Just a few notes on using these disks for video playback in DVD players.
MST3K DVD-R notes
You can find information about specific DVD players at VCD help.
DVD-R media compatibility
With one exception, everyone I have sent Verbatim DVD-R's to have been able to play the disks without trouble. These disks have worked very well, but becasue of their price I have been looking for alternatives. I'm going to be sending out TDK disks for a while, bringing the price down from $6 to $3.75 per disk. These disks are the cheapest disks so far that my Playstation 2 will read, and I think that is a good sign. All other players tested (really not many yet) read the disks, too. If you still want the episode on a Verbatim disk, just tell me.
I have not been using the cheapest disks in favor of using disks more compatible with DVD players. If you'd rather use a cheap disk (some can be had for under $1.50 per disk with shipping), then you can make arrangements to send the disks to me, and I'll write the episodes and send them to you for the cost of shipping only.
Some DVD players cannot read DVD-R's. If I give you a disk that just won't play, then your player doesn't read DVD-R's. Sorry! Fortunately, it looks like a number of the older, but not oldest, DVD players can read DVD-R's, and new players almost certainly can. I verify all the DVD's I write before I ship them and will not ship a disk with an error unless the error is in DVD-ROM content (stuff a DVD player ignores). After writing some 55 Verbatim DVD-R's, I have yet to see a verify error.
Some DVD players can experience data errors when reading from DVD-R. I have found that such errors usually cause one of these problems, all of which last breifly:
If these problems occur at all, they will sometimes occur inconsistently, and other times it will occur consistently on a specific part of the disk. Some newer players, like the Playstation 2, have no trouble at all reading DVD-R's, while other new players will play them back well enough, but will have the occasional problem (it probably won't stop your viewing pleasure). DVD-ROM drives also seem to have no trouble.
- Paused video
- Blocks where the video is blank
- Blocks where the video is blank during an audio studder
- The bottom of some menus may not display properly
Your milage may vary, and some fuel additives may cause your car to explode.
Players with known problems
Just a few I have come across:
For a searchable list of players with compatibility information, consult VCD help.
- Some Denon players
- Hollywood Plus decoder card
MST3K disk format compatibility
I keep everything very close to the DVD spec, but not perfectly. The problems, in order from most important to no big deal, are:
- MPEG audio only
I only use MPEG audio on the DVD's for two reasons: PCM audio takes up almost a 1GB for MST3K, and a Dolby Digital encoder isn't cheap. As a result, you may find that using digital audio out on your player does not work. Use analog audio if this happens. The DVD spec includes MPEG audio, but the spec makes a PCM or Dolby Digital audio track required for North American/NTSC DVD's. As a result, digital audio decoders sold in North America, like those in receivers, do not all have the ability to decode MPEG audio.
- High bit rates
Sometimes the bit rate on the video I encode exceeds the maximum set by the DVD spec, but only by a little. On the two players I have used, this caused one player to jump frames, but it did handle it gracefully. The other player didn't skip frames and kept up with the video. I do try to keep the bit rates within spec, so it doesn't happen often. I didn't even notice the problem until I watched a movie I made very closely while playing in my DVD player -- it's easy to miss.
Supply of DVD-R disks
- You can send me disks to write episodes to. Contact me for shipping information. Consult Pricewatch for good prices on the media.
- You can buy blank disks from me and ask me put a movie on it before I send the disk. I'll ask $3.75 for each DVD-R (TDK), and I may have to charge for shipping, too. I even have a Paypal account making payment easy (no credit card payments please). Contact me before trying this option.