CD Freaks presents a series of Questions and Answers with people working in the digital storage industry. This week we post the answers to your questions asked to Torsten Leye, Marketing Manager Optical, Verbatim.
"Thank you for asking so many good questions. Before I go into details, just one comment: I can only speak on behalf of Verbatim EUMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa). I cannot answer for any other regions like America or Australia. However, I will forward your questions and remarks to my colleagues. Let me briefly explain about Verbatim. All Verbatim organizations (America, EUMEA, Asia/Pacific) are subsidiaries of Mitsubishi Kagaku Media (MKM), a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC).
Questions and Answers:
1) Will Verbatim continue the trend of using multiple manufacturers for DVD media for the same product/reorder numbers?
Yes, this will keep us independent of one supplier only. Our products are manufactured to the same Mitsubishi standards and quality control levels, independent of the production site.
2) Will Verbatim continue to provide DVD media using Mitsubishi technology and media codes?
Yes, Mitsubishi technology is a very important factor of our reputation for quality. For some regular matt silver DVD we may blend in some Taiyo Yuden DVD media, as we believe that this will not spoil our reputation for quality. Please note that any premium media like Printable, Lightscribe or Gold Archival Grade e.g. is based on Mitsubishi technology discs only. We will also keep our Mitsubishi technology for CD-R to be recognized by the AZO logo. Taiyo Yuden sourced media can easily be recognized by the country of origin. They are our only DVD made in Japan.
3) A lot of people on the CDFreaks forums have the impression, that Verbatim DVD media manufactured in India by Moser Baer is more variable than Verbatim media manufactured in Singapore by Verbatim or in Taiwan by CMC and Prodisc. What is your response to this impression? Is quality control a problem with your outsourced media production, and what steps if any are you taking to address this perceived problem?
All our factories produce based on the same quality standards. They are all continuously controlled by Mitsubishi engineers and regularly audited. All factories run the same ISO 9000/1/2 based quality schemes and use the same test equipment. All factories have many production lines running within the production. Quality variation from line to line and day to day is probably higher. All our own tests do not indicate any general quality variation from factory to factory. We also closely monitor returns from distribution and endusers. Statistics do not reveal any different return percentages for any factories. We note the different perceptions within the forum communities. However, these slightly change from time to time, especially when bigger quantities from just one source are available.
4) Is Verbatim planning to distribute 12x DVD-RAM in the US/EMEA, or is 5x the fastest we’ll see from Verbatim?
Currently we have no plans to introduce 12x DVD-RAM into the market. There are two reasons: One is the compatibility issues of 12x media with older drives. Secondly our supplier for DVD-RAM does not yet offer them to us.
5) How do you comment the fact that some DVD recorder manufacturers overspeed some of your media?
In general we recommend using the media indicated speed or one speed generation less, e.g. use 8X – 16X for 16X media or 4X – 8X for 8X media. There are media specifications, but no drive specifications. Drive manufacturers can do what they want, provided the recorded disc complies with the specifications for recorded media. Media specifications control for example the mechanical characteristics. 16X media has tighter specifications for Focus Error and Tracking Error than 8X media which is necessary when speeding at 16X = 10,000rpm (equivalent to 200km/h at the outer edge of the disc!). 20X recording induces approx. 11,500 rpm to the media. Already 16X is near the physical limits for DVD technology.
However, some test results indicate that some hardware manufacturers optimize their writing strategies NOT for the specified speed, but for higher speed already, e.g. 4X rather than 2.4X for Double Layer media.
6) While DVD recorder drive manufacturers have introduced 18x and 20x recording speed drives, we have not seen any media rated at these speeds. Why is this? Are there any 18x or 20x media in your plans?
There is no media specification yet for 18x or 20x speed, neither from DVD-Forum nor +RW alliance. Hence we stick to 16x media as we only provide media to the markets that meet the specifications given by the industry organizations. If they agree on a standard, we will try to meet it and bring equivalent media to the market. We have also started testing for the mechanical stability at those high speeds. Some people may still remember the stories about “exploding” CD-R media at 52x speed when this speed was introduced for CD-R recording. See also question #5.
7) Why isn’t the disc’s MID code printed at the package? Could this be done in the future, please?
This is a good suggestion. We will look into this for the future.
8) Are there plans to bring down the cost of Lightscribe and DL DVDs?
The current cost is prohibitive for both technologies to really develop into a mass market. As we are technology leaders for both of them, we look into making those discs less expensive without sacrificing quality. Without promising anything, I believe we are heading in the right direction bringing cost down.
9) Are there any plans for 16x DL from Verbatim?
Yes, we are developing. Again, no standard has been specified yet by the +RW alliance. Once the standard is set, we will communicate with the drive manufacturers, get our media certified by the +RW Alliance verification laboratory and then introduce the media to the market. However, I cannot give any timeline yet when this will happen.
10) Does Verbatim have any plans to sell rebadged TY media in the North American and Latin American market the way it does in Europe?
As stated in my introductory comment, I cannot speak for my colleagues there. I gave your question to them. Please also contact Verbatim America’s support hotline.
11) Why is 2.4X DVD+R DL media still being produced when 8X DVD+R DL is far superior (quality-wise) and is already mainstream?
Why should 8X media be superior? It is different. It is main stream only for our competition. I would put this to the fact that competitor’s 2.4x media never had the same support / compatibility from the drive manufacturers than our MCC / MKM coded media. You can get basically identical quality results for our 2.4x and 8x media, provided you use a drive that supports the media with its appropriate write strategy. Though we cannot recommend, we notice that many drive manufacturers rate our 2.4x media being so good that they write it at up to 8x speed. Currently there is also a cost advantage for 2.4x media over 8x media.
12) When will we see larger quantities of 8X DVD+R DL available (i.e. in larger packs)?
We will introduce more 8x DVDR DL media within 2008.
13) When will Australians see Verbatim 8X DVD+RW?
As stated in my introductory comment, I cannot speak for my colleagues there. I gave your question to them. Please also contact Verbatim Australia’s support hotline. Note that such media is available in Europe produced with Mitsubishi technology.
14) Are there any plans to produce DVD+RW DL or DVD-RW DL?
No, we stopped development. We cannot get around the compatibility problems for such media. Due to its low reflectivity of <10% such media does not conform to the original DVD specifications rating >18% reflectivity. Hence the media would not be supported by the large installed base of writers nor by the players/ROM drives. Only specially developed equipment would support such media.
15) Are there any plans to produce single-layered DVD media rated at 18X/20X?
See question #6.
16) Has production of "Super Azo" CD-Rs been discontinued? There seems to be a shortage of the stuff (at least in Australia) and from what I can tell it is highly sought-after.
Though I cannot comment on Australia’s sales policy, I can state that we did not stop production of our AZO CD-R as this is our main core technology for CD-R. Note that we discontinued marketing it as “Super AZO”. With our new Global Branding approach we name all discs that use our Mitsubishi AZO technology “AZO” discs, whether they are CD-R or DVDR or HDDVDR. These discs are all based on AZO chemistry where metal ions are implemented. As those metal ions are different for the different laser wavelengths and recording speeds (CD, DVD, HDDVD), they show different colours.
17) Also any chance we might see DVD recordable media produced with the "durabis like" coating to protect our backups and home movies? Similar to what TDK offers and whats on current pressed Blu-ray movies.
We already carry such media. In Europe it is branded “Archival Grade” DVD-R 8x featuring also our gold/silver reflective layer available as 5pack Jewelcase (Reorder 43634) or 25pk spindle (Reorder 43638). Also we run special “Hardcoat” media. In America hardcoated media is available as “VideoGuard”. All our 8cm DVD and our DVD-RAM are hardcoated as well. We did not invent a brandname for our coating, but simply call it “Hardcoat”. Look for the “Hardcoat” logo on the packaging. Please check also our websites www.verbatim.com
for America or www.verbatim-europe.com
for EUMEA region.
18) Is there any chance that we would see a resurrection of any production of Metal AZO CD-Rs? and even for the basic AZO dye, which is still giving perfect scans after 11 years?
Unfortunately not. We discontinued making the chemical ingredients themselves, so we stopped manufacturing after having used up our inventory. See also question #16.
19) People complain about finding you in the Middle East, will Verbatim focus on the Middle and improve their presence and support there?
For a year now we employ sales people directly responsible for the Middle East. We also opened a local warehouse, thus better serving our customers. Presence in retail markets still varies from country to country, but we are continuing our program for better presence and support in the region.
We would like to thank Torsten Leye for cooperating with us and answering the questions.