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User reports on Toast 9 HD/BD Authoring Plug-in
Reports last Updated: 8/11/2008



In the June 27th, 2008 news page I posted a reader request for feedback from users of Toast 9 w/optional Toast 9 HD/BD Authoring Plug-in. (As most of the Mac drive database reports here on Blu-Ray drives were before Roxio released Toast 9 with the optional/$19.99 extra cost (initially a free bonus back in March for a limited time) HD/BD plugin.) A reader that's considering a BR burner and player wrote he's not found any success stories (even at Roxio's forums he said) and asked if I'd post a request for feedback here. This page is a catch-all for reports from readers using the HD/BD Plugin.

Reader Replies: (later reports first)
If you have used Toast 9 with HD/BD plugin to burn a BR or HD video disc for use in a home player, PS3, etc. let me know the details. (include burner used, player, mac details, etc.) Thanks.

(Added 8/11/2008, from drive db report)
"Very interesting results here...
LG SATA Blu-ray Burner (Super Multi Blue) GGW-H20L using spare onboard SATA ports of Mac Pro 2008 2.8 Ghz Dual-Quad (6GB RAM) running OS X 10.5.4

I recently purchased this Blu-ray burner with the express intent of authoring and burning my own Blu-rays of my film projects originating from HDV and edited as ProRes in FCP 6. Did lots of research, and although I knew there would be issues, I wanted to install the drive as it was intended (and at full speed), so I installed it using one the undocumented ODD SATA ports on the Mac Pro motherboard. Although there were many posts to the contrary, installation was almost a breeze. Open the Mac Pro, remove the ODD cage from the top as documented by Apple, pop in the new drive in the bottom bay (after removing the drive plate) remove the fan assembly by taking out 2 screws, use the included SATA to molex power adapter, run the SATA data cable along the path of the included drive's PATA cable and plug in on the motherboard. Reattach fan assembly and presto! Unlike previous posts I read, you do NOT need any special right angle or extra long SATA cable. The one that came with the drive works perfectly, and does not impede the reinstallation of the fan assembly at all!
(some other Mac Pro owners here have used the onboard SATA ports for SATA Optical drives (and some past issues with Toast (even v8.x) and some BR drives). There's also an article here on Using the Mac Pro's 2 extra onboard SATA Ports with NewerTech Cable Kit and External SATA HD Cases from spring 2007, updated recently with reports on external cases/bridge board compatibility.-Mike)

Rebooted the Mac, and the drive was recognized instantly by System Profiler. HD-DVD's & Blu-ray movie discs mount perfectly, and have their own icons identifying them (though no movie playback is possible, I knew this going in). Toast Titanium 9.0.2 does recognize the drive, but does indeed hang when querying a blank blu-ray disc (like ALL the other reports I read, didn't try an DVD-R). (Did you also buy/install the Toast 9 BR/HD Authoring Plugin? (free during Toast 9 intro, but an additional $19.xx. now)-Mike)
Yes, I bought Toast 9 at launch, and have the BR/HD Authoring Plugin installed.

I had a previously finished authored disc that I made in Adobe Encore on another machine, so a workaround using Toast to make a disc image and then using Apple's Disk Utility to burn works FLAWLESSLY! I used the included BD-RE disc, and was also able to do a short erase in Disk Utility after the successful burn. Haven't tried a long erase yet. The burned bluray plays fine in my PS3 with 2.42 firmware (though I did find authoring mistakes! Bah, Encore!)

However, here's where things get funky. I am unable to launch my copy of Adobe Encore (version?) on this machine now... It gets to the end of the splash screen loading process, and then hangs for a couple of minutes when it dies out. Looking at a portion of the crash log... and you can see that Encore appears to be scanning the bus looking for specs on what the drive can and can not do, and I'm guessing hangs because it does not know how to react when it sees the drive on an undocumented and unsupported bus. (If anyone else is running Encore with a different BR drive on the spare SATA ports let me know if you see problems also.-Mike) I wouldn't expect Adobe to be testing their software in this way, and I'm certain they wouldn't fix the bug either, since the whole config is unsupported by Apple in the first place! I also think this might be related in some way to why Toast hangs as well.

So while I was very jazzed to see things work in the Finder and Disk Utility, if I can't use my authoring program, then the whole thing is all for naught anyway. I just bought a CoolDrives SATA to PATA adapter that has been successfully used by others in Toast in the past, and I am hoping this ends my issues with Encore as well. Will report back when the adapter gets here next week, with reports on using it with Toast and Encore. Apple, you have the technology working in hardware and software already (except DVDSP... get on it!), now let's make it official so these developers can properly fix their software and then we'll have a full Blu-ray solution on Macintosh all for less than $300 bucks!!!
-Jason C."


(Added 7/1/2008, from 6/30 mail)
"Mike, On my MBP C2D 2.16GHz, Toast 9 w/the BD plugin works quite well. On my Quad G5, not so much. The BD drive I have is the LG GGW-H20L (there's some drive database reports on this drive here-Mike), and I have installed it in an external USB 2.0 + eSATA case. The case I chose (http://www.galaxymetalgear.com/products/5202.html - not that there were that many options; eSATA + USB 2.0 for 5.25" cases seems to be pretty rare right now) required a few modifications to get the drive to fit into the case (ie, removing the front door of the case to accommodate the extra length of the drive and drilling new screw holes to secure the drive in the case), but once I did I haven't had many issues beyond the occasional need to reboot to get the computer in order to recognize the drive on both PC and Mac.

I have burned quite a few successful discs with Toast (all BDMV folder types), but it hasn't been 100%. I use mostly BD-RE media, so whenever there has been a bad burn, it hasn't been too costly. I do have a few issues with certain types of media though. Memorex BD-R media won't burn at all with this drive, and one of my two BD-RE DL discs, made by Panasonic, seems to always cause burns that complete but are not compatible. What I mean by this is that the burned disc will finish and report no errors, but when I place it in my PS3 to test, the PS3 does not recognize that a disc has been inserted.

Anyway, back to Toast... The app handles BD burning about as well as I have seen with other consumer-level burning software on the market. On the PC, I use either Power2Go by Cyberlink or Nero 8. Toast will erase a BD-RE in roughly the same time as the other two (which is to say it erases a full BD-RE very fast in Quick Erase mode), and I can get a burn speed of around 5x for the last 1/3 of a full 25GB disc. The first 2/3 of burning a full disc runs at about 4x. The BD-RE DL media I have is only 2x, and Toast seems to burn at roughly that rate from start to finish.

I mentioned that I have problems with my G5 and this drive setup. I suspect it is due to the USB 2.0 ports on this machine being much slower than the USB 2.0 ports on my MBP. I bought this case specifically for the eSATA functionality as I have a Sonnet eSATA PCIe card for it, but I just haven't got around to hooking everything up to test this out and see if it is any better.
Hope that helps.
-CS"


(6/30/2008)
"Great site. Here is some feedback about the Toast HD plugin and Blu Ray. I just tried the Toast BR Plugin, with some 720p60 content (a 6 minute movie made with iMovie '08, you need to edit iMovie's plist in order to export to 60 fps, source is 720p60 from a Sanyo Xacti HD1000 camcorder) and photos.

I used the Blu Ray setting, with automatic settings and best quality for video, then burned to a DVD-R. (Not a Blu-Ray Disc... still looking for BR Video Disc burn reports.-Mike)
The Elgato Turbo 264 was not set to use it for encoding (I could use it for other encodes while Toast was encoding the DVD). (Note: Turbo.264 is limited to 800x600 output)
I had an error at the end of the burning process, so I instead saved to a disk image, which did not require any re-encoding. That, and then burning to DVD, were successful.

The disc appears as an AVCHD DVD-R on the PS3.
It plays fine. Video quality is great, not looking any different from the original (the PS3 can play 720p60 H264 MPEG4 files from its hard drive, I use Eyeconnect to transfer them from the Mac, so Blu Ray burning is not that necessary ...)
You have a (simple) menu accessible on the disc.

However, the aspect ratio for photos is clearly wrong.
The burnt disc has an application to read the slideshows, which did not work (looking for pictures in the wrong folder), plus a .exe for PCs, which I haven not tested.

Amazingly, I was able to import video from the disc back to iMovie. I could then verify that it was 60 (59.94) frames per second (so there is no downsampling to 29.97 fps). No luck with Final Cut 6.0.4 though (but I am not an expert of FCP importing)
Now if there was another way of playing those discs on the Mac than iMovie...
Regards, Jerome."


(6/30/008)
"A month or so ago, I burned off a simple Blu-Ray test movie to DVD. (NOT to a BR Disc - see below) I got a friend of mine with a PS3 to test it for me. Picture quality and sound were fine but the only issue was that the PS3 did not recognize it as a Blu-Ray disk: we had to select the movie files on the disk before it would play.
I have not been in a position to test on standalone Blu-Ray players.
(I wrote to ask him for more details - he later replied he had not burned to a BR Disc)
I didn't use a Blu-Ray drive ... just the standard UJ-857E in my 2.4Ghz Santa Rosa MacBook Pro running 10.5.3. (4gb ram too). Basically I tried to burn a blu-ray format disk onto a dvd. Didn't quite work.
-Richard P."


(6/27/2008)
"Toast 9.0.2 w/ Blu-Ray/HD Authoring Plugin
I was able to burn HDDVD data to a DVD and it played correctly on a Toshiba HDDVD player. No problems noted. Not able to test the BR disk as I don't have a player to run it on. The source of the video was from a HD station via Eye TV 500 (MPEG-2).
-Robert
This is my set up
Mac Pro Dual 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
OS X Version 10.5.3 (at the time the disk was created)."

I think this is the same Robert that sent the post in the April 10th news page on Playing Toast 9 created HD-DVD disc images with OS X DVD Player.

If you have used the Toast 9 BR/HD authoring plugin to burn a BR video disc for use in a BR home player, PS3, etc. let me know the details. Thanks.





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