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iDVD Burn Error FAQ

Last Updated: March, 2007

The following FAQ discusses various iDVD burn or simply OS X Macintosh DVD burn errors and what might be causing them. This is, by no means, a comprehensive list, it's just a few of the errors we encountered burning DVD's that I thought could be better documented on the Web.

If you find this FAQ useful, or if you want to inform me of other errors and solutions, please let me know.

Keywords: iDVD Burn, DVD Burn, DVD+R, DVD-R, media, Medium Error, Power calibration area error, Macintosh OS X, Mac OS X

Q: Where do I go to get better error information when my iDVD burn fails?

Q: My DVD burn failed, what are some possible problems?

Q: What does the error: "The media is not the right type for the requested operation" mean?

Q: What does the error: "Medium Error, Power calibration area error" mean?

Q: What does the error: "Medium Error, Write error, recovery failed" mean?

Q: How can I tell if I have a bad DVD burner?

Q: What's an "underrun" error mean?

Q: Where do I go to get better error information when my iDVD burn fails?

Open up a finder window. Go to Applications (one of the icons on the left), then navigate into the "Utilities" folder, then double-click on the "Console" program.

Once you have the console up, click on the "Logs" toolbar button. Then navigate to ~/Library/Logs/DiscRecording.log. All of the errors encountered by your DVD player will be shown there, with some (possibly useful) information.

Q: My DVD burn failed, what are some possible problems?

Some possibilities:

Q: What does the error: "The media is not the right type for the requested operation" mean?

For example:

iDVD: Burn failed, Mon Mar 12 18:41:28 2007
iDVD: Burn error: 0x80020043 The media is not the right type for the requested operation. 
This probably means that you are using a DVD+R disk when you should be using a DVD-R. Most Macintosh computers (maybe all of them?) use DVD-R exclusively.

Q: What does the error: "Medium Error, Power calibration area error" mean?

For example:

iDVD: Write (10), block: 2240, count: 64 -> 3/73/03 Medium Error, Power calibration area error
iDVD: Burn failed, Tue Mar 13 12:43:46 2007
iDVD: Burn sense: 3/73/03 Medium Error, Power calibration area error
iDVD: Burn error: 0x8002006D The device failed to calibrate the laser power level for this media.
When this happened to us, it was because we were using 16x speed DVDs instead of 4x (or slower) DVDs. For some reason, the faster DVDs will not work with slower burning DVD burners. Perhaps the older/slower lasers burn away too much of the sensitive 16x DVD substrate? Who knows. We switched back to 4x DVDs, and then everything started working okay.

Q: What does the error: "Medium Error, Write error, recovery failed" mean?

For example:

iDVD: Write (10), block: 1995904, count: 64 -> 3/0C/08 Medium Error, Write error, recovery failed
iDVD: Burn failed, Tue Mar 13 23:01:40 2007
iDVD: Burn sense: 3/0C/08 Medium Error, Write error, recovery failed
iDVD: Burn error: 0x8002006E The burn failed because of a medium write error. 
In this case, there was a scratch on our DVD disc. When we looked at it carefully, we could see a little divot in the plastic exactly where the burning stopped. So, we simply threw away the disk and started over with another, and it worked just fine.

Q: How can I tell if I have a bad DVD burner?

Our first DVD burner actually "burned out". We used it before we installed the firmware update which caused it to behave properly with faster DVD disks (fortunately, we got a free replacement from Apple).

Anyway, we could tell that the burner was failing, because it would start burning okay, but then the laser would gradually lose power and simply fade away. When we inspected the burn-side of the DVD after the fact, the end of the burn area wouldn't be nice and sharp, but rather it would fade out. This was when we realized that there was some hardware error with the DVD burner itself, rather than a problem with the disc.

Of course, these days, the DVD burner has been working fine, for years. So I would say that 999 times out of 1000, a DVD burning problem will likely be because of a bad disk or incorrect type of disk.

Q: What's an "underrun" error mean?

I haven't had this in a while, but when I did it meant that my computer was unable to keep up with the demands of the DVD burner. Basically, the computer was too slow in providing data, and the DVD burner, starved for data, had to abort.

I think this can still happen if your computer is too busy with background programs, viruses, browsing the internet, downloading from the internet, or whatever.

Also, you might want to do some "Safe Boots" on your computer to clean up your file systems. (Hold down the shift-key when restarting the computer). Also make sure your hard disk has at least 10% free space.

Finally, the "underrun" error used to occur when the monitor went to sleep. I don't know if this is still a problem, but we always turn off all power down options (from the System Control Panel) whenever we burn a DVD.