All this is as may be. Although different firmware can sometimes add some capabilities to a player. How often have we read about people applying Brazilian or Australian or hacked firmware to their players? But if a reviewer (listed as being in the USA) doesn't provide such specifics, and the US manual doesn't say it can play DivX/AVI...well, I guess you must discount that review.
Nevertheless, it doesn't make jman wrong about DVD-RWs. Neither as to how they work nor why they're a bad choice for archiving.
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Thread: DVD+RWs no longer play
Pull! Bang! Darn!