference in making copy-control systems for music CDs.

Most times that a scuffed disc glitches most DVD players, it works fine on all my computer drives.
posted by -harlequin- at 10:07 PM on January 20, 2007

When my last DVD player was on its last legs, it became much touchier about what disks it would play, refusing disks that the computer would play without difficulties. Eventually it wouldn't play DVDs at all, though it could still play CDs. I've also noted in both CDs and DVDs that some players are much touchier about burned media versus manufactured. Cheaper players always seem worse about this.

I can't give you a electronic explanation of this behavior (well, I could but it would be wrong). Maybe ask around your friends if anyone has a newer (and/or more expensive) DVD player, see if your DVD plays in it.
posted by nanojath at 10:49 PM on January 20, 2007

it could be that the mpeg video file used to create the DVD is not DVD complient (long GOP, wrong resolution, wrong audio format, that sort of thing). so while it's find to play on a PC, which can handle anything, it's not ok in a player.
posted by ascullion at 2:10 AM on January 21, 2007

If the actual DVD format isn't wrong, then the player might just not like the media type. Try burning a copy of it in the "other" format (e.g. if it's DVD+R, make a DVD-R) and see if that works. Try it in other DVD players (if you have access to any).
posted by neckro23 at 9:19 AM on January 21, 2007

What make/model is your DVD player? Sony players (others also perhaps) may demand that the DVD is the correct region - refusing to play region 0 discs i.e. discs that are regionally unlocked. My wedding DVD for example.... or DVDs that I've burnt myself. are deliberately not regionally set.
posted by NailsTheCat at 5:34 PM on January 22, 2007

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