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  #1  
04-12-2009, 12:08 AM
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Hi, I have spent several hours online trying to get an answer. Just too confusing and too many opinions. I want to store wedding pictures and family pictures to disk. I'm looking for long term (archival type) storage, high quality, etc. Disk price is not a major issue. Can you tell me what CD or DVD disk is best for this purpose? Also, is my generic CD/DVD player adequate for playing such disks. Thank for your time and I look forward to your reply.
To answer this question, I think it will be helpful to identify why you've had a hard time getting a good answer. So I'll start there. You've run into one of a few groups in-person or online, and have been subjected to a lot of poor information:
  1. Joe Cheapskate: This is the person who buys whatever is on sale, regardless of brand, and swears up and down that he is using "good media" and that he has "never had problems". His suggestions often including mediocre/sub-standard media (as per our reviews, and many other reviews online) such as Ritek/Ridata, Memorex, HP or TDK. In other words, Ritek and CMC media. In some cases, he'll run across more obscure no-name Korean/Chinese junk in the local dollar store or grocer, or buy no-name or fake-ID discs online.
  2. Johnny Greenhorn: This is a person who means well, but really doesn't know enough about blank discs to be giving advice, or reviewing products. These folks are often seen leaving reviews on sites like Amazon.com, both positive and negative. You can easily be misled by them.
  3. Freddy Fanboy: This person generally has zero knowledge on recordable media, or at best a very rudimentary understanding. You'll run across these rabid fanboys on certain forums online, playing with their scanning tools. You honestly get dumber reading their rambling writings. They change advice as often as they change their underwear, there is no consistency from these folks. They are best ignored.
  4. BuyGoldArchivalMedia.com*: In the past couple of years here, there's been a marketing push for "gold" media, often touted as best or "archival" for this reason and that. The problem with this is that gold is LESS REFLECTIVE than silver-colored foil alloys, and therefore HARDER TO READ. As dyes age, the combination of degrading dye and subpar foil will make the disc LESS READABLE than non-gold media, and therefore a horrible choice for archiving. Beyond that, the quality of their dyes, as well as the disc/burner compatibility, is less than favorable in real-world testing and usage. MAM-A produces most of this media, and it is sold under several brands, such as Delkin and Kodak, often for insanely ridiculous prices.
* Note: At the time of this writing, BuyGoldArchivalMedia.com does not exist.*
Anyway, on to the truly archival media suggestions...

You're best off buying one of the following discs for archival needs:
  • Verbatim (Mitsubishi) DVD-R or DVD+R, inkjet or branded (not "shiny silver")
  • Taiyo Yuden DVD-R or DVD+R, inkjet or branded (not "shiny silver")**
  • Taiyo Yuden DVD-R or DVD+R with TripleGuard/HardCoat: TY media can also come with a scratch-resistant coating (sometimes referred to as "TripleGuard" or "Hard Coat"), which may help if the archival discs will be handled a lot. If you will be storing these correctly (no wallets!), then such protection may not be needed, it will be a waste of funds.
  • Verbatim (Mitsubishi) UltraLife Gold Archival: If you really, really want to insist on "gold" media, Verbatim makes discs to meet this silly demand WITHOUT THE PROBLEMS found in other "gold" discs. Mitsubishi/Verbatim only uses gold on the top foil layer, the underside is still using a more-reflective silver. The dye is metalic AZO, a highly regarded quality dye, and comes with an added scratch-resistant "hard coating".
** Note: Taiyo Yuden branded media is not easily found, especially not in North America. The "That's" brand is found in the Pacific, such as Japan, and sometimes in Europe. Domestic USA/Canada brands such as Fuji and Sony no longer stock re-badged "made in Japan" TY DVD-R or YUDEN DVD+R discs.
Old "Archival" Media:
  • Verbatim used to make an 8x DVD-R and DVD+R called "VideoGard" (yes, that is spelled correctly!), and while the coating was excellent, the burn quality of the discs seemed to be less than stellar. Due to very high costs and limited availability, we never could get enough of these discs burned to come up with an adequate sampling to make a definitive judgment for a review. They were gone within a year, by our observations.
  • Maxell competed with the above 8x Verbatim products with their own Maxell 8x Broadcast Pro DVD-R, also touting a hard coating and supposedly higher standard of production. The coating didn't seem to be quite as good as the Verbatim discs, and they honestly burned the same as other MXLRG03 branded DVD-R, which wasn't all that excellent as compared to older MXLRG02, TY or MCC discs.
No Double-Layer media, you ask? At this time, while Verbatim DVD+R DL media is one of the best discs made, and the only DL disc worth buying and using, the physical properties of the second layer give some of us pause. The second layer of DL media is already harder to read, on a recordable disc (not to be confused with a pressed DVD9), so as the media ages, there could be "loss of data", due to an inability to read that part of the disc really well. For truly archival needs, it is suggested that you stay with single-layer DVD5 recordable media.

DVD-RAM, DVD+RW, DVD-RW is not archival! Phase-change media breaks down much quicker than write-once dye-based media. Only use re-recordable/re-writeable media for temporary storage.

Where to buy archival-grade media:

Hopefully this very long post answers the original question.

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  #2  
12-31-2009, 12:49 AM
rozerdemit rozerdemit is offline
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Wow really a great information thanks for sharing,,,,,



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01-01-2010, 12:30 AM
williamcreig williamcreig is offline
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Originally Posted by rozerdemit View Post
Wow really a great information thanks for sharing,,,,,



yes really good information,,,thanks for that
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01-04-2010, 01:45 PM
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Could you possibly clarify between Taiyo Yuden's DVD-R product "names" for the 4 differing disc (top side) surfaces they sell media with:

Silver Inkjet
Silver Thermal
White Inkjet
White Thermal

Pricing varies by title...What are your suggestions for type usage, based on a specific application??
In advance, thank you!
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01-05-2010, 06:12 AM
JiggaMoose JiggaMoose is offline
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Hello. I'm new to the forum. I wonder if there is any way to tell WHICH Verbatim discs you might be ordering if the description from the seller is not very detailed. I understand that I would want discs that are "inkjet" or "branded" (though I don't know what "branded" means), but is there any way to tell if the site, Amazon for example, does not specify?
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01-05-2010, 01:48 PM
dyfan dyfan is offline
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"Branded" means just what the word says. The disc has the marketer's brand name plainly printed on the top side. Hope this helps you.
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  #7  
01-05-2010, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JiggaMoose View Post
Hello. I'm new to the forum. I wonder if there is any way to tell WHICH Verbatim discs you might be ordering if the description from the seller is not very detailed. I understand that I would want discs that are "inkjet" or "branded" (though I don't know what "branded" means), but is there any way to tell if the site, Amazon for example, does not specify?
This is a branded Verbatim disc: (must be logged in to see photo)

branded-verbatim.jpg

You can buy Mitsubishi-made Verbatim-branded media at the best prices from the following links:
Current prices and deals can always be found at http://www.digitalfaq.com/reviews/dvd-media.htm

Again, Verbatims can be made in Taiwan, Singapore, India, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). One of the big myths in online forums right now is that one is better than the other. Independent testing, and information from Verbatim/Mitsubishi, has revealed those myths to be BS uttered by people with limited knowledge on the subject of recordable optical media. Be careful believing what you read from some sites (especially if it's just random/anonymous users in the forums). Media made at all locations should be considered excellent top-shelf quality discs, from a company known to produce reliable products.


*****************************************

Please note that you DO NOT want the "Value Series" packaged media. These are CMC or RITEK discs, wholly inferior to Mitsubishi Verbatim. TigerDirect is shown selling them here: http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/...type=2&subid=0

DO NOT BUY THESE DISCS:
You must be logged in to view this content; either login or register for the forum. The attached screen shots, before/after images, photos and graphics are created/posted for the benefit of site members. And you are invited to join our digital media community.


While available for probably a year now, they've been easier to find in recent months. Don't be tricked into buying these lower-grade discs. What's worse is they're often the SAME PRICE RANGE as the better MCC/MKM Mitsubishi discs.



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01-05-2010, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dyfan View Post
Could you possibly clarify between Taiyo Yuden's DVD-R product "names" for the 4 differing disc (top side) surfaces they sell media with:

Silver Inkjet
Silver Thermal
White Inkjet
White Thermal

Pricing varies by title...What are your suggestions for type usage, based on a specific application??
In advance, thank you!
Use inkjet media in inkjet printers. Use thermal media in thermal printers.

Rather than retype everything, I've quoted this unattributed paragraph as found quoted on another site.

Quote:
A thermal printer uses pressure and heat to apply text and graphics to the disc printable surface. The resulting print is waterproof and scratchproof and does not require additional coating. The major limitation of thermal print is its inability to adequately produce vibrant photographic images. A thermal print should only be used for simple text and graphics.

An inkjet disc printer works very much like a regular paper inkjet printer. The ink is sprayed from nozzles onto the inkjet printable blank disc media surface. After printing, the discs are coated with a lacquer or laminate to ensure the discs are highly water and scratch proof.
The benefits of printing on a disc itself is limited. There is almost no ROI (return on investment), and even commercial releases tend to skimp on art these days, for this very reason.

In terms of viewing time a DVD case is often looked at the most, several minutes of time for the shelf life of the disc, and is most appreciated. A case is the most important presentation piece, behind the content (menu, audio, video quality). A DVD menu is looked at next most, because it is actually an integrated piece of content. The disc artwork is generally ignored, or looked at only during those few fleeting seconds as the disc is removed from a case and put into the player.

In my research on this topic, over a period of about 10 years, it became apparent that the ONLY people who appreciate disc artwork (in general) tend to be slobs that poorly care for discs, leaving them out of cases, laying all over the place. The only way they could ID a disc is by the artwork. And in some cases, even that would not help, if the artwork was too "artsy" and did not include any text. Rarely do I come across organized/responsible disc owners that cared about the "purty pikturs" on the discs.

Most home users are so lacking in graphic art skills that they are better off just using neat handwriting on a disc, rather than some ghastly low-quality image. Most homemade printed discs use low-res web images, stretched and pixellated, before being printed to the disc. To say it looks like crap would be an understatement.

Then there's the costs and hassles of inkjet equipment and the inks themselves.

You're free to use the discs, however, and not worry about printing on the surfaces. Unlike the "shiny silver" discs, the thermal discs won't pick up fingerprints. Inkjet discs, however, may pick up latent ink from fingers -- for example, handling a newspaper before handling the discs, leaving dirty gray prints after handling.

Hope that clears it up!

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  #9  
01-06-2010, 12:50 PM
Reading Bug Reading Bug is offline
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Quote:
*****************************************

Please note that you DO NOT want the "Value Series" packaged media. These are CMC or RITEK discs, wholly inferior to Mitsubishi Verbatim.

While available for probably a year now, they've been easier to find in recent months. Don't be tricked into buying these lower-grade discs. What's worse is they're often the SAME PRICE RANGE as the better MCC/MKM Mitsubishi discs.
How exactly is Mitsubishi/Verbatim related to these inferior discs? Aren't CMC and Ritek different brands from Verbatim?
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01-06-2010, 06:04 PM
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Well ..... no.

Although Verbatim is a subsidiary company Mitsubishi Chemicals Corporation --- part of the very large Mitsubishi Japan conglomerate, which makes everything from CD-R to cars --- you have to remember that Verbatim is still just a retail "brand name" and not a manufacturer.

CMC and Ritek are also manufacturers, not retail brand names. Ritek uses "Ridata" and "Arita" as its brand names. CMC does not have a house brand that I'm aware of, they merely resell to other retail brands like Memorex and HP.

Although Verbatim almost entirely uses media from its parent corporation (MCC and MKM media), it's been known to sell other manufacturers under their own name. They do so at their own peril, of course, when it's inferior media. In 2003, they took a deserved reputation hit for re-branding some very crappy first-generation CMC discs. That quickly ended, as there was a pretty big revolt in the media-buying community.

For quite a few years in Europe, the "pearl top" Verbatim discs were actually re-branded Taiyo Yuden discs. That, of course, was not an issue since TY is a good disc.

I would imagine the 2003 CMC fiasco taught them a lesson, and is why you see "Value Series" on this latest sub-grade product. Last time, they just snuck the discs under their existing labels, which felt like a big bait-and-switch to buyers (and thus caused the anger at the time). Verbatim appears to be buying Ritek and CMC, and re-branding it under their own name.

Most consumers just buy whatever is on the rack. While I wish we could do that, it's not the same as buying a bottle of store-brand mustard or a generic version of Tylenol and getting "the same thing" --- all discs are not the same. The very basic idea of "Memorex bad, Verbatim good" -- the most complex thought many buyers of media have -- may soon be diluted if the Value Series discs hits a high market saturation AND the CMC/Ritek media performs to its mediocre/unimpressive historical expectations. Casual know-nothing buyers will no longer be sure that "Verbatim good" is true, and may start to experiment with other brands hoping to fine "_____ good" with another brand. Again, a cost-cutting measure is done at their own peril. I think their outsourcing of physical manufacturing to CMC, MBI, Prodisc and FTI is already a smart cost cut. Pushing for more will dilute the quality and their own reputation.

"Not all media is good" is something we began to notice as mere media users in the early 90s with CD-R, and our research into media began at that early date, picking up DVD-R General in 2001 and DVD+R in 2002/2003.

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  #11  
01-07-2010, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by admin View Post
--- you have to remember that Verbatim is still just a retail "brand name" and not a manufacturer.
Ah, right.

Quote:
Last time, they just snuck the discs under their existing labels, which felt like a big bait-and-switch to buyers (and thus caused the anger at the time).
This is exactly what I was feeling here, which is what sparked my question. I noticed "Value Series" on the label, but that subjective term doesn't mean much if you don't know the story behind it. Very happy to have this cleared up.

Quote:
Casual know-nothing buyers will no longer be sure that "Verbatim good" is true, and may start to experiment with other brands hoping to fine "_____ good" with another brand.
And those like myself benefit from great resources like this site when trying to stay afloat on how things evolve. So much time is saved by not having to do this kind of legwork yourself. Thanks Admin.
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  #12  
01-07-2010, 01:10 PM
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Just to clarify, "know-nothing" was not meant as a kind of insult to anybody. It was used for lack of a better word during an after-hour posting. The nicer term is probably something more lengthy, like "consumers not aware of all the complex business and technical issues revolving around blank discs". Talk about word salad.

... but I think you knew all that.

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