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Imemories Tutorial

Every now and then, you may discover that the home movies you recently had converted to DVD format will not play on your DVD player at home. The first thing to do is check your DVD player at home to see when it was made, and whether it’s a popular brand or an “off-brand.” Your equipment may have been manufactured before the newer, DVD-R or DVD+R disks, which are the most typically used for preserving home video footage, came on the market. Or, the equipment may have been produced by a company that chose to limit the kinds of DVDs that could be played on it. Home movie disks, which represent “burned” media, are different from the “pressed” media used by Hollywood to mass produce their blockbuster movies. For the most versatility, you will need a contemporary DVD player that is designed to run both burned and pressed disks.

If you’ve ever tried to play your newly transferred home movie DVD on your player at home and found it didn’t work, this article is for you. DVDs can represent a very complicated topic, but you only need to remember a few key things in order to determine where the problem lies.

It’s important to know that DVDs are manufactured in different “flavors” that surprisingly are not universal. So a little-explained fact by the DVD equipment manufacturers is that their systems may not be able to accommodate all the various kinds of DVDs on the market today.

While the percentage of these incidents is very small, nonetheless, it can be quite frustrating. Most consumers don’t check their DVD player manuals to see what kinds of DVDs it will run, and don’t discover a problem until they try to play their new home movie DVD for the first time. What’s confusing is that the same DVD player may play their favorite mass-produced (also known as “pressed”) Hollywood movie DVD, such as “Titanic” but won’t play the home movie DVD. It’s logical to think that something is wrong with the disk itself, but it’s actually due to the age or brand of the DVD player itself.

The two most common causes are that your equipment is of an older vintage that pre-dates today’s most popular DVD formats, DVD-R or DVD+R; or you purchased what’s considered an “off-brand” DVD player, in which the manufacturer produced the equipment in such a way as to streamline manufacturing costs and time, and included compatibility for only a limited selection of DVD disks.

You have three options if you try your new home movie DVD and it doesn’t work:

1) Test the DVD on another player you have in the house; the solution might be as simple as using another piece of equipment.

2) Try viewing your home movie DVD on your PC, if your computer includes a DVD drive. (It’s easy to determine if your PC supports a DVD drive — just check the side of your computer where the drive is located. This is the tray that pops out when you press on it. If there is a DVD logo on it, then it will play DVDs. If you see just a CD or CD-ROM logo, however, then your PC does not have DVD capability and you will not be able to view the disk).

3) Check the age of your DVD player. If it was manufactured before the newer DVD-R disks came on the market, i.e. before approximately 1999, then you will probably have to buy a new DVD player. Fortunately, DVD players have become so popular and commoditized that the prices have become extremely affordable.

About iMemories

iMemories is a leader in the dynamic Web 2.0-generation of Internet services. The company transforms old-media memories into crystal-clear digital files that consumers can enjoy and share—whenever and wherever they like.

In iMemories’ 8,500-square foot fiber-optic studio, production professionals use state-of-the-art technology and techniques to convert old home-movie films, videotapes, photographs and slides into organized archives and full-length digital productions. Memories that were deteriorating in the dark are preserved forever on optical disc—and easy to edit, organize, store and share worldwide through iMemories’ private, secure online user experience.

In a market crowded with audiovisual houses and small firms offering basic video-transfer services, iMemories’ technology and expertise enable it to deliver a premium product efficiently and affordably. Founded and led by new-media entrepreneur Mark Rukavina, iMemories is privately held and based in Scottsdale, Ariz. To learn more, visit or call 480-767-2510.

©1998-2007 iMemories. iMemories name and iMemories mark are trademarks of iMemories, LLC. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


This article is provided as an educational guide for iMemories customers. Use of or reliance upon the information set forth in this article shall be at the reader’s own risk, and shall not establish any contractual or other legal relationship between the author and the users of this information.


Burned Media/Disks: Burned disks are used when data is going to be copied in smaller quantities. The bottom of the disk is usually blue or gold. A laser technique “burns,” i.e. cuts away, the data on the disk. This is the kind of disk used by iMemories and other home movie editing services.

DVD-R: this represents the majority of disks, and are non-rewritable; in other words, you can’t record or “write” over the data on the disk once it’s in place. iMemories uses this type of disk so that you can’t accidentally delete or record your footage on the disk when you play it.

DVD+R: this is also a non-rewriteable format, but slightly less prevalent than the DVD-R disks. They are dual layer disks, which mean they can contain more data; in this case, video footage.

DVD-RW: these disks enable users to re-record data over and over, so are not safe to use for home movie footage where the visuals are valuable and meant to be preserved intact forever.

Pressed Media/Disks – pressed media is the technique used by Hollywood to manufacture hundreds of thousands of DVD copies of a popular movie. This method uses a multimillion dollar piece of equipment to create a master disk, from which the replicated disks are produced in bulk. The disks are usually silver in color.

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