DVD-RW Support Missing in PowerBooks

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Date: Monday, March 24th, 2003, 16:34
Category: Archive

After purchasing DVD-RW media for a new 1GHz Ti-Book with SuperDrive, I discovered that the Matsushita/Panasonic based SuperDrives in the new PowerBooks (including 12″ and 17″) do not accept this media. It ejects a DVD-RW disc shortly after being inserted. Apparently, the drives themselves support the media, but Apple’s firmware in the drive does not.

This surprised me given that Apple’s Knowledge Base Article #86130 implies that all SuperDrive equipped PowerBooks already support DVD-RW media. Even Apple’s disk copy utility has a menu option titled “Erase CD-RW/DVD-RW”, but after several phone calls to AppleCare customer support, they confirmed what I had discovered. Interestingly enough, desktop machines equipped with SuperDrives that are updated with the latest firmware from Apple do in fact burn and erase DVD-RW disks, so a SuperDrive is not necessarily a SuperDrive.

Apple’s response to date has been that there are no plans to support DVD-RW in the new PowerBooks at this time. Pretty frustrating given that non-Mac laptop vendors such as Sony provide integrated DVD-burners that support the re-writeable media. Maybe some pressure on Apple from new PowerBook owners looking to use DVD-RWs would help get some resources to make the SuperDrives in desktops and PowerBooks functionaly equivalent (outside of burn speeds of course). Until then, stick with write once DVD-Rs!

Ed: That’s extremely frustrating. DVD-RW is great for backup — I’m using an external LaCie drive with my TiBook 400. Any other tips on this? -PK

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