Blank Media Guides

This section of the site originally started out as a single-page reference for those who wanted to buy high quality DVD media. As time has passed, the subject has grown more complex. To make this complex topic easy to understand, we have separated the topic into several sub-topic guides. For the best understanding of blank media, read all of our reviews and articles.


Blank DVD Media Quality Review (Manufacturer+Brand)
Not all media is good. In fact, with the high influx of cheap media from China, Korea and Hong Kong, I’d venture to say most media is bad (the best media comes from Japan and some Taiwan manufacturers). This review guide section is meant to shed some light on who manufactures and brands quality DVD media, both single layer and dual/double layer discs.

Where to Buy DVD Media
This guide section lists many online sites and brick-n-mortar stores in the USA and Canada. It tells both who is good and who is not so good. Other worldwide sites (Europe, Australia, Asia, etc) will be added when they are reported.

Guides / Articles

Concepts of Burning and Blank DVD Media Quality
There are a number of mitigating factors that can affect typical media quality as discussed in the prior guide section. Disc manufacturing outsourcing, overprinting, dye grades, burner firmware issues and several other variables are explained in this section. Be aware that this section is NOT an easy read, and folks who are new to disc quality discussions may want to skip this for now.

How to Test the Burn Quality of CD/DVD Media
The creation of optical media is a fairly complex process with little room for variance or error. There is no single test out there which can state the quality of a disc, at least not with any kind of legitimate accuracy. However, it is possible to get a fairly reasonable assessment by performing several different tests and analyzing the results.

Longevity Guide: How Long Do Discs and Tapes Last?
There are a number of misinformed folks out there scaring people much in the same way Chicken Little screamed that “the sky is falling.” Your DVDs and CDs are not dying on the shelf, your VHS tapes are not disintegrating. This guide section will shed some light on the various aspects of longevity and what you can do to insure a long media lifespan.

Blank DVD Format/Size FAQ
DVD-R or DVD+R? Single-layer or double-layer? When it concerns DVD-Video playback on DVD players, the quickie answer here is that DVD-R works more often than DVD+R, and that DVD+RW works more often than DVD-RW or DVD-RAM. But this topic can get complex, and there are several factors to consider when deciding what type of media should be used. DVD media also comes in different “sizes” for storing data.

Quick Answers to Common Questions

What’s difference between a burned disc and a “store bought” disc? “Hollywood” doesn’t burn media. “Real” discs are pressed metal, mechanically made media. The presses are precise. Burning is a sloppy method to recreate the process, using dyes that can have pits and grooves “burned” into the chemical, making an illusion of how a “real” disc would look and work. If you compare a pressed media and a burned media under a microscope, you can see that the pressed media is fairly precise, while the burns are fairly erratic, and it’s almost a miracle that burning works at all.

What’s a coaster? Why is this page called For those that are new to CD or DVD media, a “coaster” is a reference to “drink coaster”… the thing you put your cup on in a restaurant or your mother’s coffee table. When a disc goes bad, it has no other use. They become coasters, Frisbees, trashcan liners … maybe even practice pigeons for NRA members. In this context, this page is aimed at helping you to make “no more coasters”.

Where are some more sites to learn about media? The topics of media quality and media longevity are largely confusing and online user forums often make this situation even worse. The blank media information on this site is compiled by a select handful of knowledgeable individuals that have experience with countless thousands of pieces of blank media, and is put online for the sole goal of helping people like you to make smart choices. We want you to have a good buying and burning experience. The same cannot be said for individuals found in forums, as many of them jump to wrong conclusions, have bad attitudes when confronted or questioned, and their experiences are far from advanced (or even intermediate). Please be careful out there. Do not be misled by a shill or by somebody that has no more experience than yourself.

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