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"a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
the longest lived drives are only known (after) they have been on the market for a while
HGST was recently bought by Western Digital.. the Chinese Government (.. the Chinese Government ?) stepped in and was worried about a monopoly in the business where all brands were made by only "one" maker in their country..
As a condition of Sale.. Western Digital had to divest (some) of the old Hitachi (HGST) plants to Toshiba.. (who did not want them).. and Toshiba had to keep making the drives and offer them for sale.. or Western Digital could not buy HGST
Toshiba drives are kind of a "reluctant" model for now.. they didn't want the business.. but the drives are getting phenomenal reviews on sites like Backblaze.. when they can get a few in..
Seagate is rumored to be looking to exit the spinning rust business and go totally SSD.. they tried hybrids.. but that didn't work out.. they are a mystery at this point. They might go total cloud storage model and stop selling to the public in a few years. I wonder if Google or Amazon will buy them in a pre-emptive move. Big data is worried about vast cheap data.. silicon is not that cheap yet. Recycling silicon however is less complex than picking apart mechanical drives.
WD (regardless of brand) is practically the sole source supplier to the public now.. which reminds me of Verbatim and CMC.. we're down to one.. how much longer will spinning rust be around ?
m.2 to me is interesting.. since it is silicon, and the laptop and tablet/phone market is still paying for it.. its increasing in size.. and durability for long term storage might make it the best alternative to ancient "ink printing technologies" like DVDs or Blu-ray
m.2 is already at 1 and 2 TB in a surface area far smaller than a DVD or Blu-ray disk.. with 6 Gb/s interfaces with a basic compression from MPEG2 that's around 1000 to 2000 hours of standard definition video, on a single stick.
it could be a fools errand.. I don't know a lot about m.2 at the moment.. but I'm looking towards understanding it better.
Toshiba drives when you can get them are great.. but eventually they will wear out.. the old Hitachi plants will have to be replaced.. or the deal will run out.. and WD will get the Toshiba brand to put on their drives.
In ten years spinning rust will be as popular as 5 1/4 floppy disks.
Last edited by jwillis84; 19th Jan 2020 at 01:12.
[Separately, I would add that in the case of discontinued items, I've generally had pretty good luck finding things on eBay . . . but of course you need to check on condition, avoid ridiculous bidding wars on scarce items that may be in demand, and to be picky about who you buy from.]
Last edited by Seeker47; 19th Jan 2020 at 14:11.
Practical examples abound. A relative happens to be a rather skilled photographer. It's mainly a sideline for him, but he's won awards in several regional shows. A few years back, he expressed some concern to me about archival photo storage for preserving his work, ever since film and negatives gave way to digital formats. Those 1's & 0's are readily subject to being corrupted. I told him about an article I had read, about PAR files with checksums, that some more technically aware photographers seemed to be getting into. He seemed relieved. But even so, we are still left with issues of storage devices and media. For now, it would be great if SD cards had good, proven, long-term storage capability . . . but I don't know that they do.
This also gets into the area of overlap between accessibility and security. As a near-Luddite, I have a near-zero faith in today's vaunted cloud-based solutions. They are just a good terrorist-attack and the next iteration of
away from exposure or total wipeout. If it's not directly at hand and under your local control, it's all pretty dubious, is what I'd say.
This seems as good a place for this question as any. Perhaps you can correct a gap in my basic video knowledge. (One of very many, I'm sure !)
I used one of my Pio 460s to record something, in this case a documentary. It had a running time of slightly under two hours, and was recorded at the Pioneer's MN21, which would be a standard, default setting for having the material fit onto a DVD-5. As such, it is going to take up ~ 4 GB of space. My guesstimate is that this MN21 recording must fall somewhat below full DVD-5 resolution -- maybe no more than 640 x 480 ? MN 31 or 32 would bump that up to the upper limits of DVD, your 720 x 480 (there was some musical content, and the sound might be better at the higher setting ?) . . . but then we'd be talking about a DVD-9 to contain it.
If I felt that the material was of sufficient importance and otherwise unavailable, I could have endeavored to share it. (Thus far, I have only been a grateful recipient of online material, and so far never a supplier.) In this case, that proved to be totally unnecessary, because with a bit of searching I found that it was indeed already available online, so no need to bother.
Now, my question. That online file version -- in 1080P and good stereo -- was just 5 GB in size. So, that relatively small size differential but major resolution and sound quality differential must simply be a matter of using a more powerful, more efficient codec -- H264 vs. the basic MPEG-2 of the Pioneer ? I would assume so, because I noticed that a better 720P version of this same program clocks in at no more than 3 GB. file size, and an HEVC one would probably come to half of that, or less. Maybe even if you threw in DTS / extra channels. (But HEVC must offer a much higher degree of compression.)
I don't suppose there were ever any DVDRs that employed much stronger codecs than MPEG-2 ? Probably not, because that was the "lingua Franca", or most common denominator for video -- consumer video, certainly.
Last edited by Seeker47; 6th Mar 2020 at 17:30.
seeker47, my understanding is the Pioneer recorders follow the controversial protocol set by Panasonic: maintain full 480x720 resolution up to and including LP speed (4hrs per disc), even if the video is starved for bit rate or other parameters. Pioneer MN21 is the same as setting the unit at SP, so results should be indistinguishable between them.
Yes, it is sort of depressing that "scene" releases can pack an hour of video into a 300mb file that appears to have triple the resolution and clarity of our DVD recorders running at 2Gb per hour. But these are drawing on different resources: usually begin as direct full-HDTV-res uncompressed off air or satellite captures that are compressed using PC software more sophisticated than the hard-coded MPEG chips in DVD recorders. It would have been nice if recorders had remained popular enough to make the transition into higher power and performance, such that they could optionally create such mp4 or mkv files themselves to save as standard data discs instead of dvd-video. But interest waned rather quickly, and Hollywood would never have stood for such a feature in consumer products, so that was that.
Sometimes we DVD/HDD recorder fans forget just how absurdly consumer-hostile these units really were/are. I was reminded recently when I lent one of my friends a Pioneer to record a series that could be had in no other way unless you record it directly off a niche local cable TV service. He was fine with hitting the HDD record button, but after that was lost so I had to personally create the DVDs for him. He patiently watched me divide the two six-hour HDD blocks into 12 episodes, trim the beginnings/ends, add chapter marks, correctly title each episode, create thumbnails for each episode, select burning layout for three discs of four episodes each, burn and finalize each disc. I'm so used to it by now I can do it in my sleep: my fingers flew over the remote buttons, Pioneer action menus and submenus flashed on and off the TV screen in a blur. As the first of the three dvd volumes began burning, my friend just looked at me and said "What in the actual F--- was all that? Twenty+ steps per episode: are you SERIOUS?!?! Who the hell could ever figure that out or even want to? No wonder these machines never caught on!"
Last edited by orsetto; 7th Mar 2020 at 13:02.
continue releasing both Blu-Rays and even DVDs, at least for now, albeit with the proviso that substantial parts of the catalog have by now gone out of print. (Terrific reference page, btw. Should have discovered this and bookmarked / saved it a long, long time ago.) I was wondering what might come after their physical media releases ? The article seems to answer that -- another dedicated subscription service to replace the departed Filmstruck -- but I see no sign of that being offered by DirecTV. They finally slotted three Epix channels, so one might reasonably expect to find it there.
Xfer Disc Anomalies w/ RW media | IsoBuster
[intended especially for orsetto and jwillis84]
Trying to fill in some knowledge gaps here. This happened to be using the Pioneer 640, but I don't know if anything would have been different if it was with a 460 / 560, given the same set of circumstances ? I regularly transfer material to the computer, generally using the good quality -RW discs I have (in this case, older stock TDK 4X rated -RW), though I'm not sure at what point they simply wear out, and what exactly is to be expected when they do ?
The DVDR at this point has about 359 recorded items on it, which I know may be pushing it for these units, even though the vast majority of these recordings are relatively brief items, but with overall free space remaining showing as 45 %. In large part, what I'm trying to do here is to get stuff off of the DVDR HDD, and to free up space + reduce the # of recordings. So I recently did a xfer -RW disc with 26 items to it, but only consuming 3.1 GB. in total -- which I would not have expected to overload the disc. The only reasonable menu to choose was the last "grid" one, with around 8 items per menu page, extending to -- in this case -- 3 pages. (Evidently, the finalization stage does more than just tack on the menu ?) On this run, the finalization seemed to take an unduly long time, at the end of which I got some error along the lines of "Unable to Repair Disc." When I reinsert the disc, the Pioneer 640 reports "Incompatible or Unrecognizable Disc." And it cannot be re-initialized again. Can't Erase / Reformat it on the computer, either. It seems to me that in the past I salvaged such a disc by erasing it on the computer, at which point the Pioneer was able to re-init it. But that was quite some time ago, and I'm not certain about this. Worse yet, the next -RW I went to re-init after this (which had heretofore been a pretty routine and reliable operation) also got trashed, becoming another "Incompatible or Unrecognizable Disc." Disc failures ? Or Pioneer DVDR failures ? If this persists, I'll have a serious problem.
I'll jump ahead here for a moment, to report that on a following pass, using the same, untouched 26 item Copy List from the Pioneer -- this time burning to a regular -R -- it went without a hitch, and the contents are fine and playable wherever.
Before I finalized that -R, I thought that I'd give the latest version of IsoBuster a spin, since my use of that program and so level of skill with it have been minimal. Despite not having much of an idea of what I was doing, I managed to extract an image file of the disc. (Snapshot attached.) This looks like a good design strategy on the part of the author, in that once you have a viable image file to work on, you need not worry about the condition of the source disc. From that image file, I extracted VOB #78 (? Don't see how that jibes with 26 video files, but leaving that question aside for the moment.) It played fine. O.K., I'm finally beginning to grasp at least some of the utility of this program.
But no dice on those two apparently trashed -RW discs. Tried to access them with either Burnaware Premium or IsoBuster. They either spin endlessly in the optical drive, in a vain attempt to access them, or show up as "Blank -RW." But they can't be erased / reformatted. Haven't tried ImgBurn yet. So, is there no way to forcibly reformat them, or are they kaput, fit only for tossing in the trash ? [Burnaware is finally giving some indication that it might be able to reformat one of the -RWs, but says that this may take a long time. I'm skeptical, but we shall see.]
If I have to offload the remainder of the DVDR's HDD content using just -Rs, it's going to burn through an awful lot of them, and I'm trying to use what stock I have left as judiciously as possible. I'd only remount the HDD for that added-later HDD-extraction feature of IsoBuster as a last resort. Would rather not risk any surgery on the Pioneer.
[Attachment 59859 - Click to enlarge]
Last edited by Seeker47; 14th Jul 2021 at 17:02.
It's possible your DVR DVD writer is having difficulties with -RW. Writing with wrong laser power (for instance) could be ruining the discs.
Try a few more drives to read the 'bad' discs because not all drives behave the same on troublesome media and some may still be able to read what others can't.
Personally I would not trust these -RW discs anymore (for instance after you've managed to reformat them).
Re the screenshot. Aside from the weird paint problem in the (right panel) ListView (is this always the case?) I notice you scanned for missing files and folders.
Is this required to see the files ? Is there not at least one file system found straight away ? (Perhaps a screenshot of the top items in the TreeView (left pane) ?)
Put in a few good working DVDs to get an idea of what you should expect to see.
So glad to see that you were monitoring this thread (!), and very glad to have been a licensed supporter of your program for several years. Even though I guess I've been fortunate not to have had any dire need to use it, it's been good to know it was there should that need arise. It is entirely possible that at some point I may need to salvage one of the DVDR HDDs, as jwillis84 detailed in his posts and videos. (Or some other important source.) Some of the circumstances I presented could be specific to the Pioneer DVDRs, or even that particular model, which is why I wanted to draw upon the great experience orsetto has with them. There seem to have been a number of variables involved.
One of the two -RWs I did ultimately manage to erase using Burnaware, so at this point I could only do a test for readability on the other one with alternate optical drives or burners. Several questions remain open, for which I would like to gain a better understanding. I'll try to follow your suggestion, re the IsoBuster display. Some of the way that pic came out is likely an artifact of the light graphic editor program I used to take the snapshot. It is a good one, but has certain quirks. The only other one I have covering that functionality (though seldom use) is IrfanView.
One very worrisome problem with DVD-R/W discs that I recently discovered by accident is they have a "wear out mode".
Basically.. simply.. there is a VTOC section of the disc independent of the larger media portion that can only be written to 49 times.
DVD-RAM shouldn't have the problem, but it might be a tad slower.
I'd suggest finding one DVD-RAM disc and using the heck out of it.. it should hold up.
Panasonic Blue and Green label or an old Toshiba disc are probably best.. but their quality didn't vary as much as DVD media. Medical professionals used DVD-RAM up until very recently so the media was pretty reliable.
But still .. stay away from Memorex just in case.
Verbatim was the last DVD-RAM manufacturer until they sold their entire business a couple years ago.
As the 'oldest' of the DVD-video specifications, it was also the most stable and reliable, contributing to its ultimate longevity and continued use even after DVD-R/RW use has faded.
The DVD-RAM spec didn't sell a lot of media.. because a single disc could last so darned long. It was the ultimate Floppy disc replacement.
Later specs sacrificed a lot in order to appeal to the consumer market and sell more disc media.
In the End, return to the beginning.
If your having trouble finding a PC DVD drive that reads DVD-RAM..
PIONEER Electronics BDR-2212
Its not cheap.. but the quality holds up.
Isobuster is the ultimate cheaper, faster, better way of scoring vast amounts of video from recorder to pc hard drive. But for retrieving complex edits and other reasons.. failing back down to DVD-RAM is probably best in this case.
Last edited by jwillis84; 16th Jul 2021 at 05:34.
I'm pretty sure that I have a few DVD-Ram blanks around here somewhere -- almost certainly never removed from the shrinkwrap. (They'd go back to when Fry's was still with us, and still stocking both that and some videocassette blanks. So, sitting around undisturbed for a long time. Now I just have to find them.) I also have a Pioneer BR drive or two that were bought for PC builds that never happened. Even so, they remain good spares, or as future replacements / upgrades. They are not the same model as you mentioned. One is an older model, another may be an external. Will need to check on that and do some tidying up in various places where gear has accumulated. Most of my installed or in-use computer BR burners are from other brands such as LG though. In (another) sharp counterpoint to prevailing trends, I do not regard optical discs as being obsolete.
Last edited by Seeker47; 16th Jul 2021 at 10:16.
Old DVD-RAM should be ok, it lasts a long time in storage.
I never heard of DVD-RAM ever having polycarbonate separation issues like with DVD-R/RW or + media.
You could try "Washing" the surface of the bad discs with mild soap and water.. in case a film has built up that is preventing the Laser from getting at the media.
Last edited by jwillis84; 16th Jul 2021 at 10:09.
Making slow, gradual progress on xfer archiving stuff off of one Pioneer DVDR, lately down from 359 recorded items to 311 and decreasing. Will need to do that with a couple more DVDRs. In turn, I use them extensively for archiving stuff from the DirecTV DVR satellite boxes -- hopefully in time before the next one croaks, which if past history holds won't be too far off. I find it a great facility to have available, well worth the trouble in editing / chaptering / titling / burning that orsetto correctly described as having tech-sunk this as a "handy" consumer product. While it may have been beyond the ken of the average Joe ex-VCR user, it never dissuaded me. Then again, there are plenty of other tech subjects that did, so I understand.
I'd like to thank you again for all the pioneering work -- no pun intended -- that you did with the developer of IsoBuster, on the DVDR HDD salvage issue ! I'm certain it will be of immense value.
Last edited by Seeker47; 17th Jul 2021 at 11:11.
[Attachment 59904 - Click to enlarge]
O.K., some results, and emerging workflow issues:
Tried to init a DVD-Ram disc in one Pio 640, from the (much older, blue label Panasonic) package above, got an "Incompatible or Unrecognized Disc" error. Then took it to another 640 in a different location, where it did initialize successfully. [I don't know why that was the case, or what differences there might be with another model Pio like the 460 / 560, absent diving into the respective manuals. Or whether it comes down to the status of the respective DVDR burners ?] A recently received Green Label Panasonic DVD-Ram did init successfully on the same "could be problematic" 640. I have Verbatim DVD-Ram media on order, so will see if that makes any difference.
So far, the in-computer optical drives or ones external-for-computer I've tried that didn't happen to be Panasonic, such as LG, have been able to read DVD-Ram. So that's a positive.
DVD-Ram, as with +RW will only work as VR mode, and no finalizing possible, therefore no menus. Clear advantage there for -RW, which I can init for Video mode and finalize with menus. I don't necessarily need the menus later as final result, but it's a great convenience when there are half a dozen items or more on the disc. Otherwise, I have to review the Copy List after the fact and jot down what the contents were for reference. That can get tedious. And leads right into the next issue.
I was glad to confirm that DVDVob2mpg can handle VRO. That winds up being fine on xfers when dealing with single items, like for one shorter documentary recorded years ago, a tribute to James Gandolfini that I just backed up. There is just a single VRO file on the DVD-Ram disc. If it was 2 or 3 distinct items, I expect I could divide them out with Machete, or some other video editor. (No, scratch that: Machete doesn't do .MPG, so it would have to be another editor, like VideoRedo or Solveig MM.) But I just tried one xfer in which the single VRO file comprises a dozen small separate items. Again, that's gonna be tedious . . . unless something like Digiarty's Win-X Copy can turn the VRO back into a \VIDEO_TS structure. Still no menus in that case, but at least separate VOBs to work with. [EDIT: No, looks like it can't, and neither can their HD Converter Deluxe program.] [Correction: turns out both packs of Panasonic DVD-Ram were the Blue Label.]
I guess it will depend on the details as to just how much of a viable solution the DVD-Ram option is likely to be.
Last edited by Seeker47; 22nd Jul 2021 at 16:52.
DVD-RAM was the first DVD-video format established.
DVD-R came along after and mimicked Vinyl Records.
DVD-RW came along even later and introduced the requirement of "finalization" in order to appear like a DVD-R disc to a simple DVD player.
DVD+R and DVD+RW just sort of arrived on the scene after the other formats were standard and backwards supported the DVD-R/RW discs, but in theory had guide tracks so they could compensate for cheaper unstable media quality.
I'm not really surprised by what your seeing.
I would suggest "washing" the discs in mild soap and lukewarm water.. as this seemed to be a best practice with TY discs that kind of got skipped once production moved out of Japan. I'm not saying you have too.. but it seemed more coasters started getting reported across many brands made outside Japan.
The 640 might have an optical 'dust' problem on the inside of the case, that has begun.. to linger in the lens of the optical pickup. The air flow sucks in air from the front and exhausts it out the back.. over time a lot of dust can build up inside the case. It could also be the power supply is getting weaker from capacitor age. Though washing the discs and clearing out the dust may be enough to let it keep going for a little while longer.
The differences between the two 640 machines are hard to determine.. it could be their history, their number of hours used.. even the firmware version they are running.. even though Pioneer rarely issued firmware updates.
I know you'd like to preserve this workflow.. but bottom line is your recordings are at risk and simply getting them off the hard drive and on to a PC should be the most important step in the overall process. Isobuster can alleviate a lot of the format conversion and media issues simply by copying the recordings off in bulk.. either way.. unless you have a Perfect Storm of events.. it doesn't seem like the previous workflow is going to work much longer.
Once the recordings are on a PC, DVD authoring is pretty well understood and supported by many legacy main stream programs like VideoRedo or Premiere or Sony or a million other programs that you can find used for pennies on the dollar.
DVD-RAM sounds like excruciatingly torture to me.. when Isobuster can do the job super fast.. but I have no vested interest in a workflow you've spent literally years using.. we all like to keep doing what we know. I know if my Dad were still around I'd help him do whatever he wanted, however he wanted and just enjoy the time spent with him.
Last edited by jwillis84; 22nd Jul 2021 at 17:59.
Sorry for delay in responding, Seeker47: I haven't logged in for a few weeks.
I would suspect a combination of these particular RW discs starting to "go", in tandem with your Pioneer 640 burners (apparently one more than the other?) beginning to fail. IIRC, the PATA/IDE version of the Sony burner in the 640 models is somewhat more fragile and ages out faster than the modified SATA version deployed in the later 550 and 560 series. FWIW, I've had a couple 640 burners fail on me after just four years moderate use (lifespan 2007-2011) while the 550 and 560 units I burn multiple discs in every day are still going strong since I bought them back in 2008.
It has been my experience that the Pioneers are very sensitive to the slightest flaw in -RW media (heavy usage, tiny tiny scuffs or handling scratches), and will trash them during loading: I've had quite a few TDK 4x -RW get destroyed by Pioneers upon mis-reading. Some could be salvaged by erasing in a PC, but from that point forward they were only usable in a PC (the Pioneers refuse to recognize them). Eventually I hit upon a work flow of re-initializing each "transfer" -RW in the Pioneer every single time I re-used it (this proved much MUCH more reliable than simply "unfinalizing" and deleting the contents to add new content). I'm also extremely careful with handling -RW now: no fingerprints whatsoever, soft sleeve storage, etc.
I'm quite sure I've recycled several TDK 4x -RW more than 49 times recently: I don't dispute that there may be a hard coded 49 time limit, but perhaps that only applies to transactions performed upon one particular initialization? I noticed working that way (deleting old content and adding new without re-initializing), a typical -RW will only survive 8 to 10 transfer cycles before my Pioneers trash it irrevocably. But if I re-initialize in Video mode (erase and reformat) for each new transfer, my -RW discs survive dozens of Pioneer recyclings (as long as I minimize physical wear and tear).
If your two 640 recorders continue to balk even with new -RW discs, you may be better off biting the bullet and "wasting" a 100 pak of good -R media to transfer the contents off their hard drives to your PC. As you've discovered, while DVD-RAM is an interesting media option in terms of convenience and archival features, it isn't ideal for recorder>PC transfer use due to the goofy VRO format. IMO, the best use of DVD-RAM media with Pioneer recorders is to back up their hard drive contents for lossless transfer between various Pioneer / Sony recorder models, or as an archival "live" backup that can be high speed losslessly copied to a replacement HDD in the event of catastrophic original Pioneer HDD failure.
Unfortunately when the Sony-made burners in the Pioneer/Sony collaborative recorders begin to fail, they are difficult/impossible to revive. Unlike the Panasonic or Magnavox recorder burners, the Pioneers aren't very responsive to disc clamp or laser lens cleaning. The Sony burners (at least in the later 550/560 if not the 540/640) are fairly durable, but when they start to go they're dead meat paperweights akin to Toshiba XS recorder burners. When Pio/Sony burning starts getting dodgy and unreliable, the only cure for that recorder is a bespoke Sony replacement burner, and I haven't seen one of those since some obscure British parts supplier was selling them for approx $160 + international shipping fees five or six years ago.
ISObuster HDD video harvesting may indeed be the best transfer option for your 640 units, if their burners continue to frustrate your attempts at optical disc transfer.
Last edited by orsetto; 26th Jul 2021 at 19:07.
Thanks, orsetto. Always great to hear from you, and as usual you filled in some important details that had been unknown to me or unclear. I guess time will tell re those 640 burners. In any absolute sense, I probably should have switched those primary and secondary stations over in favor of x60 Pio units quite some time ago. (Actually, for some reason I had though that one of them was already an x60, and was surprised to find out otherwise.) But I'm basically of the "don't mess with things until they break down" mindset. Besides the hassle of an equipment stack reconfig, these units were still working on a regular basis -- or at least everything other than the burners -- and had plenty of stuff on each HDD that I wanted a continued ready access to. If the burners keep on being intermittently flakey, that could force my hand and limit the options. So far, these burners have not exhibited much of a problem with the usual -Rs. The sample size with +RW or RAMs has been too small to really say, but I haven't seen any failures with those as yet, just the inconveniences that we've noted. Things would have been so much easier for us if that USB xfer thing had been more than just a fleeting, reproduceable, half-assed (and undocumented) experiment for Pioneer, on just one model !