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Is Sony Turning Its Back On CD-Rs? 318

slashdoter asks: "For Christmas my mother got a 5 DVD/CD changer from Sony (model DVP-C660). I hooked it up for her and we both where impressed by the picture and sound quality, anyway for the last year or so I have been using Napster to make CD's of her record collection. Today she put in one of the burned CD's and it would not play. After reading the manual I found the among a list of unsupported formats there was 'CD-R', which really shocked me. Every device in my house playas CD-R's, and I could see this if it was a first generation CD player but the CD-R standard has been out longer than the DVD standard. Is the unit defective or is Sony up to something?" Is there a reason why Sony would make it's DVD player deliberately incompatible with CD-R's which, at first glance, doesn't make much sense.
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Is Sony Turning Its Back On CD-Rs?

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  • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Friday January 12, 2001 @02:11PM (#510519) Homepage
    A lot of DVD players don't support CD-R discs. Don't ask me why it's so; but I don't think it has anything to do with "piracy prevention," it's more by-product of the way the laser picks up data from the discs on DVD players.

    My Pioneer DV-606D doesn't support CD-Rs either, for what it's worth.

    I've actually been wanting a list of players that DO support CD-Rs for a while now. (Besides playing audio CDs, it's useful for VCDs.)
  • by rexmob ( 225442 ) on Friday January 12, 2001 @02:12PM (#510520) Homepage
    I really don't see what is surprising here. This is a DVD changer that also happens to play CD's. 90% of DVD players, due to the makeup of the laser, can't play CD-Rs. Only players from Pioneer, Apex, and a couple other companies can. I guess you should have checked the stats on the player first.
  • Sony obviously wouldn't want people to be able to play CD-R, because they could be ilegal copies. Remeber that Sony doesn't just make hardware, they also own a large record company
  • by Deffexor ( 230167 ) on Friday January 12, 2001 @02:15PM (#510522)
    I think there are a lot of DVD players that don't read CD-R. Apparently the laser used to read DVD, also works well on CD-RW and regular mass produced CDs, but it seems the reflectivity of most CD-Rs is not good enough (or only works some of the time.)

    Check out http://www.vcdhelp.com for a list of DVD players that can read CD-Rs.

  • I can't say for sure why they would do this. I'd imagine it was some bean counter cost thing. From what I understand CD-R discs return only a 1/10th of the laser light that a regular CD does. Therefore they would need more sensitive electronics. Of course, a DVD disc might be the same way (returning a smaller portion of the laser light as compared to a CD disc) which would moot my whole theory. But I'd still consider it a cost thing. Besides, the purpose of Sony is to make money - not do the 'right' thing (support every type of disc known to man).
  • I have a Sharp compact DVD player (purchased because of the size) and it will not play CD-R's as well.

    I've had this DVD player for over a year, and I though (I remember hearing this somewhere) that the DVD-reader (which can also read CD's) cannot support the burn marks of a CD-R. Dont know if that's accurate but you aren't alone.

  • by egon ( 29680 )
    The interesting thing is most of the DVD players I've encountered that don't play CDRs WILL play CDRWs.

    Give a man a match, you keep him warm for an evening.

  • Especially considering the Raite and APEX DVD/MP3 DVD players. I have a Raite model (bought at Fry's, Sunnyvale) that plays my DVDs, plain olde CDs and burned CDs (with MP3s or Audio tracks, no difference) just fine and dandy.

    Perhaps it is an issue with the laser pickup on the DVD player? I don't know the technology to that depth, but perhaps some EE could enlighten (please no pun) us....
  • Me: why would they do that
    Cartman: because they're assholes
    Me: Oh, yeah that makes sence

    Seriously sony have continuously shown they have no interest whatsoever in preserving "fair use" the thinkoholics at sony go.. what are CD-R used for only for pirating music let's not make it work.

  • The idea is that "What you got on them there CD-R's anyway? Prolly pirated music I'd bet..."

    Expect more of this where that came from. My Apex doesn't play mp3 CD's like my roomate's does, it's pretty much pointless asking why. You know why...

    Fist Prost

    "We're talking about a planet of helpdesks."
  • Will they still produce normal CDRs? I find them very reliable, up there with memorex, and TDK, as opposed to some that have random holes in them
  • Can you say "Piracy Prevention"? Thats what its all about. Kevin
  • I see some people saying many DVD drives don't play CD-R's, but for what it's worth, I have what Windows identifies as a "Toshiba DVD-ROM SD-M1202" that not only reads CD-R, but even CD-RW with no trouble. I got it dirt cheap a year and a half ago, before I had a CD burner at all. I wasn't expecting CD-RW to work, that was a nice surprise, but I would have been disappointed if CD-R hadn't.
  • The laser to read DVD's is a different wavelength than the laser needed to read CD-R format. Some DVD's specifically include dual lasers, others do not.
  • by ichimunki ( 194887 ) on Friday January 12, 2001 @02:19PM (#510533)
    I agree, it's probably a technical matter. Something similar to why the average CD-RW won't play in the same machines that play music CD-Rs. I wish I could say it were an evil plot, but Sony are so Jekyll and Hyde on this stuff it's not even funny. Comes with being a huge multinational. The various divisions do NOT work off the same script.
  • I have several musician friends who release a lot of material on CD-R. I'd think that by this point every CD reader should be able to read CD-Rs - there are plenty of legitimate uses, and I'd be real surprised if even Sony would make a decision to stop supporting them. This must just be some funky design flaw with this model's laser.
  • \subject

    And explain the problem politely, but loudly enough for everyone else in line to hear.

  • Let's see©©©

    1© Reading a CD-R requires one wavelength of laser light©
    2© Reading a DVD requires a different wavelength©
    3© Sony gets lazy/tries to cut costs and uses a read laser that can't see CD-Rs ¥maybe©
    666© Insert SONY/RIAA/MPAA-cracks-down-on-piracy conspiracy theories in between any of the above steps©

    -the wunderhorn

  • by Knight ( 10458 ) on Friday January 12, 2001 @02:21PM (#510537)
    I'm as big a fan of a conspiracy theory as anybody, but I'm afraid that the root of this problem is in the type of laser used. When the first prototype DVD devices started appearing on the market, I was a lab monkey at Intel, and we noticed the same problems. The issue was eventually resolved, but it made the device $5-20 more expensive. Most likely, Sony has done a market survey and determined that CD-R is not something that is worth adding that much to the cost of the device.
  • If you want a DVD player that can handle CDr's then you should have bought one with DUAL lasers. Sony does in fact make them, Pioneer makes them, you just have to look (and probably pay a bit more). If you're that concerned about compatibility, then take some various formats of CDr, VCD, ETC with you to your local big box and see what works BEFORE buying. Odds are good that more money was spent on the changer part of the box than the laser part. -info
  • Return it to the place where she got it, and exchange it for a model that has the functions you want. I can't believe an issue like this made it to "Ask Slashdot" for a solution. She really should have checked the specifications of the DVD player before getting it if she's a CD-R user.
  • I had the same problem with my Sony DVP-S300. I couldn't get it to play my CDR's. A friend enlightened me: Use High Quality media ONLY. Cheap CDR's (the ones with blue-green tint) will not play in Sony DVD players. However, higher quality CDRs, the ones with only a very slight tint (and therefore a higher reflectivity) will play in sony DVD players. I proved this empirically.
  • I have a Daewoo DVD/CD Player model DS-2000N and I also cannot play CD-r's.

    Is there a work around for this problem?

  • I haven't been keeping up with the goings on in the industry, but Sony probably acquired a music or some other media company (or made a deal with one), and is using this as some sort of feeble way to discourage bootlegging.
  • by Cheshire Cat ( 105171 ) on Friday January 12, 2001 @02:25PM (#510543) Homepage
    Many DVD players don't support CD-Rs. A quick check of the CD-R FAQ [fadden.com] regarding DVDs [fadden.com] says: CD-R was designed to be read by an infrared 780nm laser. DVD uses a visible red 635nm or 650nm laser, which aren't reflected sufficiently by the organic dye polymers used in CD-R media. Some DVD players come with two lasers so that they can read CD-R.

    So its not at all a conspiracy by Sony to protect its music industry. Especially considering the fact that Sony makes several MP3 players. [sonystyle.com]

  • Many CD-Rs are "invisible" to DVD players' lasers. The specs should mention whether they can handle CD-R(W)s. Here's a link to a part of a DVD FAQ with a little more info. http://www.dvdcity.com/officialfaq.html#2.4.3 [dvdcity.com] Andy
  • Just bought a Panasonic DVD-RV30 [panasonic.com] and its list of supported formats is 3 long (DVD-Video, CD-Video, CD-Audio). The list of un-supported formats is at least 15 long including Photo CD and CD-R (and CD-RW)

    I am afraid I just assumed that it would play the CD-R(W) formats.(I had bought it to replace the 10 year old Yamaha 5 CD changer that played damn near anything shiny and flat I could jam into it) It never mentioned the lack of support for these formats on the box. It wasn't until I RTFM that I saw the extensive list of unsupported formats.

    Needless to say, this one is now earmarked as the spare/bedroom unit and the plans for its replacement are in progress.

  • I tried Winoncd 3.8 MusicAlbum, it stores 7 hours of music on a normal 650 mb cd. I was real excited but when i popped it into my PS2, expecting it to work, I got a screen saying use Ps1/PS2 disc. Now will this lack of support for non-original DVDs prevent them from playing homemade DVD (non-css) once they become popular. It will work with burnt music (normal 1 hour stuff) but not the DVD, and it uses only one laser, so it must not be a laser problem, simply Sony being basterds.
  • Sony is a large record company (and a movie company, too, I think; someone correct me if I'm wrong). Many large record companies are against filesharing technologies (hence the push for copy-protected hard drives). This is just the next logical step in killing off all possible support for copying music, movies, and all other copyrighted content (which is what the MPAA is trying to do). What surprises me, though, is that they waited this long to do something.

    If you don't believe me, look at what they did with the Playstation and Playstation 2s. You have to buy a mod chip or use the swap trick because PSX discs have 0s written in the blocks which CDR and CDRW drives write checksums to.
  • DVDs and CDs use lasers of different wavelength. If you want to use a DVD player with CD-Rs, which are like CDs just a bit tricky because of their lesser reflectivity, you have to use a double laser pickup.

    That obviously increases cost and I guess could impact reliability. AFAIK Sony has never made a player that plays CD-R. Other brands are in that boat too. On the other hand all Pioneer players do, since they have the aforementioned double laser pickup.

    To sum it up, it's mainly an engineering decision.

  • I can confirm that CD-RW's do work with my quite old DVD player. I have played a few B5 VCD's using CD-RW's. USENET still rules. :)

    Be careful about the color of the disc; it does matter. DVD's and CD-RW's are silver as opposed to CD-R's which are blue. The laser used has trouble with the blue discs unless the player is designed specifically for CD-R's.
  • An article like this shows how low the quality of Slashdot's journalism has gone. Making these kinds of rash accusations wihtout a solid knowledge of the facts is irresponsible.

    Due to the way that CD-Rs place pits on the CD-R, the laser that reads the data on the CD-R has to be the same wavelength as a standard infrared laser that CD players use.

    "Silver" CDs will work with the Red laser that DVD players use, since, while the red laser breaks the spec, the pits on CDs pressed from glass masters are more tolerant of the laser's wavelength.

    The DVD players that do work with CD-Rs have to have some extra electronics to work with CD-Rs. Basically, these DVDs have two lasers: one for DVD media, and one for CD and CD-R media.

    Anyway, I think I will go to Kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org] now.

    - Sam

  • Sony also sells records (Epic). Any lengths Sony takes in its home electronics to restrict your ability to copy or to play copies wouldn't surprise me in the least. To my knowledge, Sony is the only company in both the recording and home electronics markets.
  • When DVD players were first released in the US, the only manufacturer who had a player that would work with CD-R discs was Sony.

    The Sony DVP-S3000 and DVP-S7000 were the only two players which featured two separate lasers for playback of DVDs and CDs. Other players accomplished the task of playing Audio CDs by using a lens to refocus the single beam. This lens wasn't able to refocus onto CD-R media. There were even reports of CD-R discs getting damaged by placing them in first generation DVD players, although I've never personally seen it happen.

    If Sony is trying to cut costs, they may have gone to the same type of cheap single-laser-based optics that prevented all non-Sony first-generation DVD players from playing recordable media.

  • From DVD demystified FAQ [dvddemystified.com], "The problem is that CD-Rs (Orange Book Part II) are 'invisible' to DVD laser wavelength because the dye used in CD-Rs doesn't reflect the beam."

    See the section about DVD and CDR [dvddemystified.com].
  • i've been shopping for a DVD player that can play CDs and MP3 CDs, in order to partially replace my aging stereo, and have found that most, if not all the DVD/CD players i've seen will not play (or won't officially support) CDR discs. the only ones that say they will are those that also play MP3 CDs (and it makes sense, as there aren't very many pressed MP3 CDs out there)

    i doubt it's a sony (or pioneer, or panasonic, or AIWA) thing. I suspect it's the lasers the DVD players use. those that read CDR may have an additional laser, or else have a different kind than Joe DVD. they also have the tendency to play VCDs, which makes me think it's more than just an anti-piracy thing.

    anyhoo, my 2 cents, from having spent many hours researching a good combo DVD player [slashdot.org] (i bought a sony, and i'm returning it for an Apex 703 [apexdigitalinc.com] - 3 disc changer, upgradeable firmware, plus MP3 playback)
  • DVD lasers can't pick up CD-R data. You need a dual-laser pickup for that. Not many have this feature (my Pioneer and my Sampo can, however). A lot of newer drives using DVD-ROM internally will be able to, but don't expect this to be a feature of the player unless specifically stated. As for CD-RW and regular CDs, they respond to the DVD light much better so some single-laser pickups can read it.

    Read the box before buying the player. If it doesn't explicitly support CD-R, don't trust it.
  • I've successfully used CDRWs many times on my Sony DVD Player... not the same model, but Sony DVD nonetheless.
  • Of all the manufacturers, I've come across Sony CD players are the fussiest about CD-Rs. Curiously the most compatible player I have is a 10 year old Panasonic Portable SL-NP1A, which has travelled around the world, and, for the last 6 years of it's life has been living in my bathroom!
  • A buddy of mine got himself a dvd player for christmas (JVC, maybe, can't remember.) The store salesman said that it didn't play CD-Rs, and when he read the manual, it also said CD-Rs were unsupported. However, just out of curiosity, he popped an audio CD-R in the dvd player, and to his surprise, it played.
    I suspect that you'll see a lot of dvd players that say they don't support CD-Rs just because it's sort of a fikle media - the quality and playability of the CD may often depend on the quality of writable disc and the manufacturer of the CD burner. Due to such factors, dvd player manufacturers probably don't want to hear about problems relating to CD-Rs, and have to worry about feilding technical support for issues dealing with CD-Rs.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    That's a computer DVD drive. I think the original poster was talking about a "hook up to your stereo and TV" DVD drive.
  • My Sony DVD players doesn't play CD-R's, too. I was warned not to try play CD-R's for extended periods of time since the laser was hotter (or something) and could melt the CD. Sony didn't give me this warning, one of my henchmen did, so take it as you will....
  • I thought it was a well-known fact that Sony doesn't support CD-Rs that well. The reason for this supposably is that they're also a record company.

    Philips, on the other hand, sold its record company (forgot which one it was) when it started producing CD-Writers.

  • I picked up a 5 disc DVD/CD/VCD Sony a little over a year ago, and it plays CD-R's I make just fine,
    both audio cd's and VCD's.

    I haven't tried an mp3 CD-R though, and I really wouldn't expect it to work unless I got a player that specifically mentions mp3s, even though the VCD format is mpeg-1 (so the thing does have an mpeg decoder of some type).

  • See the DVD FAQ [thedigitalbits.com]. The shiny stuff on CD-R's isn't so reflective at the frequency that DVD lasers use.
  • Or the optical equivalent of it. CDs rely on distinguishing between a reflection and not-a-reflection of the laser light. There are many dBs between the two levels on pressed CDs. On burnt CDs the 'mirror' ain't as shiny, and the dull bit, ain't as dull.
    Try different brands of CD-R, or ones burnt on different recorders, perhaps.
    I wouldn't put it down to malice ab initio.

    -- Real Men Don't Use Porn. -- Morality In Media Billboards
  • It just has to be a conspiracy! Conspriacy's are so much more fun! Obviously since Sony is part of "The Man" they're just trying to keep our rights down, Technology be damned. I bet Microsoft is somehow involved in all of this too.

  • I play in a regional niche folk music band. We sell hundreds of CDs and prefer to use CD-Rs since we can make small runs and replace tracks on future runs if we wish. I'd be ticked (and legally injured) if Sony is using their clout in the CD player industry to deliberatly block CD-Rs in order to protect their "corporate music" industry. Now I'm sure there are more legal hurdles than that, but sounds like its well on the way to an anti-trust suit.

    Ob Fact I do believe it is most likely a technical laser issue and not a corporate decision. Just getting the issue raised.

    Ob Anarchy Note Yes, you can get my music for free (that which I am legally allowed to give away anyway, most of our songs are not OpenLyrics tm). http://www.mp3.com/ozark [mp3.com]. Don't go there and rack up our dollars, just go if you want to listen.

  • by atrowe ( 209484 ) on Friday January 12, 2001 @02:32PM (#510570)
    It certainly is a laser issue. The lasers used in DVD players have a much lower wavelength (I believe it's somewhere between 60-70 nm) than a standard CD player. I think most DVD players made today are using blue lasers. These lasers work fine for most audio CD's, but CD-R discs have a much lower reflectivity and cannot reflect the beam back to the pickup with enough efficiency to allow the player to read the disc. Some DVD manufacturer's (such as those in the parent) use a twin laser system that can switch between a standard red laser used for CD's and CD-R's and a narrow beam laser for DVD's.

    Oh and the Apex DVD players are great. The AD660 can read an MPEG 1 or MPEG2 burned straight to a CD-R. No need to format the file as a VCD.

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Friday January 12, 2001 @02:32PM (#510571)
    The question is - is it "supported" or does it "work"?

    If you say you support CD-R, you imply "anything that's CD-R, if you put it in the machine, we can read it", and you imply that your customer support drones are going to have to say "Funny, it should read your CD-R. Guess you'll have to send it back if it doesn't".

    If you say you support CD-Rs of a certain dye type, you then have to educate the consumer about the difference between cyanine and pthallocyanine and all that other stuff. Not bloody likely. C'mon, when CD-R manufacturers change dye formulations on a month-by-month basis, even if your drones could say "Sorry, use only $FOO-stabilized cye CD-Rs", they'd never be able to answer the question "My CD-Rs are from Wal-Mart! Are they $FOO-stabilized?", because nobody knows.

    Now... if CD-Rs are "unsupported", they don't have to worry. Some CD-R media types may work. Some may not. Maybe none will. As long as Sony's up-front and says "unsupported", it's up to you to do the research and figure out if your preferred CD-R brand will work or not.

    By way of analogy, how many of you have Linux "supported" on your laptop? By your ISP? Or do they merely happen to work with certain Linux configurations, with or without official support?

  • I was recently shopping for a home DVD player and I found many that did not support CDR/RW. The first one I purchased, the Samsung DVD-711 support CDR/RW AND MP3. This was extremly cool! The unit itself looks awesome, and the remote is one of the coolest I've seen, but as it was rumored to do, it skipped a couple times only after about 3 days of movie playing.

    There was no way I was going to lay down $200 for a skipping DVD player. I then bought the Pioneer DV333 which had great reviews. And while the remote is terrible/ugly and the unit itself is not too pretty, it plays like a champ and has had absolutly no problems with skipping. It also supports CDR/W.

    If I had my choice I take the looks and remote of the Samsung unit and combine them with the Pioneer engineering for my perfect DVD player. But for now I'll take the good quality of my Pioneer and see what happens in the future. I know that if I was an electronics company, I would support CDR/RW/DVD as I know myself along with a TON others look for that in a player.

    Scott Miga
  • No, this IS a conspiracy to make us stop using CDR's. Sony just wants us to buy cd's from evil monopolists like Amazon.com.

    The only solution is to produce open-sourced dvd players that are free for everyone.
  • > I really don't see what is surprising here. This is a DVD changer that also happens to play CD's.

    People buy 5-changers primarily as a DVD player?

    That's a lot of movies to watch in one night.

  • every single reply to this post has said the same thing: "i think it's the laser" or "the laser has something to do with it." do you people not bother to read the other comments before you post? if there have been 10 comments saying "i think it has something to do with the laser," why add an 11th?

    think people.

    anyhow, i think it has something to do with the lasers they use in DVD players. :)

    - j
  • by TwP ( 149780 ) on Friday January 12, 2001 @02:46PM (#510602) Homepage
    I believe it's somewhere between 60-70 nm

    He-Ne laser --> 683 nm --> red
    Ar-Ion laser --> 514 nm --> green
    blue diode laser --> does not exist

    Blude diode lasers are in development, but have not quite reached the stage where they are reliable/cheap/mass-producable. The substrate material will eat istelf after ~5 days of use.

    I doubt that laser intensity and reflectivity prevent CD-R's from being read by a DVD player. My laptop, which has a toshiba DVD drive, can read CD-R's just fine. It only has one laser. My conclusion from this observation would be that Sony is jerking you around.


  • by BRock97 ( 17460 ) on Friday January 12, 2001 @02:46PM (#510603) Homepage
    I don't know whether folks will find this surprising or not, but the PS2 CAN read CDRs. I listened to one of my collections just the other day with nay a problem from the deck. I also have a 500 series player that can read a VCD and CD from a CDRW, but can not read a CDR disk. You might want to try burning your songs to a CDRW disk and use that! Interestingly, the PS2 can NOT read CDRW....

    Bryan R.
  • An article like this shows how low the quality of Slashdot's journalism has gone. Making these kinds of rash accusations wihtout a solid knowledge of the facts is irresponsible.

    Dude, it's an Ask Slashdot. Somebody asked what was going on, Cliff said that he wasn't sure, but that it didn't make sense. No journalistic-integrity problem here.

  • This is nothing new with Sonys. They are notorious for being picky at playing CDRs. Car Audio enthusiasts have known this for years. You can either use higher quality media, or not buy a Sony.
  • by weenerdog ( 304595 ) on Friday January 12, 2001 @02:57PM (#510623)
    I emailed Sony about the same model above after my well informed electronics store rep told me the bad news with CD-R and their DVD players. In their infinite wisdom to protect their music properties, they are losing twice the business by resisting online distribution, which people are doing anyway, and then locking down their boxes, alienating their customers to seek alternative technologies. Unfortunately, I got the standard corporate babble response. My research tells me that they have calibrated their laser to reject tinted media which make up most CD-R's. However, I am told clear/silver CD-R media works. The Toshiba 4205 5 Disc DVD Player does play CD-R. Being a primarily Sony Buyer when it comes to electronics, I am annoyed enough to make a decision to buy the Toshiba, or an Apex, or Arcam. The last two support MP3 and multi-region coding. You lose Sony. weenerdog
  • The CD standard was designed around red and infrared lasers. It is the wavelength of infrared light more than anything else which sets the limit of 650 Mb; the holes have to be a certain size and that's as many of them as you can fit in the area.

    Besides better tracking DVD's use shorter wavelength lasers so the holes can be smaller. The substrate in CD-R's was designed to be as reflective as possible -- which isn't very -- in the range of wavelengths used by CD players. CD-R's are marginal even in standard CD players; the DVD player sees an even weaker signal than the CD player does because it uses the wrong color light.

    It's no more a matter of piracy prevention than the fact that most regular CD players still won't play CD-RW's, which reflect even less light than CD-R's.

  • by Rahga ( 13479 ) on Friday January 12, 2001 @03:07PM (#510630) Journal
    Phillips have been big on CD-R's and "making your own mixes".... Sony seems to be thinking that supporting CD-Rs and even their long struggling minidisc format will hurt their newest champion, the memory stick. This is a bit odd to me, for it seems like Sony's left hand doesn't know what it's right hand is doing. Sony picture frames, computers, and even printers are supporting the memory stick, but the PS2, DVD players, radio tuners, and TV's arent. The lack of CD-R support is definitely intentional, as even old car CD players support them. It's worth noting that a number of less popular and new DVD player manufacturers are supporting CD-Rs packed with MP3s :) (EPOX is the only one that comes to mind right now)
  • ...popsickle stick!

    "It's not a conspiracy to prevent piracy, it's just the laser! The laser doesn't pick up CD-R's well, it's just the way it works!"

    Did it ever occur to you people that maybe when DVD was being developed, there might have been a conversation that went like this:

    Engineer: "Well, this 60nm blue laser we're using works great, EXCEPT it won't read CD-Rs."

    Executive: "CD-R? What's that? Is that like a CD?"

    Engineer: "Well yeah, it's a recordable CD, so people can write their own CDs. You know, they can backup data, make custom music CDs, whatever."

    Executive: "Oh really."


    Executive: "Well the engineer said they COULD use another type of laser, or a dual-laser doohickey, so it could read CD-Rs, but, ah, you know how [Hollywood | the music division of our humongous multinational greed-driven conglomerate | the lawyers] is/are about recordable media..."

    Executive 2: "Good point. Let's stick with the single blue laser. No copying for you! Muahahaha!"

    Executive: "Muahahaha!"

    Okay, it probably wasn't that nefarious, but did it ever occur to you that they chose that type of laser PARTIALLY BECAUSE IT CAN'T READ CD-Rs WELL?

    Note that I am not claiming that this is what happened, but I find it nearly amazing that no one here even bothered to entertain the possibility.

  • From the article:

    Every device in my house playas (sic) CD-R's

    What, the toaster too? And the coffee maker? And the refrigerator? Where can I get ones like that?!

  • by hatless ( 8275 ) on Friday January 12, 2001 @03:34PM (#510649)
    At the Consumer Electronics Show now wrapping up, Sony showed its first CDR-compatible DVD players. The engineers and marketers said it was because of market demand, and that they did it over the objections of Sony Music. Maybe if y'all read some real news sources and not just rumor-and-conspiracy sites like Slashdot, you'd know this.

    To repeat: Sony fought supporting CDR playback until now, and have been backed into it by consumer demand.

    Remember: the Playstation 2 doesn't play VideoCDs at all, in a market where all other DVD players can play VideoCDs. Sony sells DVDs and CDs. They do resist any technology that erodes those businesses heavily until they're forced to do otherwise.

    If you want a DVD player that can play CDRs, CD-RW, VCD, SVCD, XVCD, MP3s and so forth, everybody knows the way to go is with no-name Chinese-made players, because the Chinese domestic market demands these features, so the manufacturers include support for all of the above. VCDs pressed on CDR media are extremely popular in China, and are in fact driving much of the market for players.
  • by darkphyber ( 175201 ) on Friday January 12, 2001 @03:34PM (#510651)
    The problem with many DVD players that can't read CD-R's is due to the laser pickup. It all has to do with refelectance. Regular CD's are an almost perfect mirror with something like an 85-95% reflectance. CD-R's on the other hand, probably have something like 65% reflectance. CD-RW's have something around 35% reflectance which is why they won't play in all but the newest audio players. I bought a Toshiba SD-1200 DVD player because of the fact that it was inexpensive, had a great picture and also had lots of nice features. I found out when I took it out of the box that it didn't support CD-R's. (even said so in the manual.) ...Or so I thought. Knowing that the problem was more than likely a laser pickup that needed a higher reflectance level on the disc, I tried a number of different brands of CD-R. Eventually I found a brand that worked. Would you belive it, it's a Sony! Sony's CDQ-74CN to be exact. Sony advertises these discs as having "Excellent Optical Technology" or XO. Give this a try.. you may find that it works.
  • by bellings ( 137948 ) on Friday January 12, 2001 @03:38PM (#510654)
    I guess now that Usenet has become essentially unusable, Slashdot is the place to go when your too damned lazy to spend the five minutes it would take to answer this yourself?

    Try this: Go to Google [google.com]. Type in "CDR FAQ" [google.com], and press return. Click on the very first returned link. [fadden.com], for the "Andy McFadden's CD-Recordable Frequently Asked Questions." [fadden.com] Read the table of contents, and follow the link to Can DVD players read CD-Rs? [fadden.com]. Read.

    It would be really, really nice if the guy who posted to "ask slashdot" had done any homework at all, and found out if there was some "unusual" reason his Sony DVD doesn't work with CD-R disks, such as Sony intentionally not supporting some logical format or if this was just the standard Frequently Asked Question that wouldn't even get into most moderated usenet news groups.
  • At the Consumer Electronics Show now wrapping up, Sony showed its first CDR-compatible DVD players.
    FALSE. ALL early Sony DVD players, including the DVP-S7000 and DVP-S3000, supported CD-R media. To make that work, they included two separate lasers, one red and one infrared. Their marketing people have dubbed this feature "dual discrete pickup".

    It is only recently that Sony has offered "cheap" DVD players that omit this feature.

  • The 660 is the replacement for the 600A. No secret menu though : ( It doesn't play all MPEG's and some will play, but with problems (no sound, no color, etc...) Still, not a bad bonus feature. Apex doesn't advertise this ability because it doesn't offer full support.
  • Well, I can tell you that my mother's CD player has some of the same sort of problems with CD-Rs that are described above, and we've found through trial and error that Maxwell CD-Rs always work, TDK's sometimes work, and those cheap ones that come from CompUSA without a spindle never work.



    "We can't all, and some of us don't." -- Eeyore

  • Read the category, bub. If I asked "Microsoft products are easy to use, but not as powerful as Linux; is Linux kept hard to give more power to the Digerati and widen the digital divide? Is the Open Source Movement up to something?" would you go accusing slashdot of yellow journalism, or would you just think I was clueless?



  • by BenBenBen ( 249969 ) on Friday January 12, 2001 @04:04PM (#510674)


    The main reason some (esp 1st gen) DVDs can't read CDRs is precisely to do with the reflectivity. The reflective index of a DVD is typically about 35% that of a (silver) CD. The reflective index of a CDR is.... about 35% that of a (silver) CD.

    I did a training course on mobile (in-car) dvd at pioneer a while back, and they were on about just this problem. The newer machines, those with two lasers or with a holographic-laser diode set, have no trouble.

    However, this doesn't seem to be the case with Sony on this model. I have never seen a unit list CD-R as a standard not supported, and IMO this has to be aimed at the piracy issue. Sony == Columbia Studios == Sony Music, don't forget.

  • Weird! (if true). CD-R's have worse reflectivity than CD, but CD-RW is even worse. More often one sees CD and CD-R working and CD-RW not working. CD-R is close enough to normal CD to usually work.

    Get something with Multi-Read (I think that is what it is called - I am not sure if that only applies to computers) and it should read everything.

    As for piracy, some independent artists use CD-Rs. So stopping CD-Rs from working would hurt legitimate users too. I know that hasn't stopped the MPAA, but the consumer electronics companies are better (not because they are nice out of the goodness of their hearts - but because it is, due to market conditions, profitable for them to be nice - it which case almost any corp would be on our side - they don't fight us when they think being on our side will make them money). Sony is in both camps at once (they own Sony pictures and they make MP3 players, go figure ;)- so the economic incentives apply in both directions. Guess it depends on what side of the house makes the most money/is most susceptable to market influence/is closer to the command structure of the corp (CEO, etc).

  • by aschneid ( 145265 ) on Friday January 12, 2001 @04:25PM (#510687)
    Actually, this might not be true. I have tried all versions of High Quality media and cheap generic media. I have a DVP-S550D, and it will only play CD-RW discs...I have never gotten any CD-R's to play in it, whether it be High Quality or not. Even generic CD-RW's play. My future brother-in-law has the 300, and it plays everything. Most of what I have read on this issue, it is almost always chalked up to laser type. And I'm not just talking material from Sony...I get three home audio magazines delivered and they have all said it at one point or another.
  • Best Buy sells a 200-disc Sony DVD/CD changer and I'm listening to a burned CD copy right now. This player costs $299, and having had it for two months now I'm quite impressed with it.

    By the way, this story scared the living bejesus out of me as I hadn't tried CD-R's in the player until just now. Kinda would have interfered with plan to be a truly evil person by taking all the CD's I bought and copying them so I can listen to them in the car and at home.

  • We had a DVD device in the development version of our product, and when we put in a CDR, it would burn out its laser because the firmware would ratchet up the power until it could read the disc, which was just too much for that particular laser model. Needless to say we went with a different model for the actual product.
  • I bought a Marantz CD changer (http://www.marantz.com/db/?MIval=h_product_full&p rod_id=358 [marantz.com]) for my wife for Christmas. GREAT CD player, and it supports CD-R and CD-RW discs.

    I would highly recommend this changer for anyone concerned about playback of CD-Rs and CD-RWs.

    Marantz also makes this beauty:

    http://www.marantz.com/db/?MIval=h_product_full&pr od_id=496 [marantz.com]

    No, I don't work for Marantz, but I have owned some of their products for quite a while. Great stuff!

  • True true.

    Most DVD players (that I'm aware of) that support CD-R and CD-RW have a second laser that has a different wavelength. In effort to increase their profit margin certain brands of DVD players forgo adding a second laser mechanism.

    So for those of you who want the ability to play burned discs on your DVD player, make sure you read the specs of the next DVD player you buy and make sure it has 2 laser pickups, and you will likely be able to read those CD formats.

    And yes, this is no conspiracy, merely Sony saving an extra buck fifty on that player.

  • I just moved and the trip killed my old CD player, so I decided to go to the local Fred Meyer and get a DVD player to replace it. The first one I got was a Toshiba, and it wouldn't play CDR's. I took it back and bought a Phillips that said right on the box that it plays CDR's.

    Guess what? The box was right. Now, remember...I was shopping for the cheapest one I could find in stock right away. I only paid something like $180 for the one I wanted. I just figured it was like all the other people are saying: it's just the components used in the box, not some crazy-ass conspiracy.

    Now, I'd be pissed if I dropped $500 on a player and it wouldn't play CDR's, but even then I would probably just go trade it in. There's plenty out there that work, so don't get all bent out of shape...just vote with your wallet and buy the one that does what you want.

  • Sony has always been bad with CD-R. Almost all their car audio CD players (including their changers) don't play CD-Rs.

    No, its not a *hidden* conspiracy. It's an *open* and entirely intentional misfeature.
  • Sony's DVD players initially were able to read CD-Rs due to their use of a dual lense setup. Now, none of their DVD players that I know of read CD-Rs.

  • It's not due to reflectivity. CD-Rs reflect about 80% which is very close to the reflectivity of pressed CDs.

  • by RedWizzard ( 192002 ) on Friday January 12, 2001 @09:10PM (#510750)
    He-Ne laser --> 683 nm --> red
    Ar-Ion laser --> 514 nm --> green
    The Philips DVD710 (one model I was looking at buying) uses dual laser pickup: 650nm for DVD and 780nm for CD (including VCD) / CD-R / CD-RW. Other manufacturers advertising dual laser pickup and/or CD-R compatibility include LG, JVC, NEC, Pioneer, and high end Samsung units. Sony and Sharp don't seem to bother. Most low-end (unknown) brands that feature MP3 playback will also handle CD-Rs. The buyer of the unit in the original story didn't do their homework.
    I doubt that laser intensity and reflectivity prevent CD-R's from being read by a DVD player. My laptop, which has a toshiba DVD drive, can read CD-R's just fine. It only has one laser. My conclusion from this observation would be that Sony is jerking you around.
    CD-R compatibility is far more important in a computer than in a stand alone DVD player. Unless the player also supports MP3 (or MPEG1/2 file) playback, CD-R compatibility is only useful for playing CDDA formatted CDs (i.e. audio CDs). That's a small market. I bought a Sony DVD336 knowing it didn't support CD-Rs and had no qualms about it since I already have a 5 disc CD changer which does handle CD-Rs. MP3 playback would be nice but the reviews for the models I looked at said that MP3 playback was pretty rough at this point (most players ignore the directory structure and present the whole CD's contents as a single list). I believe a standard is being developed for MP3 (and other format) CDs which should mean that future players have better support. When that happens you can be sure Sony's players will also support CD-Rs.
  • Pioneer and Apple have created what they call the Superdrive that can read/burn both CDs and DVDs. In Jobs MacWorld Expo keynote, he noted that other drives were in development for other companies for release this summer that would do everything but burn DVDs. Read about it here. [apple.com]

    So there is no technical reason it can't be done. Maybe a patent reason though.

  • by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Friday January 12, 2001 @09:34PM (#510755) Journal
    Sony would make it's DVD player deliberately incompatible with CD-R's

    Maybe its, Ummmh, uh I dunno... maybe it is because sony is the most evil,controlling,$WHORES$ in media & electronics today?

    Have we not determined -- through the lessons of BetaMax, MemoryStick & the "we will block it at the ISP, we will block it at the computer, we will block it at your HD" quote from the VP of ?????? we still wonder why SONY would purposely stop CDR playback?

    I was in Chicago for NewYears, I went downtown to see the AIBO at the sony store. I purposely (to help interfere with meme propagation) asked the 'Help Desk' if sony made any DVDs without region encoding ((or switchable regions) knowing full well they had none). His reply "Well - sony has a large interest in the media industry and they are worried about protecting their property - they wont even sell CDRs in their PCs because of this".

    It is beyond astonishing that /. would post a story with the stupid "deliberately incompatible" question in the body.

    Surely I cant be the only one NOT surprised at this - didnt we already learn that sony is one of the worst IP fucks on the planet? Is anyone surprised that they would do this? Is everyone reading /. sleeping or just 'Cliff' & 'Slashdotter'?

    Its almost depressing to come to this site and read story after story of how sony (and others) repeatedly act this way -- then we get stories like this one -- Is anyone awake or are they caught in a haze of hyper-info that has obliterated their memory and cognative recolection? Why seek information if you are incapable of learning any lessons from it and adjusting your behaviour? I thought that the /. crowd would be more 'in-tune' with the 'big picture' - but it seems that we are as addle-minded at the population at large: Dazed and confused by the world around us, so much so that the obvious becomes surreal and existance is a picture-show. Was there anyone not thouroughly disgusted with sony before this?

    WTF - Am I the only one who remembers anymore????

  • I have a Toshiba that doesn't support CD-Rs. I too tried it out. I found that new CD-Rs worked fine (the player seems to make more noise), but older ones with small scratches were dreadful. The sound deteriotates further into the disc too.
  • His reply "Well - sony has a large interest in the media industry and they are worried about protecting their property - they wont even sell CDRs in their PCs because of this".

    Did you even bother to verify that statement? Apparently not, because a simple check at sony.com shows that all of their desktop PC models can be ordered with CD-RW drives directly from Sony.
  • My ISP doesn't support any OS. They successfully communicate with any OS that functions with standard protocols.

  • For those outside the USA, check out the LG 2300 - it'll play *anything* you can throw at it in the media department, except MP3s.

  • Remember: the Playstation 2 doesn't play VideoCDs at all, in a market where all other DVD players can play VideoCDs.

    My Samsung DVD-905 for one - it will play regular audio CD-R's but barfs horribly when presented with a VideoCD.
  • really? meanwhile sales of CDR drives estimate at $400m a year and increase 80% yearly...

    Right... where did they do their research? 1991?

    Nope. 1984.


  • Yes I have, and no you can't. Sorry.

    Bryan R.
  • Slightly offtopic, but a suggestion:

    My Pioneer DV333 (cheapest Pioneer model -- got it on sale) plays DVD, CD, CDR, and CDRW(haven't tested CDRW). I've successfully encoded episodes of Futurama to VCD (CDR) to watch on my player, and I use CDR-audio all the time.

    It's supposed to play SVCD, too, which is cool. I should get off my butt and try that someday (-:
  • Most DVD players that don't support CD-R's do so for simple cost and complexity reasons.

    The reason the 630nm red laser cannot read a CD-R is simply because the dye is invisible to that spectrum -- CD-R's were designed for 780nm CD drives. However, all DVD players can read CD-RW's -- most do a better job at it than CD-ROM drives.
  • by alexburke ( 119254 ) <alex+slashdot@@@alexburke...ca> on Saturday January 13, 2001 @08:20PM (#510818)
    A normal CD is 70% reflective. A CD-R is 30% reflective. A CD-RW is 5% reflective.

    Sony's Dual Discrete optical pickup block has two lasers, one IR and one red. As far as I know, there's absolutely no reason the IR pickup would be capable of picking up CD-RWs but not CD-Rs unless there was some firmware problem/limitation.

    You remember how CD-ROM drives a while ago weren't able to read CD-RWs but could read CD-Rs? That's because the firmware didn't know a valid CD could have such a low reflectivity, and assumed there was no disc in the drive (or just plain couldn't read it). However, newer drives will crank up the gain on the photodiode used in the pickup block in order to "see" the very faint reflection from CD-RWs.

    I've personally used more than 500 Sony CD-Rs (CDQ-74CN; I buy them by the box of 100 in jewel cases), and they are high quality CD-Rs, but the "XO" moniker is purely marketing hype. Sony CD-Rs are manufactured by Taiyo Yuden and have precisely the same composition of Azo (blue) dye as any other Taiyo Yuden CD-R. (If you don't believe me, get a program that will read the ATIP [absolute time in pregroove] of a CD-R disc, and it will quote the manufacturer as Taiyo Yuden.) Incidentally, Sony CD-RWs are manufactured by Mitsubishi Chemical, if I have my facts straight.

  • Adam, you have absolutely no clue what you're talking about. CD uses infrared (735nm) lasers, and DVD uses red (635-650nm) lasers.

    Pressed CDs are 70% reflective, CD-Rs are 35% reflective, CD-RWs are 5% reflective.

    Yes, Sony has a "Dual Discrete optical pickup", which is two pickup blocks in one (two lasers, two lenses, two photodiodes). One is IR, one is red.

    Blue lasers cannot currently be mass-produced.

  • I've got Memorex discs that are gold on top and bright blue on the recording surface. Haven't had any problems with 'em. The CD-RWs are generic CompUSA crap, and they're also fine.
  • And, because of its ability to be used in seditious/thought-provoking manner, the word "people" will be banned in the next iteration of DMCA. Please use the word "persons" instead ;p
  • "evil monopolists like Amazon.com."

    HA! I laugh! Amazon is hemorraging...it can't even turn a profit. Monopoly? Not by a long shot. And I actually find Amazon a whole lot *less* evil than gigantic publishers/distributers (*cough* Barnes and Nobles *cough*).
  • Yeah, from what I've read, Pioneers do a pretty good job of handling the different media. I know its something I looked into carefully before buying a DVD player.

    Scott Miga
  • My Pioneer 505 won't play CD-Rs, but my 909 (combo LD/DVD player) will, because it has a laserdisc pickup which not only has a dual laser (so it uses the right wavelength), but is a lot better designed.

    The pickups in regular DVD players are built like the ones in CDs and CD-ROMs. Some DVD players (Apex, for instance) actually use regular IDE DVD-ROM drives. The pickups in laserdiscs are big monsters, but they're still smaller than the first generation LD players (before CD came out!) which use HeNe tubes because they didn't have laser diodes back then.

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?