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If its an older recorder it could be the usual problem of a greasy center-disc =
95% OF THE TIMES I could fix a problem like this was by cleaning with rubbing alcohol the rubber ring on the little rotating disc in the center of the drive mechanism. !!!! Because users always stick their index finger into the hole of all the CD'S for inserting a disc into the tray that a tiny amount of grease gets deposited onto the little rotation disc which touches the center of any inserted disc at about half an inch from its center hole. (underneath) When its greasy the discs slide and the inserted discs speed stays uneven and slow.
You must open the drivebox ( after unplugging the power-cable) to see and clean it.
Be careful to not look at it with power "on" because the laser will make you go blind (danger!!!!!!!
I heavily use a Toshiba DVD recorder since 12 years and it is my most reliable and most versatile recorder, while my brand new Sony recorder lasted only 2 years - Others as well had problems with finalizing etc. but in general the cleaning of the little center-disc that pushes from underneath against an inserted DVD to make it spin helps the most.
Are you loading to play or to record? Commercial DVDs should play. DVDs for recording may not be recognized by your drive. First make sure that the disc is blank. You must insert a blank disc of the proper format: DVD-R or RW, DVD+R or RW. Even with the proper format, some brands may not behave the same way as other brands.
Did the sales guy use the same DVD-RW that you did? Maybe the brand you are using is not of good quality and can not be recognized by the recorder. If he did not use the same disc did you notice if he used DVD-RW or DVD+RW? Some DVD-Recorders only recognize one or the other but this is kind of rare these days. I recommend verbatim brand discs. They should be available for sale at any shop. If you want the ultimate in quality DVDs then go with Taiyo Yuden. This Japanese brand invented recordable media and in addition to that they are obsessed with quality. www.supermediastore.com is always where I get my discs.
I've found that once a disk is formatted in certain formats with a pc it prevents the LG from reading it. Format it again in the LG (if you can!) or use the pc to format it using the UDF1.5 setting in a pc (which sort of resets it so the LG can at least see it as an unused disc again).
All in all I have found my RH19991H really confusing as far as disk initialization and formatting and finalizing is concerned. Sometimes you can select to finalize a +-rw dvd and sometimes not (the latter is the the case according to the manual) and sometimes I can select the format mode and sometimes not. Sometimes the machine auto finalizes the dvd+-rw (the way it should be says the manual) and sometimes it does not and then I cannot use it in the pc. I have also created some disks with DivX files and was able to play them in the LG and then using the same pc, same type of discs, same video editing software and same settings created other DivX files I could not play on the LG. It seems the software on the machine needs some work...