Make sure yours don’t die prematurely

Your company’s promotional DVD could be a ticking time bomb, waiting to destroy your presentation at the worst possible moment. Cheap, no-name DVDs frequently fail. And they can fail at the most critical point in your pitch.

The problem is, most people are unaware of the astoundingly high failure rates of cheap blank DVDs and CDs. The media is unstable and it can become unreadable at any time. The percentage of unwriteable discs per batch is unacceptably high. In the past, when burning no-name discs, we’ve ended up having to throw away about half of them.

There are many factories around the world which manufacture CD and DVD discs. But only two manufacturers produce consistently high quality, dependable discs in terms of reliable burning and reading, compatibility with different CD/DVD players, and longevity of recorded data.

Even name-brand DVDs are no guarantee of quality

The best disc manufacturers are Taiyo Yuden and Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation. Taiyo Yuden owns the JVC disc brand. Mitsubishi owns the Verbatim disc brand.

But brand names alone are no guarantee of top quality:

Some years ago, the big retail chains demanded that the top disc brands should match the low prices of no-name disc suppliers. So, obligingly, the top brands introduced cheap ‘value’ lines. And their value line manufacturing is outsourced to the no-name manufacturers!

In a mess like that, how do you find the best blank discs?

In Australia, JVC brand discs aren’t as widely available as Verbatim, so:

  1. Look for Verbatim discs, but avoid their cheaper ‘Life’ and ‘Value’ series.
  2. Only buy discs labelled CD-R or DVD-R discs. They’re compatible with more players.
  3. CDs – look for Verbatim 52x, 80 minute, CD-R discs. ( part no. 94691)
  4. DVDs – look for Verbatim 16x, 4.74GB, DVD-R discs. ( part no. 95137)

The packaging, in small print, should tell you they are manufactured by Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. in Taiwan.

Buy them in spindles of 50. You can buy them online, at electrical stores, or at office supply stores.

We bought our last batch of MCC manufactured Verbatim discs at our local Australia Post shop.

So now you have the best quality blank CDs and DVDs

Use them properly, and look after them.

  1. Don’t put labels on them. Not even the circular adhesive paper CD/DVD labels. Labels unbalance the discs, stress the drive, and increase ‘jitter’ and unreliability in disc writing and reading.
  2. Use only silver-top discs or white-top inkjet printable discs. Label them with a CD/DVD pen, or inkjet print the white-top discs in a printer with a CD Print tray.
  3. Burn the discs at lower than their top rated speed.
  4. Treat the spindles gently so the discs don’t scuff each other. Keep them in a cool dark cupboard. They’ll last for years.

Only use Jewel Cases

Buy a box of empty jewel cases for your burned discs. Jewel cases are the hard, brittle, clear plastic cases, thick or slim, with a separate hinged lid. Jewel cases protect the discs after you’ve burnt them.

Avoid fancy cases or cheap, soft plastic disc cases because they can warp the discs or put too much pressure on the spindle hole, eventually cracking the discs from the inside out.

The claw-grip of life

Avoid finger-marking discs when you handle them. Hold them in a claw-gip with your finger tips spread around the outside edge. Stick a spare finger in the spindle hole if it will help you grip the disc more securely.

If you want your DVDs and CDs to last, rip the content to a hard drive and play it from there. Make backups of the files on another HD. Then put the discs into their jewel cases and put them away in a cool, dry, dark place. And forget about them. From now on, they’re mementoes.

See this technical expose on DVDs and CDs for more detailed information. It’s slanted towards DVD brands available in the US, the UK, France and Germany. So use our advice above on the best brands on the market in Australia.

Disk or disc? The answer will make your head spin

A DVD is a disc, and a CD is a disc, but the disk inside your hard drive is a disk (with a ‘k‘).

Magnetic Disk, Optical Disc,

The computer industry norm is that optical media is disc while magnetic media is disk. However, Dictionary.com describes disk as, ‘any of several types of [computer] media consisting of thin, round plates of plastic or metal, used for external storage: magnetic disk; floppy disk; optical disk.’

Optic Disk, Vertebral Disc

According to Medterms.com, the intervertebral disc is a disk-shaped piece of specialized tissue that separates the bones of the spinal column, while, ophthalmologically speaking, the optic disk in your eye is a disk. However, contrarianwise, the authoritative AMA Manual of Style states that one should use disc for ophthalmologic terms and disk for the remainder of the anatomy.

Disk Brakes, Disc Brakes

Disk brakes are disk brakes in the UK and disc brakes in the US.

Galactic Disc, Debris Disk

In mathematics, the region in a plane enclosed by a circle is a disk. In astronomy, the disc of a galaxy is a disc, however, a ring of debris orbiting an object such as a star is a debris disk.

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