The Computer Blog

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Mac OS X, My Mac Pro, and DVD-R DL Support

I haven’t been writing any blogs because all my time has been taken with building up my Mac Pro. Just as I was finishing up the Windows XP configuration on the machine, I found a neat little OS X application called “Document Wallet”. For years, I’ve been looking for a Mac application I could use to replace PaperPort for Windows; and I’ve finally gotten it. So, much of my time has been and continues to be taken up converting the library of PaperPort files into TIFF files that Document Wallet can import and turn ito .PDF files. More on that later. For now, I’d like to focus on the other thing I’ve discovered this week, i.e., there is no DVD-R dual layer support in OS X.

The primary optical drive supplied with my Mac was a Sony DW-150A. This is a rebranded and cripped NEC 4570. One of the things Apple wrote out of the drive was its support for DVD-R dual layer support. Apple has a bad habit of supplying crippled drives for one reason or another, opening the door to bragging rights by our PC-toting friends.

Frankly, I like Pioneer drives; and Apple has a history of supplying Pioneer drives with its machines. Currently, Pioneer is marketing a drive that has both DVD+/-R DL support, and it is often listed as DVR-1810B5PK. This is actually a DVR-112D along with some Nero software that forms the “1810” retail pack. The plastic and the tray in this item is black, which is what the “B” in the serial number is for. In any case, Pioneer’s specifications show the drive is capable of reading and writing DVD-R dual layer disks. So, I went down to Best Buy and bought one and stuck it in my Mac Pro as my primary drive. It mounted easily. As I expected, the System Profiler showed “Burn Support” as “Yes (Unsupported)”, meaning it has not yet been “officially” listed as an approved burner by Apple. I have yet to try it with iDVD, iPhoto, or iTunes to see if it will work anyway. I plan on doing more testing tonight, after I go by Fry’s and buy some DVD-R DL media.

Apple’s System Profiler also does not show the drive supports DVD-R DL capability. That means that the version of OS X I’m running does not, and there is no good reason for that. I watched Apple play “catch up” with earlier versions of Jaguar and Panther with regards to DVD burning capability, and Apple needs to enable this capability as well. I suspect that OS 10.4.9 might have that support but feel more strongly we’ll see it in OS 10.5 Leopard. In any case, Toast 8 says it supports it, so I’ve got some DVD-R dual layer burning capability even if the operating system doesn’t come along anytime soon. It’s not clear to me yet whether that’s just “whole disk” burning capability or whether it’s “multi-session” capability. On the Windows side, NERO just gave Windows users that, so both Apple and Toast need to catch up.

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