I use Memorex 16x DVD-R and don't really have any problems. You get duds every now and then, but really don't have much choice on the brand in my town. Just make sure they are DVD-R as they are most compatible in other DVD players.
Hi DVD-RW disks have to be formatted...usually, new DVD-RWs are automatically formatted when they are inserted in the recorder. Finalizing is a different process that closes the disk so it can be read in other devices, and applies to DVD-R, DVD+R, as well as DVD-RW disks.
To finalize a DVD, that function is usually found in the Settings or Setup menu of the DVD recorder...for my Toshiba DVR620, you go into Setup and then select the DVD Menu...in there is the option to set the Format mode for DVD-RWs as well as the option to Finalize disks...choose the Finalize option and follow any on screen prompts it has. If a DVD is currently blank, the Finalize option may be grayed out (since there is nothing yet to Finalize). These steps will of course vary somewhat depending on the make of a DVD recorder.
As an aside, finalized disks will work in other players though there are cases where if the other player is very old, it may not recognize it (this happened with a DVD player I had from the late 90s when they first came out...it would only play commercially produced DVD movies). This should not be a problem for DVD players from the last 5 years or so at least...probably longer.
I use Memorex DVD-R discs also, and have found them to be reliable. Occasionally I get one that will not format. It will say "disc is dirty." I pitch these and do not attempt to use them. The discs are so cheap anymore that I can afford to throw out a few bad ones. I used Vertatim discs for a long time, and never had a problem with them. Before Vertatim, I used Fuji discs, and while they worked well in the beginning, later on I started getting a lot of bad discs. They would record for exactly 30 seconds, and then the machine would stop recording. I have found the DVD+R discs to be as reliable as the DVD-R.
I would suggest DVD-R, and just a few DVD-RWs for experimenting/temporary recordings/etc. The "-" versions are generally more compatible especially in "Video" mode (while the "+" versions automatically format in VR mode, which isn't always as compatible).
For considerably older DVD players, rewritable DVDs (DVD-RW and DVD+RW) may not work.
Make sure that all disks are finalized after you have recorded material on them, or you will not be able to view the DVDs on other players. Also, DVD-RW disks can be "unfinalized," which can be useful if you wanted to watch a DVD that wasn't full and then add more material later (remembering to finalize the disk again) and not have to erase it yet.
Did the recorder format the RW disk first? RW disks need to be formatted...usually, the recorder will do this automatically when a new RW disk is inserted. Try looking in the DVD recorder setup menu for this function (to format it manually). After that, try the dubbing process again.
Obviously the recorder did not do the formatting. I hope that is all that is wrong. My son brought me some Memorex DVD-R,16x4.7gb/go disks. So will try those tomorrow. I will let you know if those work. Hope if they do dub ok they will play on any dvd player. Thanks, Ke'ala