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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > DVD Recorders 1-4x

Tuesday, June 25, 2002
Philips DVDRW228 DVD+RW

1. Introduction

Philips DVDRW228 IDE DVD+RW - Page 1

- Introduction

Philips was among the first companies who shipped a DVD+RW solution, as being a leading member of the DVD+RW consortium. The first generation of DVD+RW recorders supported only CD-R, CD-RW and DVD+RW formats, while the second generation added the promising DVD+R format. This adoption makes the drive directly comparable with Pioneer's DVR-A04 drive. The war between the DVD recording/re-wrtitable formats has started and no-ones known who will be the winner...We compare Philips proposal with a similar drive from Ricoh to see if there are any major changes in each drive's reading/writing performance.

- DVD+R: Physical format

Philips DVDRW228 supports both DVD+R and DVD+RW formats. The following table shows the main physical specifications for the DVD-R and DVD+R format, as taken from Verbatim's website:

DVD Media Specifications
DVD-R Authoring
DVD-R for General Use
Laser Wavelenght
Numerical Aperture
Recording Layer
Modulation Amplitude
Data Track Form
Wobbled Groove + Land pre-pit
Phase modulated wobbled groove
Track Pitch
0.74micro meter
Tracking Method (reading)
Minimum Pit Length
0.40micro meter
Data Modulation
8/16, RLL(2,10)
Error Correction
Channel Bit Rate
Scanning Velocity
Copy Protection

The DVD+R and DVD-R share the same physical specifications making both drives comparable in terms of compatibility with DVD players and drives. DVD+R at a glance:

- Single-sided (4.7 GB) and double-sided (9.4GB) discs option
- Uses a bare disc
- 650 nm laser (numerical aperture 0.65)
- Constant linear data density
- CLV recording
- Write speeds from 1x to 2.4x DVD-Video data rates
- ‘Lossless linking’ anti-buffer underrun technology for DVD format

- The drive

The DVDRW228 supports 12x (CD) and 2.4x DVD+R/+RW writing, 10x re-writing, 32x (CD) and 8x (DVD-ROM/+R/+RW) reading. The drive also supports "SeamlessLink" technology in order to avoid buffer underruns, for the CD format. Philip's Thermo Balanced Writing technology is also present to increase writing quality. Thermo Balanced Writing technology analises the quality of the recording media and adapts the writing strategy to reduce errors. The result is the fastest recording speed possible.

Its writing speeds are: 2x, 4x, 8x, 12x (CLV) writing and 4x, 10x (CLV) re-writing.

The writing speed for DVD+R/+RW format is 2.4X CLV (X factor is now 1385Kb/s) which is equivalent to 20x for CD-RW drives. Due to 'Lossless Linking' we don't have buffer underrun problems in DVD+R/+RW formats. The drive doesn't support Mt. Rainier in both CD/DVD formats. The next generation of DVD+RW recorders are supposed to support the DVD-MRW format (Mount Rainier at DVD format).

The following writing formats are supported:

1) DVD+R/+RW: DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, Random Access Write
2) CD-R/RW: CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD Extra, CD-I, Mixed-ModeCD, VideoCD, PhotoCD, CD TEXT and Bootable CD.

- The package

We tested the European Retail package that included: the drive itself, 1 piece of Philips 74min CD-R media, 1 piece of Philips DVD+RW & DVD+R media, audio cables and mounting screws. The package includes a drive install guide+ a CD containing DVD Video Creation (Pinnacle Studio SE v7.11 Build 99), DVD Recording (MyDVD v3.55) and playback software (PowerDVD) and lastly CD recording software (Nero v5.5.8.2, InCD v3.27). The expected price of the drive will be around $400-450. The DVD+R media costs $8 and the DVD+RW media 12$. The European package will include 2 years of warranty.

The front of the drive contains the "DVD+RW", "Philips", "High-Speed RW" logos and of course the drive codename "DVD+RW200 Series". You will notice the 2 led, one for each format that lights up using a special "intense blue" LED. When the drive is reading in either of both formats the main led is in the blue state:

Drive is reading from DVD

Drive is reading from CD

Drive is writing to CD

Drive is writing to DVD+RW

When the drive records in either CD/DVD formats the main led lights up "red" giving the necessary information about the drive status. Lastly, you will find the eject button (again back lighted) and the headphone input jack/volume selector:

On the back of the drive there are the usual connectors (IDE interface, power), the jumpers for setting the drive as Master/Slave/Cable Select, the SPDIF output connector and 3 jumpers which are not used (factory reserved):

- Installation

The Philips drive was installed as Master in the secondary IDE BUS. The drive worked in UDMA-2 mode and after boot up, it identified itself as the "PHILIPS DVDRW228". Under WinXP, DMA was activated automatically.

The drive is an April 2002 model, with an initial firmware revision v1.17 installed. We used Nero v5.5.8.2, InCD v3.31 and CloneCD v4.0.1.6 for the recording tests. Nero's "high compatibility" mode improves compatibility with DVD movies that contain less than 1GB data. The drive is RPC2, which means that you can change its DVD region only 4 times. Possibly there will be region free firmware from third parties in the near future.

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