Ok, my impatience has overwhelmed my need to have my hand held. I could not find anything under drive options in Nero 188.8.131.52 related to book settings, and when I ran NECWinFlash.exe it only let me change the dl, not sl setting. So, I dumped 2.17 into a bin file with NECWinFlash.exe and used it to flash to 227.bin linked from the start of this thread (you can get the utilities there as well, very helpful). After rebooting I still could not find any way of changing the book setting (or bitsetting, I get confused) in Nero (at least not that version, don't have 6.3.x.x) but NECWinFlash.exe now had the default DVD+R set to DVD-Rom and I was able to change it. Happy happy joy joy.
Tested, DVD burned at 8x (max disk setting) and worked in every thing I tested including my ancient Creative dvd drive (max read speed 2x, fyi)
I have not tried anything with the DVD+RW disks, I got the 8x DVD+R Fuji disks at Bestbuy for about 50 cents a piece so really not concerned. Those disks are what sent me upgrading, my HP DVD200i really couldn't burn them even after the latest firmware, and realistically a third of the disks I made were coasters, took 35 minutes each, and I had to stop everything on teh computer and set the IDE in Pio mode to get the disks readable. I am in heaven now, no coasters to date and 10 minutes a disk to burn.
regarding your questions, I upgraded firmware because I had trouble reading DVD's on older players/drives, currently I did not need anything else from firmware. The beginning of this thread leads you to a thread that provides the utilities and bin files to upgrade, if you don't knwo what your doing, seriously, don't try it. And no, this doesn't let you make copies of protected files. You'll need something like a dvd decryptor program that you can download elsewhere (I think, never tried it myself with Xbox games)