Writes and reads DVD-R/RW and CD-R/RW formats.
DVD data capacity of 4.7GB per single-sided disc.
2X writing speed for DVD-R.
I've just purchased the Pioneer 104 DVD-RW and I have to say its fantastic! The 104 is the OEM version (comes without software)of the Pioneer A04 which is a slightly updated version of the a03 although there appears to be very little difference between the A03 and the A04 I paid about £200 including VAT for the drive from an internet reseller. I have seen the drive retail for slightly less on the major auction sites but was a bit warey for what is quite a major purchase for me. It took me about 10 minutes to install in my PC and most of that was because I couldn't find a screwdriver to take the side pannel off. I have so far only tried 2 pieves of sofware for authoring my DVDs, the first Nero. I used nero to back up a DVD that was public domain and I knew did not contain any copy protection. The DVD was abou 4Gb in size and would therefore fit unaltered on a single DVD-R. I copied the DVD in exactly the same way I would have copied a CD and within about 2 hours of opening the box I had my 1st DVD-R. I hurried to my set top box and was delighted to find that it worked 1st time and was indistingishable from the original. (I know that there are a few DVD players that will not play DVD-R or DVD-RW so its worth checking 1st. www.vcdhelp.com has a compatability check list that covers most players.) The second test I tried was to capture some video from one of my home movies using my video capture card and create a short DVD using Ulead DVD movie factory, including a menu screen with images from the movie! Again very straight forward and fantastic results! I undestand that software is available which will allow you to make backups of your commercial DVD movies but as I am unsure of the legal position with this, I have not persued this option so far. In conclusion therefore, its as easy as creating an audio CD and with blank media starting at under 50p even for 1 offs (about a pound for RW media) you c
an't go wrong. My next test is to back up my hard disk to DVD-RW using nero, but given my success so far I'm very confident of success.
Introduction Pioneer is one of the DVD Forum founder members, together with a consortium of nine other manufacturers (Hitachi, JVC, Matsushita, Mitsubishi, Philips, Sony, Thomson, Time Warner & Toshiba) are backing the DVD-R format. The other competing format is DVD+RW. The Pioneer DVR A03 is the first affordable consumer DVD recorder available. Pioneer has been making DVD writers for a few years now but they have never been affordable and the media has been prohibitively expensive. It was nicked named the "Super Drive" because of the fact that it could write (and read) on almost all modern optical disks i.e. CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW. (Pioneer has had an Authoring drive out since 1997 (DVR-S201)). Pioneer released the A03 at the CE-BIT show in Germany earlier this year. OK, that's the background information out of the way.. lets take a look at the drive. What the package includes The package contains: 1 x Pioneer DVR-103 DVD Writer 1 x Operation Manual 1 x Audio Cable 1x Packet Mounting Screws 1 x Staedtler Pen 2 x DVD-R Pioneer Brand Disks 5 x CD-R Disks 1 x MyDVD Version 2.3 Software 1 x VOB Instant CD/DVD Software I have used the drive know for 3 or so months i`ve converted home movies into DVD format that play on My PS2, Sony Standalone and PC DVD with outstanding quality. Even Mpeg1 films converted to mpeg 2 and played on a full screen tv look impressive. I have also created mp3 dvds from my vast music and record collection, 100 + albums on 1 DVD is great for siting at your PC. The possibiltys are almost end less. A great drive.
DVD is the currently evolving generation of CD-style discs, capable of storing 4.7Gb of data and full high quality Hollywood style videos. Many different versions of what the letters DVD stand for are around, but I'm going to stick with calling it the Digital Versatile Disc - and that's exactly what it is! What is a DVD? -------------- As with CD's, the possibilities are endless. With CD's you were limited to 650Mb (or more recently up to 700Mb) of data. This is sufficient for most home applications, but now that digital video editing is becoming more common in home computer systems, the space limitations caused by CD media, resulted in only being able to store a short duration video - typically 60 minutes using a reasonably quality format in a format called VideoCD. This was the first attempt to fit high quality video on a CD-ROM (with the exception of the large laser discs, which have also disappeared,) although it never really became a success, however, the majority of home DVD players do support it. DVD video is excellent quality. It's stored in a format called MPEG-2 and has the same resolution (number of dots on your screen) as a standard TV, which means you're going to have excellent quality whether it's on your PC or a TV. But it doesn't stop there. A computer DVD can store applications, data, in fact - anything you could store on a standard CD... just a lot more of it. Just over 7 times as much in fact. There are many consumer DVD players (ranging for £100 upwards) and players for PC's (from £80 upwards), but all lack one feature - the ability to write to DVD discs. Until now. Enter the Pioneer DVD-R!! The DVD Writer Itself --------------------- The unit itself is identical to a standard computer CD-ROM drive. It interfaces through a standard IDE connector (the same connector that connects to your hard drives) and requires only this and a power
cable to work. Optionally there's an audio out socket to connect to your sound card for music CD's. The DVD drive I own came as part of the Packard Bell "Video Dre@m Machine" which was bought from PC World for an just over an amazing £750. OK, so it was an ex-display model and would normally retail at over £1000, but it's a bargain. Now the crunch. Unfortunately, this writer currently retails at £649.99... which is way out of reach for most home users - but it does show you what a bargain this complete system was! In time this will fall and as more manufacturers start to introduce their offerings I would expect it to be similar to the CD-RW drives around at the moment. Again with the media. A DVD-R (write once as in CD-R) is around £15 and a DVD-RW (as in CD-RW) costs around £25 - but again this will have to fall. The discs are slightly more special than standard CD's as they're made up of different layers which is how so much data can be stored on them, but the manufacturing process is similar to CD's so mass production is bound to take over at some point. Writing DVDs/CD's ------------------ I use Prassi PrimoDVD as it came bundled with the system. This is a really professional program, and allows for use by both novice users (using the wizard style interface) or for advanced users who like to set options manually. Whichever you are, the process is pretty much as simple as selecting the writer, adding your files and clicking on the red button. Basically the same as most good CD writing software packages. The program automatically detects if the media is DVD or CD and writes the files appropriately. So far everything's worked fine and all writes have worked fine. For techy people out there the DVD writing speed is 2x, and 8x for CD's - all in all to me it seems fairly fast at both. So why would anyone want to write to a DVD? Making your own DVD movies ---
----------------------- Also bundled with the system was MyDVD. As a professional multimedia author I know my way around quite a few multimedia programs - and this is certainly not obvious to use. It's supposed to allow you to create DVD videos (similar to the ones you buy in shops) with menus and interactivity - but it took about 5 hours to work this out fully - and that's with knowing what I'm doing! Still, in the end I managed to make a simple video with a starting menu having a button to play the video. After doing whatever MyDVD does, copying the files to a DVD was straightforward as mentioned in the previous section. The best bit as well, was that it worked like any other commercial DVD in the DVD playing software - but I've still to test it in a home player. Stay tuned! Compatibility -------------- The only problem with creating your own DVDs at the moment is the compatibility, or lack of, between Computer DVD writers and standard home DVD players. Computer Video magazine (www.computervideo.net) recently reviewed this issue and tested a variety of discs on a selection of players - some worked, some didn't. It seems to depend on the manufacturer, but as DVD is still evolving then this will eventually become a standard. Hopefully sooner rather than later. Conclusion ---------- This unit is fantastic and does exactly what is says it's supposed to. If you're a budding movie director then this could be your entrance into the movie scene - albeit a bit more expensive than putting your masterpiece on VHS tape. Whether for video or data it's a great buy although massively overpriced at the moment. The best thing to do at the moment is to wait. Things will settle down and then adding a DVD writer to your system will seem as standard as having fish with chips. But until then, salt and vinegar anyone?