Is it not a good idea to use the "shiny silver" Taiyo Yuden DVD-Rs or something? I've heard that around (not sure if it was on your site). I always buy authentic TY from supermediastore.com, so at least I know they are legit. Are the printable label ones better for some reason?
This really comes down to personal choice, as it's primarily an issue of aesthetics (appearance).
Optical discs are best protected (from light AND mild surface handling) by a covering. Professionally, this is done with
- manufacturer or OEM re-badge screening ("branded" discs),
- end-user/customer silkscreening,
- or by use of inkjet or thermal surface (and more recently, LightScribe surfaces), laid by manufacturer and printed by end-user.
Inexperience home users often apply "sticky labels" made for CD media, with disastrous consequences. This is NOT AT ALL suggested. Never use sticky labels on DVDs, period, for any reason.
Shiny silver discs are manufactured with the expectation that they will be used in a duplication scenario, where the discs will have a silkscreen printing job added to the surface, thus giving it the desired/expected level of "protection".
Protection from what?
Well, mostly fingerprints.
Shiny silver media are often magnets for the oils in your hands -- even the cleanest of hands -- and it makes for dirty discs. The oils can attract dirt, lint and other junk, which can fling off in the drive when the disc is rotating at those high rotational velocities. Admittedly, the idea that something will stick to a fingerprint and then clog up a DVD player is a bit far-fetched. Gravity and air particulates are already forcing dust into your player. What little extra may stick to a disc and come off in the equipment is probably inconsequential. It mostly just looks nasty.
Albeit thin, the top surface of a disc can provide a small amount of extra protection from force that may damage the media. For example, dropping a pen on a disc. In theory, the pen could damage the plastic upper layer, which may alter the foil or dye inside just enough to render bad sectors on the media. Not very realistic either, but theoretical. (It might explain some of the "my data disappeared" whining you find online, too -- as many of those complaints come from less-than-ideal circumstances, be it testing, storage or handling!)
A realistic issue, however, is that light more easily passes through the shiny silver "topless" media
. Light is a primary enemy of optical media, along with moisture and oxygen, so a disc left in the sun (or indoor lights for a much longer duration), even with the dye-side face down, can be damaged more quickly. Realism aside, that is poor handling and care of media, discs should be put up anyway, not left in window sills or coffee tables.
The science is there, just not necessarily practical reasoning.
The only actual issue is that fingerprints look unclean/unsanitary.