Just when things were promising to be so easy for the consumer, there is a complication.  Nothing too big, but you need to know.

If all you do or will, likely, ever do, is play purchased or rented DVD movies, there is no cause for concern.  ANY DVD player or recorder you now have or will buy will play those standard movies.  Of course, within a year or two, you will be able to buy a DVD player that will play some form of High Definition DVD movies, but that is not of immediate concern.

However, if, like me, you are or will be burning your own DVDs, you need to be forewarned.  You might burn your own DVDs that are transfers from your old family videos on tape.  You MUST get them off tape and onto the more stable and long-lasting media of a DVD.

You might burn DVDs that are copies of your movies (legal copies or not, that is not for me to judge).  You might burn DVDs that are as you used to do with tapes.  That is, you might record something from TV using a re-recordable DVD, just like re-using VHS videotape.  After all, why commit a few dollars of DVD media for one-time use when you can, for this purpose, use it again and again?  And that is where there is likely a problem you will need to address.

I discovered that my existing DVD players around here will all play my burned DVD-R (that’s DASH-R and not MINUS-R) discs.  My oldest player will not recognize my “+R” recordings.  Both the “-R” and “+R” discs are single-use media, and are the most common standard on computer and consumer DVD recorders.  Just about ANY new player will handle both, but, still, it is a good idea to verify this feature’s existence before buying,

Of greater importance is the machine’s ability to play the standard re-recordable formats, DVD-RW and DVD+RW.  I discovered that none of my existing players would accept either kind of RW media.  Now, that’s a problem and promises to become more important an issue as time moves forward.

So, a word to the wise, since many of you will be interested in creating both single-use and re-recordable DVDs that you will want to play on more than the originating recording DVD drive.  I know I will ONLY buy DVD players that can play them all (or at least one of the –R/RW or +R/RW formats), and that includes music CDs I burn that might be “RW” discs and CDs recorded in MP3 format.

Check the product specs before you buy!

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