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.