That decision is made with the dyes used on the disc's recording surface, the laser power of the recording drive, and the speed the disc is spun at. These factors determine how much detected voltage shows up at the pickup diode, the shape and character of the eye pattern, the block error rate, and other characteristics of the signal quality. Many portable and car players had trouble playing certain recordable discs while having no trouble with store bought discs. This used to be a big issue when I was the technical director at Sterling Sound in the 90's and oughts. We searched far and wide for the 'good stuff' that would play well on the most systems. Mitsui Toatsu was a clear winner of the high quality CD blank makers. Sometimes when having trouble, it makes sense to try a few different types (manufacturers) of blanks and/or follow Scott K2CAJ's suggestion of trying different recorders and players to narrow down which piece of gear is having trouble.