There have been discussions of this in other threads, but I don't think it's a bad idea to have a thread expressly devoted to this subject. In fact, I'm going to stick it to the top.
As you may know, it's a tricky topic, because the brand name on the disc doesn't tell you much. The manufacture of DVD recordable media is almost always subcontracted out to different plants. You can buy five different spindles of identically labeled discs, and they'll all be from different sources.
That being said, I've had the best luck in my E80 with TDK's 2x discs in the 25-unit spindles. Best Buy and Staples routinely place these on sale, and I stock up whenever they do.
I am still waiting to purchase a set-top dvd recorder however I own several pc dvd burners and I have always had great success with Ritek dvd-r/rw. There is a very reliable site called Rima that sells these disks for a very good price. Most of the people over at Doom9, which is a good site for dvd authoring related information, recommend Riteks as well.
Thanks guy's for the information!! Michael I did not know that about the production being sub contracted. I have herd that the RITEK 's were good. I just picked up a couple of Sony's which i have not tried yet and virbatem digital movie dvd-r's will see if they are any better.
I just ordered a spindle of the ritek's .60 each per disk .
thanks again for the help as I'm feeling that it's not the unit but the media.
It is difficult to go by brands as different batches come from different manufacturers, but so far I've decided to avoid any brands I have a problem with. Last year I bought a lot of CompUSA DVD+RWs since they were cheapest, most have worked fine but a couple don't always want to play when first inserted (I usually play them on my Pioneer DVL-909, as it's an older player I figure if they play flawlessly on that then they should play on anything else as well.) I bought 4 CompUSA +Rs (non-rewritable) and ALL of them would not play on any machine without freezing up! So CompUSA discs are now out for a while. I have 2 Sony +RWs which freeze up towards the end, checking them in a machine with the cover open I saw the discs were a bit warped, so I haven't bought any more of their blanks either. I've heard that Memorex should be avoided, but I've bought packs of their discs since they're often a lot less expensive than other brands and have had no problems recording or playing back so far. My friend says that the best blanks are made in Japan by a company called Taiyo-Uden, the easiest way to spot them is to check the package where the discs were made. Most of the ones I've used are made in Taiwan, where there are several manufacturers, some good and some not so good.
Dennis - if you're paying $.60 for your Ritek's you might want to find another vendor. I routinely get them for $.50 at places like Shop4Tech(.com) or Meritline(.com) and usually with FREE shipping (at S4T usually).
I have done over 1500 recordings with Pana HS2, E80, and E85. I have found what other Pana users told me back before I bought the HS2 - I had more failures with 25-pack spindles of Memorex and Verbatim than with all my 100-pack spindles of Ritek and my #1 choice for high-end stuff which is Fuji. They're twice the cost but I have had so few failures it's amazing.
In reading here I also realized that different recorders/mfgrs had different brands that did or did not work so your mileage may vary of course.
I've been using Ritek/Ridata disks for a while now with no problems at all. Can find them on special all the time through Ben's Bargains. I've also used Matrix, Memorex, Phillips, TDK and Verbatium. Stay away from Sonic.
Having just gotten a computer that can duplicate DVDs, I've found that disc types are a lot more critical than they are with the stand-alone recorder. The Pioneer showed several glitches when playing Memorex DVD+RWs recorded on the PC drive, but played the same recording fine when it was put onto a Maxell DVD-R. Another player was able to play the Memorex disc fine, but I use the Pioneer as the acid test since it's the older player. Again, the Pioneer hasn't had problems playing the Memorex discs when they're recorded off the stand-alone, but does when they're off the PC drive.
I'm a newbie to DVD burning since I purchased my first computer burner last week. So far I have only tried a few Ritek DVD-R discs and they appear to work great with my Plextor PX-708A with no coasters after 2 tries!
Also the discs appear to play fine on 4 out 5 stand alone DVD players I own. Even my first and oldest DVD player a Pioneer DVL-909 will play the media. But my only complaint with the recorded disc on the Pioneer is that it appears to looked washed out compared to my other players. I will have to look into it further and see if the original copy looks better on the Pioneer.
However my Toshiba 3109 will not recognize the discs. I get a blue screen with a message of disc error and to check the disc. But otherwise the quality of the RiDATA DVD media appears to be good, and the price very reasonable at about $0.50 each.
Futureshop has Maxell DVD-R/+R discs on sale this week for $29.99 when they are regularily $54.99 (40% off).
I picked up 3 spindles myself and ran DVDInfoPro on them to get the media ID which is MXLRG02 which is rated #1 media at Digital FAQ Media Guide. I also ran the read error test after 3 burns and there were no read errors and readable at highspeeds. Very solid media. I would highly recommend picking these up!