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04-11-2008, 08:12 AM
Cory Cory is offline
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I recently purchased a LITE-ON LH-20A1L-06 DVD burner with Lightscribe, and I'm considering using the Lightscribe feature, but I do not know anything about how it works.
  • How does Lightscribe technology work?
  • Who owns the technology and will we see it go anywhere (used on BlueRay, for example)?
  • How does Lightscribe affect the longevity of a DVD burner?
  • How does Lightscribe affect the longevity of DVD media?
  • What kind of Lightscribe media is the best?
  • Does Lightscribe alone result in compatibility issues with DVD players?
  • Which Lightscribe drives are the best (I know there are a lot of factors here)?
  • Do you recommend the use of Lightscribe technology, and if not, how do you recommend labelling DVD media?
Thank you,
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And the answers...

LightScribe technology burns an image into a special dye using the same laser that burns data on the bottom side of a disc. It's similar to the dyes used for the data-side of discs, but is entirely for aesthetic purposes (data cannot be written here).

Hewlett-Packard is the inventor and licensor of the technology. It mostly exists in HP-branded DVD burners, although it can be found in a few others (LG, for example). Due to the relative lack of interest and unimpressive nature of the imagery, I doubt it will make it to next-generation disc formats. (For that matter, I doubt next-gen disc formats will catch on either -- people are tired of discs altogether, something I've written about in another post on the forum).

Lasers have a limited lifespan, measured in thousands of hours. The more a laser is used, the faster it dies. So yes, use of this feature can diminish the laser's lifespan. Especially so, since LS technology burns so slowly. It can actually "kill" a drive faster than burning the data side of the disc (because today's 12x-16x speeds are only minutes long, compared to the much longer time needed for LS burning).

The LS DVD media will not be affected longevity-wise.

As with any media, be it inkjet or LS or branded, good discs are suggested. In the case of LS-available media, turn to VERBATIM and nobody else.

Compatibility will not be affected. This is above-the-foil artwork, not something from the foil down, which is where compatibility issues largely exist.

The best LightScribe enabled burner that I'm aware of is LiteOn. Neither Samsung nor Pioneer, which are the best drives burning-wise, have LS functions (again, to my knowledge -- but check around, as new drives are always coming out).

Of all the artwork factors that go into a package, the top-of-disc artwork is least viewed and least cared about. The DVD menu artwork is most important, followed by the DVD case artwork. The menu MUST be looked at, and will get most viewing time, up to a few minutes. The DVD case artwork usually gets several minutes too, especially if it has valuable information on it (such as an episode guide, if its a television series -- or a summary of the event, or something along those lines). The disc itself is only looked at for maybe 10-20 seconds, as it is moved from the case to the player. So lots of time spent on this is largely wasted.

LightScribe artwork looks too much like a Daguerreotype, the earliest 1800s photography. It's brownish and muddy, lacks contrast. It's not impressive at all. This has been posted about in the forum before).

Of all the ways to label discs, I suggest two things: (1) if this is for personal needs, just use an EXTRA FINE Sharpie-branded marker, and use neat handwriting. Or (2), if this is for business needs, either return plain inkjet discs to the customer (they can print their own art, or write on it themselves), or do inkjet disc artwork from the artwork provided by the customer (charge extra if you make it yourself -- but only if it's good).

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