Philips DVDRW228 Review

Philips DVDRW228
MSRP $300.00
“Philips initial DVD+R/RW offering appears to stand out from the crowd.”
  • Easy to install
  • easy to setup
  • easy to use
  • No driver support from Philips website


Philips is known for quality products and great technology. Philip’s DVDRW228 DVD+R/RW drive is a good example. Easy to install, easy to setup, easy to use. Seamless Link and Thermo-Balanced Writing are also great technologies to include in the drive and further enhance the user experience. There are some drawbacks though. The price, availability with drivers, and incompatibility with standard installs of Nero Burning Rom.


With features such as Seamless Link buffer underrun protection and Thermo-Balanced Writing, Philips initial DVD+R/RW offering appears to stand out from the crowd. Philips, a major player in the DVD+R/RW arena, attempts to sway consumers away from the DVD-R/RW format with their new DVDRW228 DVD+R/RW drive.


The beauty of DVD+R/RW drives is that support for the new DVD+R discs is now more available. What’s good about that you may ask? Well, the only advantage is that the price of media is cheaper, about half the cost of current DVD recording media. The drawbacks: Storage capacity is the same for both DVD+R and DVD+RW media, limited to 4.7GB of storage. If you plan on using this drive for data storage or back up purposes, it’s my recommendation that you use DVD+RW media. DVD+R are great for recording media though, like your home movies.

I mentioned Seamless Link and Thermo-Balanced Writing above. Both of these technologies are Philips exclusive technologies and offer some great advantages.

Seamless Link is a buffer underrun technology that protects the disc during the writing process. Philip’s states that the Seamless link does not actually prevent the occurrence of buffer underruns but rather acts to prevent buffer underruns from wasting a disc. If it is not a speed or quality optimization algorithm then how does it work? “Seamless Link constantly monitors the writer buffer level. If this level drops below a threshold value, the writing process is stopped in a controlled way. This means that the data stream from the buffer to the disc is halted, and it allows the buffer to be filled up again. The exact location on the disc, where the write operation was stopped, is stored in the drive’s internal memory. In the meantime, the buffer level is continuously monitored and as soon as the buffer is full again Seamless Link resumes the writing process from the exact spot where the writing stopped. This type of writing eliminates the gap, which occurs between two individual writing operations during traditional writing. Hence the name Seamless Link.”

Thermo-Balanced Writing (TBW) Philips claims, assures data integrity by physically testing each disc, then tuning the output of the record laser and choosing the recording speed to suit each disc. It always chooses the safest but fastest speed to record for each disc used. The DVDRW228 is the first drive from Philips to incorporate this technology, but all future drives will also have TBW. TBW only applies to DVD+R/RW and not to CD-R/RW burns.

In short, these two technologies combined provide a powerful and comforting means of burning successful DVD’s with confidence that you won’t have a failed burn. I have yet to have a failed burn myself out of about 10 DVD burns of various types (media and data.)

Of course, another stand out feature is the ability to burn CD-R/RW discs at 12x10x respectively. The drive also reads at a maximum of 32x. Typical writing methods for CD-R/RWs are available: Track-at-Once, Disc-at-Once, Session-at-Once, and Pack Writing.

As for looks, the best part is the long led strip on the front of the drive that glows blue when reading a disc and red when writing. There are also LED indicators for what type of disc is inserted in the drive, CD or DVD. There is a headphone jack and volume control on the left side of the face and an extremely large eject button on the right. The eject button may look somewhat weird due to its large size, but I found it actually pretty solid and easy to use since you can’t miss it.

A warranty is included with the drive with a guarantee against defects due to faulty workmanship or materials for a period of one year after purchase date. The warranty includes parts and labor.


Even though the capacity on disc is stated at being 4.7, I found that
Nero would not let me burn over 4.5. A 4.5 data burn consisting of fairly large
files (100MB to 700MB) takes an average of 24 minutes, 20 seconds at a transfer
rate of 3,312 KB per second using Nero.

A 250MB DivX file took 15 minutes to burn, including file conversion
and formatting, using Sonic MyDVD. The DVD was not
playable in my 4 year old Sony DVD player, but did playback in a brand new Apex
DVD player. This is typical for the DVD+RW format, where most new home DVD
players play the media, but older DVD players will not. For a great listing of
compatible players, go to’s compatibility list.

If you are curious why
someone would choose DVD+RW over DVD-RW, here’s a great reason why. With DVD-RW,
the basic features of the DVD recorders are not accessible, like chapter stops,
overwriting recordings, or adding a recording once the disc has been finalized.
With DVD+RW, you do not have to worry about any of this. DVD+RW are always DVD
video compatible.

I used Nero’s DVD Speed to
benchmark the drive.

P3 1000
512 MB Memory
Windows XP SP1


Product DVDRW228
Firmware Version 1.13

Length 4.36 GB


3.41 X
Start 3.39
End 3.87
Reading type

Seek 143 ms
1/3 Seek
174 ms
Full Seek 115

1X 1
Max Speed 2

Burst Rate 0.48 MB/s

Spin Up/Down
Spin Up
Time 2.58 sec
Down Time 1.55 sec
Disc Eject Time 2.05 sec
Disc Load Time 14.93
Disc Recognition
Time 0.00 sec

If you are also interested
in the CD benchmarks, click

Setup and Installation

Inside the box you’ll find:

– Installation & Software CD
– 1 Philips 24x 80 Minute CD-R Disc
– 1 Philips 4.7GB DVD+R Disc
– 1 Philips 4.7GB DVD+RW Disc
– Quick Install Guide
– Audio Cable & Mounting hardware
– Pinnacle Studio SE 7

Also included were a Microsoft Publisher 30-day trial CD and a $30 mail-in rebate.

The quick install guide is actually the jacket to the installation and software CD. If you are experienced with installing normal cd-rom drives, the DVDRW228 is just like any other. The documentation on the jacket should be adequate for most people. The documentation on the CD is somewhat sparse, but does cover the basics of how to burn CDs and definitions for terminology and technologies. It’s also in a web based format so navigating the documentation is pretty easy. There are also links to their download page to download the latest drivers or documentation in PDF format.

The included software CD also contains the drivers and software utilities needed to burn DVDs and CD-Rs. The software utilities installed are Ahead’s Nero Burning Rom and InCD, Sonic MyDVD, and Cyberlink PowerDVD.

Almost anyone should be able to install this drive due to the minimum system requirements:

PII 300 or equivalent CPU
32 MB of memory
65 MB of disk space.
Windows 95, 98, ME, Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

One very important thing to note: If you do not install the software from the CD, then you won’t be able to write to media. I learned this the hard way when I misplaced the installation cd-rom. I had re-installed Windows XP and downloaded Nero. Every time I tried to make a burn I got an error before the write process saying the disc did not have enough disc space. Luckily I found the installation CD since there are no drivers on Philips website. The drivers are absolutely critical to install if you want a functioning drive. I highly recommend making a backup of the installation CD in case you lose or damage the original, since w/out it you will not be able to use the drive to record on a new system.

Other then that, installation and setup was a breeze. Using the drive to record DVDs is fairly easy with the included software. With Nero you can burn Data or Media DVDs, although media burning in Nero is somewhat lacking in features, like easy to create menus. With Sonic MyDVD you can easily create a media DVD with menu’s, recording from a device like a camcorder or from pre-existing files like MPEG, AVI or DivX files. I did notice that a 600MB DivX or MPEG2 file added to a project results in MyDVD reporting that it needs over 6GB of space to burn. That seems ridiculous since a 600MB DivX or MPEG2 clip is usually 2 hours long.


Philips is known for quality products and great technology. Philip’s DVDRW228 DVD+R/RW drive is a good example. Easy to install, easy to setup, easy to use. Seamless Link and Thermo-Balanced Writing are also great technologies to include in the drive and further enhance the user experience. There are some drawbacks though. The price, availability with drivers, and incompatibility with standard installs of Nero Burning Rom.

The price is helped by the included $30 rebate, which puts it in the same range of competing burners, around $270 after rebate from the cheapest price I found on the net. The price range before rebate is $300 – $375. However, the only way you can install drivers is from the included CD-ROM. The inability to download drivers from Philip’s website is a serious usability issue. I would think that this would not only cost Philip’s money in Tech Support phone calls, but also wastes the consumer’s time. I also was somewhat let down by the fact that Philip’s online chat support would not work for me either (the page would load, but there was no way to actually chat.) If you don’t have the installation CD, then you are out of luck with this drive. The default download of Nero Burning Rom from Ahead Software’s website will not work. Instead, it generates errors of “Not enough disc space” on a blank DVD+R or DVD+RW disc. The limitation of drivers outweighs the features of this otherwise great product.