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Help!  My DVD won't play!

A word about DVD playback—

Sometimes a duplicated DVD will not play properly or at all in a DVD player or computer. Don’t panic.

If you've ever had a VHS movie tape from England and tried to play it in an American player, you experienced "incompatibility."  Or if you're old enough, you remember the two original home video formats--Beta and VHS--which were completely incompatible.  That's something like what's happened, especially with the early DVD technology.  But the situation is improving!

With a table-top DVD player, try turning it off, then waiting a minute and turning it back on again.  These players sometimes just get cluttered up when they've been on for awhile and need to be cleared out.  So then try playing your DVD again.

With a computer drive player, see additional info below about computer issues.

If you're playing back for a major event or large audience, we still recommend playing back from tape.  It's more reliable and will not freeze or stutter like DVD technology still can.  Consider renting a tape deck that plays back mini-DV or DVCAM or Betacam for your important showing. We have seen disappointments in playback, due to the varied DVD technologies, and not because of anything wrong with the production and duplication of the DVD itself.

Want a little more detail? The fact of DVD life right now is this: DVD is still a somewhat non-standard industry. There are “Replicated DVDs” made by a stamping process; that’s what you get when you buy a movie at Blockbuster. Then there are “duplicated DVDs,” which is a different and less expensive process.

Duplicated DVDs come in Minus R (-R) and Plus R (+R) formats.

Every DVD player for sale in America has codes on the box which tell exactly what types of DVD that particular machine will play. The good news is that most newer machines will play a whole list of various formats, while older ones play less.

The most prevalent duplicated DVD is the DVD-R. It plays, by far, in the most machines. But some customers may want a DVD+R for people with +R machines that don’t also play –R.

Sometimes a DVD will not play properly on the DVD drive of a personal computer. It may be choppy, or stop to give the computer time to “catch up.” This is a separate issue. At least three things affect playback performance on computers.

1) quality of the DVD drive in the computer

2) intensity of the laser

3) how much memory is available

The fact that a DVD-R won’t play in a particular DVD player or computer is not the fault of the program producer, the duplication house, or the organization that distributes the DVDs. It’s just a fact of life because the industry hasn’t reached a unified standard. We regret but can’t change it.

You may want to include on your DVD label whether it is a -R or +R to help those playing your program.

Note: All of the above relates to DVDs in America and our “zone.” To prevent massive international piracy, entertainment gurus now have the world divided up into zones of incompatibility--a completely separate issue from this information sheet.

Copyright 2008 Alpha Video Productions