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11-10-2009, 09:59 PM
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I wasn't sure if I should have just added this to my recent post about retail DVD creation, but this seems like a separate topic...

Warner Home Video has recently started a program called the Archive Collection, in which they take existing masters of unreleased films, burn them to DVD-R upon order and ship it to a customer. Naturally there has been some negative backlash to such a practice, with the downgrade to recordable discs being among the top concerns.

Universal and Turner Classic Movies have even more recently started a similar program together, in which they offer slightly more bang for the buck: remastered films and some basic extras. I didn't think too much of this news until I read this post today.

Partly because of this report (I think this is one of the first Universal/TCM releases) and partly because this industry change has had some time to ferment, I'm curious as to opinions about this. Has professional duplicating equipment grown to offer something better than a home-recorded disc? Are there new advances in recordable discs? What are these new discs actually?
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  #2  
11-10-2009, 10:37 PM
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Separate topic, sure. Why not.

A few years ago, some studies were done by one of the research groups. I forget which one at this point in time. Maybe it was NIST, OSTA or even the LOC. Or maybe it was Verbatim or Sony. No matter...

The outcome of the initial research showed that a well-made recordable disc may actually outlast a poorly mass-produced pressed disc. I spoke with a friend of one of the researchers at length some time later -- he contacted me -- to get something .... I don't know what. Again, it's been years. We talked in e-mail, we had a good conversation, we traded some information. A few months later, the research was still not formally finalized with comparative analysis -- latter tests to verify the first test wasn't a fluke. I never really heard about the test ever again. I'm not even sure if the test or results were made public.

Contrary to some of the crap recent in recent years --
namely that fluff piece claiming discs die in 2-5 years, suggesting hard drives and tapes are better for archives, as written by a non-journalist with ties to IBM, which has no optical media products, and just happens to sell hard drives and tapes
-- discs don't die that easily. In fact, you'll probably be dead before the discs degrade to a point of unreadability. This assumes the disc was quality when it started, and stored in a proper cool/dark/non-humid environment for its whole life. Scratches, sunlight and attic/garage storage not suggested.

Several companies have been offering DVD-R for years now.

Personally, I think it's crappy. There's no reason to not press 1,000 discs at a time, and then store the glass mater for re-press when it's time. Surely DVD-R duplication is just as pricey as small-run replication. I think the unfavorable reviews are deserved, especially when it's highly likely they'll be using substandard discs, rather than Taiyo Yuden or Mistubishi media. If cost is such as concern, then skip discs altogether. Let me download the big unauthored MPEG-2 or pre-authored ISO, and I'll burn it myself. It works for LOC's Archive.org and historical films.

I think Warner already cuts too many corners. Just look at the poor releases of shows like Thundercats or Tom & Jerry, where the contents were messed up due to pathetic editing, and it wasn't uncommon to get a bad press. MGM has been just as guilty. In some cases, studios acknowledged the error, but still refused to correct it. They took the "oh well" attitude with consumers.

Compared to a pressed DVD-Video disc, yeah, it could be considered inferior, in terms of how well it will play in players out there. I'm sure there's a disclaimer sticker or warning on the product and/or the order pages.

On the other hand, they're FINALLY making some content available, so it's hard to criticize too much. Just not ideal for consumers.

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11-10-2009, 11:12 PM
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Thanks again Admin

I don't have any Archive discs, but Warner supposedly uses Verbatim.

I feel the same way you do. I'm a fan of film scores as well as classic film, and numerous independent labels (La La Land Records, Intrada Records, Film Score Monthly) have done and still do very well producing professional, pressed CDs given the deluxe treatment: in-depth liner notes, great looking graphics, artwork, jewel cases etc. There is simply no difference between their products and those of the big labels. They charge about $20 per (same as the Archives) and limit their runs to between 1,200 and 3,000 copies, approximately. They all have loyal followings - as their titles are naturally rare soundtracks from mostly older films and TV specials/shows - and continue (even in this economic climate) to sell out many titles. I see no reason Warner and Universal can't do the same.

Anyway, what do you think those Universal discs are? Just fancy recordables?
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11-11-2009, 01:07 AM
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Hopefully it's authentic Verbatim/Mitsubishi through legitimate channels -- not fake or downgraded reject media from backwater distributors in Asia.

Looking at the linked post from hometheatreforum, it sounds like the person is not knowledgeable about DVD media. A DVD-R will be purple on bottom, a press will be a shade of silver, bronze or gold. There's no way that the discs can
Quote:
look like regular pressed DVD's without telltale DVD-R marks
as that person claims. The difference would be glaringly obvious.

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