The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a division of the U.S. Commerce Department's Technology Administration, said its tests proved DVDs and DVD drives to be compatible only 85 percent of the time.
"This means that if a recording is made on 10 different brands of DVDs, the odds are that at least one will not work," the institute said in announcing the results Thursday. "The problematic results range from DVDs that do not work at all, suddenly freeze, or have video or audio 'drop out.'"
The study's results will come as no surprise to followers of the DVD format wars. One of the battles concernsand another , which promises to provide greater storage than current red lasers can.
NIST said that although no one disc or drive was universally compatible, newer models of DVD drives did "significantly better" than the older ones.
NIST tested 14 DVD-ROM drive models, which represented about 60 percent of the installed base in America as of 2002, and more than 50 different kinds of recordable DVDs. In a second phase of the study, NIST and the trade groups will look at DVD drives new to the market.