I have about 300 or so DVDs I've amassed from a number of people over the years. So naturally they were not all created equal. Is there a simple tool I can install on a windows XP machine that will allow me to determine how universally compatible each DVD is with regard to most typical standard DVD players?
The DVD players in my theater would be of no help as they will play anything and everything. And I don't trust WMP on my XP machine as it will also play almost anything. Another option would be to drive to a friend's house and test all of them in his player, or just buy a basic player at a thrift store and use that.
Of course I would prefer if there were a basic little program which could assist with this in the comfort of my own geek lair. I think I am generally dealing with a mixture of PAL and NTSC DVDs however I am not certain the factors are limited to this.
FTW, now and again someone will want to borrow a DVD from me and then return it saying it doesn't work in their player. So the goal here is to better organize my collection in terms of universal playability.
Thanks for any ideas,
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People in PAL countries usually have no problems playing NTSC DVDs or VHS tapes.
People in NTSC countries usually CANNOT play PAL DVDs without special equipment.....and can almost never play PAL VHS tapes.
DVDDecrypter displays whether the content of the DVD is NTSC or PAL.
There's no such program. You're just going to have to test them.
Generally speaking, DL media is harder to play than single layer on older machines. Any DL media not made by Verbatim or Taiyo Yuden is garbage and should be replaced with a new copy on Verbatim now (Taiyo Yuden media is pricey and almost impossible to find). Verbatim DVD+R DL is the best. DVD-R DL should be avoided for reasons of compatibility (it has less) and price (it's more expensive).
There's no real way to tell if your DVDs were made correctly or not except to play them. Depending on the age, anything not on Verbatim or Taiyo Yuden media may be suspect and probably should be replaced with a new copy on those brands. Maybe 6+ years ago there were other good brands available, but providing a list of "X is good if older than Y but crap if it's younger than Y" is exhausting. There's also the whole PAL thing hech54 mentions.
Hard to say what the issue is with your discs. Some people have players they bought 10+ years ago that miraculously still work and they're too cheap to buy anything newer. Older players were a lot more fussy and it's not unheard of for some older players to refuse to play even good Verbatim DL discs or to only play DVD+R or DVD-R and not the other type.
A lot of it comes down to the individual playback device at any given moment. Anything from ambient temperature to dust or a fingerprint on the DVD can occasionally throw off proper disc loading. Brand new players can be just as twitchy, if not more so, than older players. On the PC, newer OS or newer software players can introduce new glitches.
Casual users who borrow DVDs tend to go directly into "stupefyingly clueless mode" the minute they encounter a problem. They give up at the first sign of incompatibility. Its gotten to a point where I include a boilerplate instruction slip with any DVD I lend out or give to others, saying:
"If the disc does not begin playing or display a menu immediately after loading, try pressing the PLAY or MENU button on your remote, as some discs do not have auto-play features. If your player does not load the disc, or displays an alert such as 'Cannot Play This Type Of Disc' something may have just gone a little goofy during loading. Take out the disc, wait a minute, and put it back in. Odds are good it will now play perfectly."
Last edited by orsetto; 4th Feb 2013 at 12:29.