What DVD or Blu-Ray drive should I buy?
Update: Right, Blu-Ray drives are getting cheaper now. Maybe I’ll get one of those. Recommendations there are also welcome.
The ongoing saga to build a HTPC running open source has been what, three years now? After giving up on having TV support through the HTPC and buying a LCD TV with VGA input, things are pretty good. But I have one problem. My DVD drive, a Pioneer of some sort, will fail on any sort of read error from a DVD, causing playback to stop, no matter if I use XMBC, VLC or Mplayer. My MacBook running the same software will often succeed. With the DVD I rented yesterday, Mplayer will output an error, but there is no noticable problem in the output. VLC will play happily. But on the HTPC both will simply fail. The same DVD will also play on my Windows machine (but using different software).
So I did an experiment, I switched my 3 year old Pioneer drive (which I bought mainly because it was black) with the 7 year old Philips DVDR1640. Well, it didn’t work out. XBMC and VLC will just refuse to play the DVD completely. Mplayer plays it, but claims my system is too slow, and the playback is stuttering stop/start. But, it did play past the place it stopped playing with the Pioneer drive.
So, clearly, all DVD drives are not equal. Far from it. So my question is: Which DVD drive should I get? Which brand/model has the best error handling? And why did my old Philips fail under Ubuntu, and how can I make sure the new one I get will work? Recommendations, experiences, explanations, all is appreciated!