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Old 21 Jan 2004, 02:02 PM   #1
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Question-2 Freezing / Pausing problems on certain commercial DVD's

I bought a new Toshiba DVD/VCR combo (SD-V391). This was to replace my old Panasonic DVD player which froze and skipped a lot when playing some DVDs. For instance, the old Panasonic used to freeze hard in one particular scene of a James Bond movie. When I bought the new Toshiba, it played right through this scene without issue.

However... After watching a number of DVDs with my new player, I'm starting to find that other DVDs are freezing and skipping. Badly. I watched the entire 4th season of Babylon 5 on the new Toshiba without a problem. I watched the entire 1st season of Friends on the new Toshiba. But on the second season of Friends, on the 3rd CD, it started freezing so much I couldn't watch it. Sometimes the disc wouldn't even load (I'd get an "ERR" on the player readout). Other times I could get it to the menu, and start playing, and it would play OK for a short time and then start freezing and skipping, and losing audio. In my iMac, it plays flawlessly.

So the next movie CD I played, Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, also froze a lot. So did The Love Bug, but not as badly. All of these play fine in my iMac. So why is this happening?

The freezes don't always take place in the exact same place, as one would expect with a disc flaw. But they do take place in the same general area.

Any ideas as to my problem? Why can't I find a DVD player that plays all my commercial DVDs without issue? Or, why do I keep finding flawed DVDs?
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Old 21 Jan 2004, 05:39 PM   #2
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Sounds like it's time to run a DVD/CD cleaner on your player. Maxell makes one that retails for approximately $10US...
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Old 22 Jan 2004, 03:15 PM   #3
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Yeah I already tried that. But the machine is only 1 month old, so it seems early for such a cleaning anyway. The cleaning DVD (which has a little brush on it that runs for just a few seconds) didn't make any difference.
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Old 23 Jan 2004, 04:37 AM   #4
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"The cleaning DVD (which has a little brush on it that runs for just a few seconds) didn't make any difference."

If you're using the Maxell DVD/CD cleaning disc that I suggested, you have to select Track 2 and run it for at least 2 minutes...
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Old 23 Jan 2004, 09:15 AM   #5
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The one I'm using is by DiscWasher. I have to put it on track 4, as the audio tells me to, but it only runs on track 4 for several seconds before it tells me it's clean.

Also, I don't think my machine is dirty. If it were, wouldn't it have a problem with all my DVDs? Why only specific discs, and only in specific scenes? This selectivity indicates to me that there is a disc-specific issue that my machine is having trouble with. I've heard Layer 2 causing problems in some machines.
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Old 30 Jan 2004, 01:13 PM   #6
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If I were you, I'd try taking some of your dvds to a friends place that has a dvd player and ask if you can play some of your dvds in their players and see if the same problem occurs. I have four Panasonic dvd recorder decks, and I record a lot of shows on those decks, but I've never had any problem playing store bought dvd movies on them, at all. Now the same can't be said about some of the dvds I've burned on them myself of shows I've recorded off cable. As a matter of fact, I had to re-burn some of the dvds I burned of the mini series "Taken", off the Sci-Fi channel because some of them were experiencing the same problems you've been having.
Anyway, try taking some of your dvds to play on other decks and see if they continue to skip.

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Old 30 Jan 2004, 01:36 PM   #7
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An "entry-level" Pioneer dvd player can be found @ Wal-Mart for less than $100.00 (when they are in stock (same online as they are very popular)), no problems with mine and it does have most of the "bells and whistles", DTS, etc.. Compatibility is about like a PS2 or XBox (no rejected dvd-roms), will even play vcd's. Most stores (larger stores) have a 90 day money-back, don't they.
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Old 31 Jan 2004, 12:24 AM   #8
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My unit is still within its 90 day warranty so I'm going to try to get to the bottom of this. The strange irony here is that the reason I got this new machine is because my old Panasonic DVD player was doing THE SAME THING, although far worse. Some DVDs played fine, many did not. (Many more than this one, to be sure. This one plays several DVDs that the other one could never make it through without freezing up on specific scenes.) The old one used to play flawlessly up until about a year ago. I have to admit that sounds a lot like a dirty machine issue, but I tried cleaning the thing with the cleaner I bought and there was no effect, and again I return to the question, why would it only have problems with certain scenes and certain discs? I may get the cleaner suggested above and see if it makes any difference. This is such a new machine that I find it suspicious that it should get "dirty" after only 40 days of casual use in a pet-free child-free apartment.

Anyway I don't know anybody nearby who has a DVD player (oddly enough), except the person I gave my old player to (who is having the same problem with it that I had). I might go down to Circuit City and ask them if I can play a couple of my "bad" DVDs in one or two of their machines, on the premise that if the DVDs play OK I might buy their machine and return my current one on its 90 day warranty.

Last edited by symphonitron; 31 Jan 2004 at 12:28 AM
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Old 31 Jan 2004, 01:04 AM   #9
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I've got the same symptoms as you, on my not quite 3-year old stand alone player, and I narrowed it down to what you have already suggested, that some players cannot read double density disks. If that is the case, then bring it back immediately and get one that can read as many formats as possible. Since I discovered this after the return window closed, I have had to resort to copying DVDs and shrinking them onto DVD-5 media so that stand alone player can read them. While I bought mine three years ago, when things were in flux from DVD-5 to DVD-9, there is no reason you should pay good money for one that cannot handle both today. To be safe, bring your disks to the store.
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Old 31 Jan 2004, 03:34 AM   #10
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This is the unit I bought:
http://www.onecall.com/PID_20509.htm?BCPID=372

(I bought mine from J&R however.)

I bought it specifically because I thought it could play as many formats as I could find that mattered to me. A lot of you know more about this sort of thing than I; if you can see a reason based on the product description why I may have this problem, let me know.

I spoke with the Toshiba customer support today and got someone who seems to be a bit more knowledgable than my last attempt. He said he was pretty sure I'm dealing with minor flaws in some discs that the player is hyper-sensitive to. (This was my original theory as well, but it's the reason I replaced my other player.) The solution of course is either to exchange the bad discs and hope it improves, or return the player via the 90 day manufacturer's warranty. However I may have to show that the player is freezing up on a majority of my discs, rather than just a few select ones.
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Old 2 Feb 2004, 05:47 PM   #11
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My "entr level" Pioneer from Wal Mart plays most problem discs.

There are some mastering error discs, the Bond series contained @ least one. The new shrink contains the layer removal feature (hint-hint).
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Old 4 Feb 2004, 09:42 AM   #12
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I think all different brands of dvd players are prone to this problem. I bought my wife a Samsung dvd player last year sometime, and she hasn't had any problems with it, except for one dvd that I bought her online. It was "The Miracle On 34th Street" dvd, and I figured it would play alright, since she's had no problems with playing other dvds. As it turned out, in a couple of spots in the movie it would pause and just stay frozen there until she would press the fast forward button, and then it would start playing again with no problem. Up until that time she'd never had a problem with any of her dvds.

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Old 4 Feb 2004, 12:49 PM   #13
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Have you tried cleaning the DVDs themselves? Maybe you're not being as careful as you should in handling them. Use isopropyl alcohol (any drug store) and well washed cotton.
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Old 4 Feb 2004, 01:06 PM   #14
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The DVDs are clean, and I handle them like a pro. This is not a problem of unclean or scratched DVDs. They are brand new. And when I do run into a problem, sometimes I do try cleaning it with a special kit, with the right fluid, though nothing visible can be seen, and it makes absolutely no difference. Toshiba maintains many DVDs contain hidden flaws. My computers (iMacs) seem to be able to play DVDs no matter what their problem, but so far I've had 2 DVD players and I'm having the same problem with both of them (yet with fewer cases using the Toshiba as with the Panasonic).

I'm convinced Toshiba is telling me the truth. I think every DVD player is different, and some are more sensitive to flaws than others. It has nothing to do with how many types of discs it plays (VCDs, etc.).

My issue is it seems like so far I haven't been very lucky in choosing a player that works with 100% of my commercial collection.
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Old 5 Feb 2004, 08:37 AM   #15
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symphonitron,

I have heard of many Toshiba complaints.

DVDShrink has the layer removal feature which removes some freezing on D-5's. On some problem discs (freezing, jerkiness, etc., the back-ups play better than the original. As to why : some original discs are notorious for "disc wobble", etc.. On back-ups, that wobble, etc. is no longer an issue. There are many backed-up movies which play better than the original.

As to why a computer software dvd player plays such without a problem, the dvd drive and software is better @ playing such problem discs (though not every time).

This is the reason why the bargain basement Apex are chosen by so many as all an Apex basically is, is a computer dvd-rom drive with some software (which is more tolerant to format, etc.) and an s-video out. Quality problems plague Apex dvd players, though.

Try a Pioneer dvd player and see the difference.

If your player has problems playing some discs, post which discs are problematic and ask whom doesn't have a problem playing such discsand ask what standalone player they use. Be sure to note which region, format (NTSC or PAL), special edition, etc.. Surely, your answer is there.

Last edited by Quality's Proof; 5 Feb 2004 at 08:43 AM
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