How To Choose CD/DVD Archival Media

(Last updated January 11th 2013)

Translations: Serbo-Croatian by Jovana Milutinovich

Ahh, I’ve been planning to write this one for awhile: an entire article on archival quality media. As I do professional software development as well as professional photography (what a weird combination), I need archival quality CD and DVD media to store my data on.

However, one of the hardest things to is actually find good media, or even understand why it is good media. This article focuses on the history of Compact Discs, writable CD/DVD media, and why DVD+R is superior to DVD-R. If you want to just know what media is worth buying, skip to the summary at the bottom.

Short history of the Compact Disc
The invention of the Compact Disc has had a large impact on both music and computing in the last 20 years. Invented in 1979 as a joint project between Sony and Philips to counter the self-destructive nature of consumer audio playback (such as tapes and records that could only be played so many times before the recording degraded significantly) by switching to a resilient digital format.

The CD was also designed to store standard computer data, as in 1985 the first CD drives for computers were released; massive, bulky, and expensive, it was not until the mid-90s that they really took off, driven almost solely by video games and large multimedia applications.

In 1990, Sony and Philips went back to the drawing table, and then came out with the CD-R, a record-once medium. Yet again, the first CD burners were large, expensive, and bulky, but by the late 90s having a CD burner was the new ‘in’.

The first few generations of CD media, designed by Taiyo Yuden (a company who I respect, and buy all my archival quality media from), actually kind of sucked; it wasn’t until around 2000 that companies started producing very high end media.

CDs and DVDs store individual bits (encoded in various ways depending on the media) with spots of reflective and non-reflective areas. This method is called ‘pits and lands’, where pits ‘absorb’ light (ie, are ‘off’ bits) and lands ‘reflect’ light (ie, are ‘on’ bits).

With pressed media, the pressing method causes pits to reflect the laser’s light away from the sensor, and the lands to reflect it back at the sensor. With burned media, a high energy laser causes spots of organic dye to go opaque and obscure the reflective surface for the pits, leaving the organic dye for lands alone.

Short history of the DVD
While burning was becoming popular in the late 90s, so was playing high quality video on DVDs. Storing almost 7 times the data of a 700MB CD (or almost 13 in the case of dual layer DVDs), allowed companies to store massive amounts of data on one disc, leading to the movie industry to drop VHS tapes and the video game industry to drop CDs.

In 1995, the first DVD specification was ratified by over a dozen companies including Sony and Philips, as well as Thompson, Pioneer, and Mitsubishi. By 2000, at least half the homes in the US and Japan had DVD players.

So, obviously, the next step was to produce burnable DVDs. Two separate, and incompatible, efforts took hold. The first one, Pioneer’s DVD-R (pronounced ‘DVD dash R’) was released in 1997, using different data storage methods than pressed DVDs (appearing to be more like CD-R than DVD), a poor error correction scheme, and the ‘wobble’ laser tracking system of DVD-R is inadequate for the job.

The second effort, lead by the DVD+RW Alliance (headed by Sony, Philips, Mitsubishi, and Thompson) was released in 2002, as an alternative to the poorly implemented DVD-R. DVD+R uses a superior ‘wobble’ laser tracking system, a far better error correction method, and the media quality itself is typically higher. (See the ‘Why DVD+R?’ section below for a more technical explanation)

Why archival media is hard to produce
Unlike pressed CDs/DVDs, ‘burnt’ CDs/DVDs can eventually ‘fade’, due to five things that effect the quality of CD media: Sealing method, reflective layer, organic dye makeup, where it was manufactured, and your storage practices (please keep all media out of direct sunlight, in a nice cool dry dark place, in acid-free plastic containers; this will triple the lifetime of any media).

The silver and aluminum alloys used in virtually all blank CD/DVD media has one major issue, requiring the manufacturer to lacquer a protective seal over the entire disc: silver and aluminum oxidize when they hit air, turning the normally reflective layer into silver or aluminum rust. Some (very expensive) media uses gold instead which doesn’t oxidize, however DVD media cannot use gold due to design issues (not true anymore, see update 1 below). Today, only the cheapest of the cheap media has severe issues with sealing practices (as such, avoid any media made outside of Japan and Taiwan; especially avoid media made in India).

Assuming that the protective seal and reflective layer are manufactured correctly, the next issue is the organic dye. The first organic dyes, designed by Taiyo Yuden, were Cyanine-based and, under normal conditions, had a shelf life of around ten years; simply, that was simply unacceptable for archive discs. Taiyo Yuden, Mitsubishi Chemicals, Mitsui Co., and Ciba Specialty Chemicals spent the next ten years trying to produce the best organic dyes, eventually reaching archive-quality CD media.

Taiyo Yuden produced ‘Super Cyanine’, a chemically stabilized version of the original Cyanine dye designs, while TDK offers media that uses ‘metal-stabilized Cyanine’ dye, leading to similar shelf lives as Taiyo Yuden’s media. Taiyo Yuden states their Super Cyanine dye is chemically stable for at least 70 years, and TDK states their metal-stabilized Cyanine is also stable for 70 years.

On the other hand, Mitsubishi went in a different direction and produced what is called a Metal Azo dye, that they claim is stable for around 100 years. Azo dyes are chemically stable, however, the shelf life of media using Azo dyes typically does not exceed that of Super Cyanine and metal-stabilized Cyanine.

The third dye produced for CD media is called Phthalocyanine dye, with the majority of such dyes produced by Mitsui and Ciba. Typically marketed as more resistant to heat and UV radiation than Cyanine and Azo, modern Cyanine and Azo dyes last just as long in extreme conditions.

DVDs also use similar dyes, however manufacturers have intentionally kept what dyes they use a secret (instead of a feature in their marketing of the media), and all blank DVDs are intentionally the same color (as different dyes on CDs make blanks different colors, however, it is not indicative of what dye is used due to some manufacturers using different colored silver alloys and non-reactive additives in the dye).

Why Taiyo Yuden media, and how to buy in the US
The best discs in circulation tend to be Taiyo Yuden media. In Japan, you find their media under the brand That’s, which are wholly owned by Taiyo Yuden.

As of late 2009, Taiyo Yuden announced they were buying the JVC Advanced Media brand, and making it a wholly owned and operated brand for TY products. They did this to put Taiyo Yuden products on store shelves worldwide. See update 4 at the bottom for a full explanation.

Simply put, I have never had problems with any kind of Taiyo Yuden media. Ever. I have bought CDs and DVDs under a dozen different brands (including non-Taiyo Yuden manufactured TDK and Verbatim), and the only ones that have had a 100% success rate is Taiyo Yuden.

If you cannot find any company selling media under the Taiyo Yuden/JVC Advanced Media brand, I suggest buying from the, who offer a wide range of Taiyo Yuden CD media, DVD-R media, and DVD+R media. I tend to buy just from them, as they are the only company that guarantees that their media is actually from Taiyo Yuden and not a fake (see the above linked FAQ on information about fake Taiyo Yuden media).

Why DVD+R?
This is the most technical section of the article. If you don’t understand the basics of how CD/DVD media works, or find such technical discussions boring, skip to the next section.

As I said earlier, DVD-R sucks for data preservation for three reasons: inferior error correction, inferior ‘wobble’ tracking, and the fact its data writing methods look like an un-needed halfway point between CD-R and DVD+R. The wobble tracking I shall explain first, then the error corrections method, then the specifics of ATIP/pre-pit/ADIP optimum power settings.

For a CD/DVD burner to track where it is on the disc, it uses three things: the ‘wobble’ of the data track (where it actually wobbles back and forth instead of in a straight line) to tell where it is in the track, the position of the track to tell where it is on the disc, and some additional information on the disc to tell where the track (singular, as CDs and DVDs only have one track, and it is written in a concentric spiral) begins and ends.

This additional information on a CD-R is called the ATIP (Absolute Time In Pregroove), which contains how long the track is, where it begins, what the maximum and minimum writing speeds are, what formula dye it uses, who actually made it, optimum power control settings, and error correction data. The ATIP is stored as a frequency modulation in the wobble itself.

However, since the wobble changes subtly to encode data, it is impossible to use with the small size of tracks DVD requires, as electric noise in the laser pickup and wobbles introduced by the electric motor spinning the disc, these could easily be read as frequency changes in the real track itself.

On DVD-R, they tried to solve the problem with something called ‘pre-pits’ where spikes in the amplitude of the wobble appear due to pits fully out of phase with the rest of the track (ie, between two spirals of the track, where there is no data). This can be viewed as a simple improvement over CD-R as it makes it easier to track the wobble (since the wobble is constant except for the easy to detect and remove spikes).

Unfortunately, this method as one flaw: due to electric noise in the laser pickup, it would be very easy to miss the pre-pit (or read one that wasn’t actually there) if the disc were damaged or spun at fast speeds. The time to read a pre-pit is 1T (roughly .0000000038th of a second), which even for a computer can be easy to miss. DVD-R traded hard to track frequency changes for hard to read wobble-encoded data.

On a DVD+R, however, they came up with a much better method. Instead of changing the frequency of the wobble, or causing amplitude spikes in the wobble, they use complete phase changes. Where CD-R’s and DVD-R’s methods make you choose between either easy wobble tracking or easy ATIP reading, DVD+R’s method makes it very easy to track the wobble, and also very easy to encode data into the wobble. DVD+R’s method is called ADIP (ADdress In Pre-groove), which uses a phase change method.

With ADIPs’ phase changes, the direction of the wobble changes and continues on going in the exact opposite direction (ie, counter-clockwise to clockwise, or the reverse). For example, if the wobble was ‘going up’, the phase change causes it to instantly reverse direction start ‘going down’ no matter where it in the wobble cycle. The phase change is very easy to detect, and also continues for a set period (in this case, one 32T section of the track, or 32 times longer than the pre-pit method of DVD-R).

The state of the phase change (clockwise or counter-clockwise) encodes the individual bits in each block In essence, with the phase change method, not only do you have an easy way of tracking the wobble, but you now have an easy way of reading wobble-encoded data.

As I mentioned earlier, this wobble-encoded data includes error correction of wobble-encoded data itself. Error correction is the most important part of media, because if it does not work, then you’ve lost your data, even if there is nothing seriously wrong with the disc.

The DVD-R specification states that for every 192 bits, 64 of them are not protected under any scheme, 24 of them are protected by 24 bits of parity, and the last 56 bits are protected by another 24 bits of parity. This weird (to put it mildly) scheme allows you to easily scramble or lose 25% of the data that is required to read your disk! This information is almost more important than the actual data burned on the disc itself.

The DVD+R specification, however, states that for every 204 bits of information, it is split into four blocks of 52 bits containing 1 sync bit to prevent misreading because of phase changes, 31 bits of data, and a 20 bit parity (that protects all 32 bits of data). The sync bit is always the same value in all four blocks, and exists only to prevent phase inversions.

Now, the third item on the list: how DVD+R discs burn better. As I said earlier, ATIP/pre-pit/ADIP stores information about optimum power control settings. This information is basically formulas stating how much output power is needed, what the laser startup power should be, and other pieces of information you require to properly burn a DVD.

Optimum power control output is dependent on three things: burning speed, laser wavelength, and information given to the drive about the media. DVD-R basically fails on all three accounts because DVD+R simply includes far more information about the media in the ADIP data than DVD-R does in it’s pre-pit data.

DVD+R includes four optimum profiles, one for four major burning speeds (usually 2x, 4x, 6x, and 8x, though this can change as speeds increase). Each of these profiles include optimum power output based on laser wavelength, more precise laser power settings, and other additional information. With this information, any DVD+R burner can far more optimize it’s burning strategy to fit the media than it can with DVD-R, consistently providing better burns.

For comparison, DVD-R includes one profile, optimum power output based for that one profile only and uncalibrated towards what wavelength it is for, less precise laser power settings, and no other additional information. Typically, DVD-R burners have to already know how to burn a certain piece of media (and include this information in their firmwares) before they can properly burn to it. New media often is not properly supported.

In addition to the optimum power control profiles, DVD+R also gives four times more scratch space for the drive to calibrate the laser on; more space can only improve the calibration quality. So, in short, DVD+R media exists to simply produce better burns and protect your data better.

And finally, the end of the article…
Finally, after roughly three pages of technical discussion, we arrive at the end of my dissertation on archival quality CD/DVD media. So, you’re probably now wondering, in simple terms, what media do I recommend?

To begin with, I do not recommend CD-RW, DVD-RW, or DVD+RW media in any form for permanent storage. This is mostly a no-brainer, but those discs are meant to be able to be changed after burning, and they are simply unsuitable for long-term archival storage. I also do not recommend DVD-R media due to DVD+R’s superior error correction and burning control.

That said, I recommend Taiyo Yuden media across the board. Taiyo Yuden currently manufactures 52x CD-R, 16x DVD-R, and 16x DVD+R media in normal shiney silver, inkjet printable, and thermal printable forms. Taiyo Yuden may be one of the most expensive (if not the most expensive), but their media quality is unsurpassed. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I recommended buying from as they are the only online US distributor that guarantees that their Taiyo Yuden media is certified as coming from Taiyo Yuden.

So, what am I using? Due to Taiyo Yuden’s superior media quality, and DVD+R’s superior design, I use only Taiyo Yuden DVD+R media. I recommend this media to everyone who wishes to keep their data for a long, long time.

Update 1: It seems MAM-A and Kodak actually has managed to make a gold DVD, though no one else seems to be manufacturing them (Taiyo Yuden/JVC Advanced Media now makes an archival gold disc, see update 6). However, MAM-A’s gold archival media still doesn’t seem to exceed TY quality (although Mr 60,000 in the comments below puts TY second best to MAM-A). Due to the extreme cost of gold archival media ($2+ a disc) with very little increased protection (if any), I’ll still say TY media is better. I want to see more independent tests on this before I change my recommendation.

In addition, I’d like to mention that Verbatim has been relabeling other brands of disc as their own. If the box/spindle/cakebox the discs come in don’t say they’re manufactured with Verbatim’s proprietary Azo dye (sometimes called Advanced Azo, sometimes not, depending on the product) then they aren’t Verbatim media at all and should be avoided as they may not meet typical home archival standards.

Update 2: (Sept. 19th 2007) Its almost been a year since I first wrote this article. My recommendations for media have not changed, my recommendations for DVD burners have.

Samsung: Samsung is currently producing two drives worth owning, the
Samsung SH-S222AB
(SATA). They’re not considered archival grade, but they’re not bad.

TEAC: TEAC makes an archival drive that is ISO/IEC10995 compliant, and is very expensive. Comes in two forms, external USB DV-W5000U and internal SATA DV-W5000S. I’ve seen DV-W5000U drives for sale for $500, and refurbished DV-W5000S drives for $150-200. This is the elite of drives, and recommended if you’re very serious about 30+ year archival storage.

Update 3: (July 26th 2009) Its been awhile since I updated this article. Pioneer is no longer manufacturing drives worth using. Just buy a Samsung or TEAC drive like I link to above. I’m using two Samsung drives now after my PX-716 finally died after years of service.

My recommendation on TY and Verbatim hasn’t changed, and I imagine it will never change; DVD media will not change significantly from here on out. Bluray in my opinion is not worth switching over to unless you’re storing data that can be measured in hundreds of gigabytes, and at that point you might want to look into archival tape storage.

When Bluray is worth switching over to, I’ll write a follow up article to this one. High quality single layer media will have to drop below 50 cents a piece and Bluray burners will have to become ubiquitous (much like DVD burners are now) before that happens. I’m thinking 2011 or later.

Update 4: (August 3rd 2010) Taiyo Yuden has bought the JVC Media brand and is now operating under the JVC Advanced Media brand. You can now buy TY inside JVC boxes and get your usual TY quality. This site has the conversion of part numbers.

JVC has not bought Taiyo Yuden, and Taiyo Yuden is in full control of this new venture. They merely bought they name so they can put TY products on store shelves worldwide. is selling almost all JVC Advanced Media branded TY products in place of the old TY branded ones.

Update 5: (September 27th 2011) A few people have asked about how PIE/PIF scans work.

DVD-R and DVD+R both employ two stage error correction.

PIE (Parity Inner Error) just means error correction was used, PIF (Parity Inner Failure) means the error was unrecoverable using the inner ECC block but still may be recovered using the outer ECC block . On tools that give avg/max/total, max PIE values above 140, or max PIF values above 4* means the disc needs to be replaced but the data most likely isn’t corrupted yet**.

For a burn to be considered still pristine you want max PIE below 20 and max PIF 3 or lower.

Discs will NOT be pristine after 5 years, but there is a fall off of PIF/PIE increasing after 6 months and doesn’t seem to start picking up again until 5-10 years depending on storage environment.

Totals for PIF can be as high as 100k yet have a max of 20, and total PIF can be as high as 1000 but have a max below 3. Max PIE is considered mostly fatal above 280 and can reach as high as 1664, and max PIF can reach as high as 208*.

DVD+R generally will maintain lower values for both due to superior error correction techniques.

* Some tools and/or drives won’t list above 4 for PIF.

** Some tools and/or drives also list PO (Parity Outer) uncorrectable errors. This is for any read that has a max PIF above 4. This indicates a mostly unrecoverable data corruption error, which would effect (if I’ve done my math right) 36k of data (although that doesn’t mean the whole 36k of data is corrupted, just that its corrupted inside of that 36k). This still does not indicate the disc is unreadable, some obsessive ripping tools will try multiple reads in an effort to get a valid read or different incorrect reads that can be merged into a valid read.

Update 6: (January 11th 2013) Taiyo Yuden announced last year that they are now producing an ISO/IEC10995 compliant archival grade gold alloy DVD-R. Sadly, its not DVD+R and I’m hoping they’ll consider making a DVD+R version as well. Not many vendors carry this disc yet.

Also, a few people have asked when I’m going to write that Bluray follow up article. I don’t think Bluray is viable for long term archival storage yet. I continue my recommendation that if you need to store hundreds of gigabytes of data or more, consider archival tape.

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Published October 30th, 2006


1,249 Responses

I find most of the Yaiyo Yuden at supermediastore are -R. Is that because most people do not recognize the difference between -R and +R?

Is the archival durability or other qualities affected by the Silver, white,inkjet or thermal types of DVDs or are they all equivalent?

Assuming you are burning at one or two steps below max speed, is it better to buy 16X DVDs, or do 8X have an advantage in reliability or quality?

Some of the -R say “premium line”. How does that differ from value line and those that say nothing?

One of the 52x CD-R says “everest certified”. What does this mean?

TY sells mostly -R because this is what people purchase. Also, TY does not have a non-Premium +R series (all +R are Premium), so that means right off the bat almost half the +R products are “missing”. +R and Premium -R have identical archival qualities no matter what surface they use… pick the one that matches your use case best.

Everest Certified thermal printable discs are for RImage Everest thermal printers. They are expensive high speed large batch printers that are somewhat picky about the write surface on the media.

Hi Patrick, i’d like to get TY +R discs, but from a few bad reviews i’ve read of Super Media Store, I don’t quite trust that retailer or any of the other lesser known retailers.
Would these JVC/TY -R discs from Newegg be alright for my backup purposes and are they authentic Premium Line?

I plan on backing up my video game installers I purchased and downloaded from if that further info will help with the question. Thanks in advance for answers.

They do not seem to be from TY’s side of the merger, but JVC’s. The model numbers don’t match. I wouldn’t use them.

I’ve used SuperMediaStore repeatedly, I’ve never had a problem.

Hi Patrick –
Very informative piece-
Noticed this morning SuperMediaStore, and others, now sell BD-R LTH blanks from both Verbatim & JVC/TY, at substantially lower prices than they had previously charged for non-LTH BD-R’s – all the marketing hype says that LTH discs can use the same production lines as non-Blu-Ray discs, allowing lower costs, & keeping the high quality production standards Verbatim & TY are known for. They go on to mention the high quality dyes that they use.
SuperMediaStore still sells Verbatim #97339 (BD-R 25G.hub printable, non-LTH) spindle of 50 @~$3/ea. They make no mention anywhere on their site of the type of recording strata on these discs, & a visit to Verbatims current web site, detais with lavish praise the virtues of LTH discs, but like SMS, shows #97339 is still available, but likewise refuses to mention that the recording strata IS INORGANIC, & NOT SUBJECT TO LIGHT SENSITIVITY OVER TIME…
I sell archival DVD productions to the general public, & the added protection of this feature (@$3 as opposed to ~$1.50/disc) is well worth it. I only hope the current marketing situation isn’t indicating the impending demise of these discs…

LTH is having problems being accepted. A lot of old players and burners won’t accept LTH media (and some require a firmware update). The organic dyes used by TY and Verbatim are also extremely resistant to external damage (short of just leaving it out in the Sun for several days, which would probably destroy BD non-LTH media as well).

If LTH media can lower BD-R costs down to what we pay for DVDs now, this is actually a good thing. Non-LTH media will probably continue to be sold as some sort of archival-grade media (of which, I would easily recommend as the next gen replacement of archival DVD+R).

Hi Patrick .. I have seen Double National Dual Layer DVDs on some shops.
Are they reliable?

I’ve never heard of the brand, so I doubt it.

hi Patrick, i’ve taken your advice and switched to ty+r and gotten it from super media store.the first batch was fine but i got the 2nd today and noticed that the sides of the discs are this normal?should i be concerned?not sure if i should send them back or keep them.maybe i should just wash the sides lightly with water?i am using the discs for archival purposes so i dont want to make a mistake.also what is the average life span of these discs? i’m thinking i may need to make back ups of the more important material. thank you for your help. allan

It isn’t normal. Email Super Media Store and inquire about it. Someone else had a problem earlier (a few pages back in the comments, I can’t find it), but SMS fixed the problem for them.

Can you recommend software to burn the DVD? I also have digital video files that are fragments of the event. My camcorder starts a new file every time it pauses. Is there software to piece these fragment together?

Most operating systems come with file burning software now.

Use video editing software to piece the files together, I think Adobe makes a popular one but I can’t remember the name.

I was recently told that you should always use the archival gold media for saving precious memories. Are the ones you recommend archival quality? 300 years??? What about saving to an external hard drive? for archiving? Also explain how the inject printable ones work? does it take a special kind of printer? If so doesn’t the ink have to be of a certain kind?

I don’t particularly recommend gold discs because no one has produced a study that proves they are better than TY’s. The issue isn’t the metal oxidizing, but the seal between the two polycarbonate discs failing. If the seal fails, even on gold discs, the disc is ruined as this usually leads to the two discs separating. TY has basically perfected their sealing method, so I don’t particularly worry about TY failure under normal conditions.

As for shelf life… the only way you can exceed 50 years on any disc, TY or gold, is if they are kept in a temperature and humidity controlled archival environment. The 300 years claim by gold disc manufacturers is ridiculous.

I don’t like permanently archiving data on media that can be rewritten because it can be easily damaged that way. I also will not use flash for any long term storage as flash devices will go blank after an extended period of being unplugged (though this usually takes years).

Inkjet printable DVDs require a printer with a CD tray. If you intend on printing high quality graphics, Alps makes printers with white ink that makes printing on clear transparencies and silver inkjet printables easy. Otherwise, stick with the white inkjet printable discs. Thermal printing, however, requires a thermal disc printer which are expensive (but very quick for small 100-1000 disc duplication batches).

Due to the construction of DVDs (but not CDs), the data layer is secured between two polycarbonate layers, and the inkjet/thermal printable layers on discs is on top of the top layer. It is very unlikely the printing process can damage the disc.

Can you explain the injet printable option on the DVD’s does it require a special printer, do you recommend doing this?

Thanks for the response. I think I understand what you are saying about the seal but I do have some other questions and concerns based on your comments. You said “JVC TY Gold discs aren’t TY, they come from the JVC side of the merger.” Yet SuperMediaStore (and other stores) specifically list the manufacturer of these gold disks as Taiyo Yuden in Japan. You also seem to indicate that gold discs that are less than 2X the price of silvers are probably counterfeit, yet these stores sell gold TYs at less than 2X the price of the TY silvers. I don’t have any evidence either way on this, but if what you say is true, those are pretty substantial implications. If SuperMediaStore and others are giving false information about these disks and potentially selling counterfeits, how can we trust any of their information or products (including their silver TYs)?

They’re not counterfeits. TY merged into JVC’s media division, and are now the same company, thus the gold discs are TY JVC. SuperMediaStore has no other way to brand these.

The Gold discs are not of low quality, they just fix the wrong part of the problem. They are of the same quality as everyone elses because as far as I can tell, only one or two manufactures make them.

There is a list of the new TY JVC product numbers from the old TY product numbers.

Notice SuperMediaStore’s page for that media lists JVC-style product numbers for the old ones for the Gold media. It clearly is stated, in a way, which side they came in on.

Thank you for the great information! I am wondering if Patrick, or anyone, may know or have an experienced opinion on the new JVC Premium Grade Gold and Archive Grade Gold DVD+Rs. They are advertised as made by Taiyo Yuden in Japan and do not appear to be prohibitively more expensive than the silver premiums. Can anyone comment on their quality? Example sales can be found at:

Like I said to the guy commenting right under this, the gold media comes from the JVC side of the merger. I don’t particularly care for gold media because it doesn’t solve the main issue: seal quality. TY has the best of all the media I’ve seen…. if the seal doesn’t break, the metal can’t oxidize, and the gold alloy they’re using isn’t oxidation proof, nor does it matter because if the seal breaks, the polycarbonate layers may end up separating anyhow.

My last post was intended to be a response to this – sorry for any confusion.

hi,thanks for the article on archival dvdr.after reading it i want to switch to taiyo yuden.not sure if my dvd recorder is compatable with this media.ita a magnavox zv427mg9 a.yuden is not listed in the manuals guaranteed compatible media chart.on amazon i found jvc taiyo yuden gold discs modelvp-r .are these real yuden discs?i ask because its a 50 pack and cheaper than the 100 packs atsuper media store.i dont want to buy something i cant use in the machine. thanks allaqn

TY is the largest manufacturer of blank media in the world. If your DVD burner doesn’t list it on the compatibility table, they accidentally made an omission… then again, Magnavox doesn’t make burners, so its made by some other Chinese OEM who does list it on theirs.

JVC TY Gold discs aren’t TY, they come from the JVC side of the merger. They’re just like every other Gold disc… however, they are very expensive. Those JVC Gold discs you found, due to their cheapness, sound like counterfeits. Golds from any company cost typically 4x or more than TY DVD+R or DVD-R premium; you’re pricing them at below 2x.

That said, due to the extreme cost of Gold discs, I can’t recommend them… there is no proof they work better than TY.

Possibly the best article I have read on digital archiving. Thanks

Excellent article!

I’m somewhat new to dvd burning, but I went ahead and bought some JVC Taiyo Yuden 16x DVD-R Silver Inkjet Printables strictly for backing up my retail dvd movies… (Silver because they look cool with black text)

Couple questions…
1) Did I make a mistake in buying -R over +R for backing up my movies?
2) How much longer will the Taiyo Yuden +R last over the Taiyo Yuden -R?
3) I have an HP Touchsmart 600 PC, will the burner built in (TS-T633L) burn well to these discs?
4) You say that the silver inkjet discs are for printers that have white ink only… are these ok if I intend to print text on the disc in black only?

Thanks for all your help

As long as it isn’t the Value version of -R, you should be fine. +R and Premium -R should last as long as each other.

Your burner should be fine. Most burners nowadays don’t suck.

Silver inkjet discs will print fine with black ink, but they’re much more flexible with photo quality labels if you use a printer meant for them.

thanks for the prompt reply..

heres a link to the exact discs i bought.. doesnt say if they are “value” or “premium” :S

If it doesn’t say value on the wrapper, it isn’t.

one last question my friend..
My TY media is 16x, however the DVD write speed on my drive is 8x… what would you recommend I burn at?

6x or 4x, whatever the next speed down from 8x is on your burner.

I only ask because I read here that you should burn slower than the write speed of the drive (like you just said), but at the same time I read you should burn at the speed the media is rated for.. in my case they 16x TY… but those 2 speeds clash in my case.. Will I get the same quality burn on 16x media burned at 6x on a 8x drive? as opposed to 16x media on 16x drive burned at 8x? Is there a difference?

I said you should never burn at the full speed of a burner. Burning at less than full speed on a DVD is okay, you’ll get the same quality burn.

The only thing other than that, I’ve said don’t burn CDs at below 24x… this obviously doesn’t apply here. DVDs have not reached a point at where slow speeds will damage media.

excellent sir, thank you once again for your time and help!

I have a 18X burner and after reading your comments it appears that there is a problem with using the top speed for that burner or am I miss reading your comment?

You won’t be able to because they don’t make 18x media. Even if they did, I wouldn’t recommend it. I recommend (of these three, whichever is smaller): use the 2nd fastest speed on any given drive (in your case, 16x, 12x, etc) OR use the fastest speed on TY or Verbatim media OR the second fastest speed on lesser brand media.

TY sells 16x media, so the fastest I’d recommend for your case would be 12x or 16x.

Thanks for the info Patrick. I’ll give it a try as soon as my disks arrive.

can I assume these are premium if they do not say otherwise?

Thanks a lot for the article, very clear and easy to read.

It seems that TY started selling (LTH) BD-R media (, I was wondering whether you had comments on it.

Patrick, is it time to write a follow up article covering the new TY BD-R media? Price of TY BD-R at the link given by Eugene, is cheap and comparable to standard TY DVD media. As of now, out of stock though!
There are not many reviews on this new product and no analysis. So I don’t know on what basis the BD-R media can be recommended. Your thoughts?

By the way, this is what you said before:
“When Bluray is worth switching over to, I’ll write a follow up article to this one. High quality single layer media will have to drop below 50 cents a piece and Bluray burners will have to become ubiquitous (much like DVD burners are now) before that happens. I’m thinking 2011 or later.”

I’m waiting for prices to drop before I start a large scale evaluation of them.

However, I have used TY media for a very long time, first with CD-R and now with DVD-RW… I have no reason to believe their BD-R media is faulty. TY takes their job very seriously, and it is rare to see a company keep my loyalty like this.

I assume, without personally testing it myself, that their BD-R media is of the highest quality.

BD-R just hasn’t seem to have taken off, although I assume its the price issue. I still recommend burning offsite copies of important data, and high prices make that practice more difficult.

Good discussion. I have a lot of older off brand CD’s and DVD’s. Is there really any use for these. Most of my needs would be for archiving home video, digital pictures and music. Are you still recomendig staying away from the “Gold” archival DVD’s?

I have a stack of TDKs I use for use one or twice kind of stuff that I toss out afterwards. About the only use for them.

And yeah, until the gold media manufacturers pony up real proof theirs will significantly (25% or more) beat TY for users like me, its not worth the 6-8x cost.

I saw on another post that you use thermal coated taiyo yuden disks with a sharpie or verbatim pen. I would like to do the same but don’t know which one to get or what’s the difference between them. On there are: DVD+R silver thermal lacquer and shiny silver thermal, and DVD-R silver thermal lacquer, silver thermal hardcoat, white thermal printable, white thermal hub printable.

Also, are all taiyo yuden an archival disk and safe to assume so even though it’s not labeled as such on or do I need to look for that specific disk?

thank you very much for your response.

All of those are the same; silver thermal are the ones that look completely “CD/DVD” silver, white ones have white backing under the polycarbonate layer. I prefer to buy silver ones. The hardcoat ones seem to be overkill if you’re not heavily handling discs (on the other hand, if you are, they’re great).

All Taiyo Yuden are archival grade except the value grade DVD-Rs. DVD+R only comes in archival grade (thus doesn’t contain the name in the description).

I have just bought 300 Jvc/Ty printable cd-r discs. They have the usual light blue/green recordable surface.
I’m wondering now if I should print on them.
There’s always a danger of writing, or printing on discs.
I used to use labels (before inkjets worked with discs) and, over the years, the adhesive started eating through alot of the discs.
Do you have any idea if the Jvc/Ty discs will stand-up to the ink?

I dont use the printable discs for pens. I also don’t use CDs at all for pens, I’m worried about the pens (even Sanford or Verbatim CD marking pens) harming the surface.

If you want to use printable discs, get a printer with a disc tray. Pens may or may not smear on that surface.

I do have such a printer already, but I am still worried about the ink penetrating the discs over years. I am wondering if anyone can absolutely guarantee that not to happen. Are all inks the same ?
I’ve had a nightmare recently, in finding that so many or my discs have been corrupted ove the years.

That should never happen. The printable discs have a layer in there to catch any ink from bleeding through. Just, uh, avoid cheap third party inks, its not good for the printer, the prints often fade, and other stuff might go wrong.

That said, this is still why I use DVDs, just for the double polycarbonate layers instead of the single one that CDs have.

Are JVC branded disks Taiyo Yuden disks?
I talked to two people at Supermediastore who said that JVC branded disks are NOT TY disks, but made by another manufacturer.
They said I had to get JVC/Taiyo Yuden to get TY disks.

The old JVC branded discs are not TY, they’re some junky Indian/Chinese ones. Only buy the JVC/TY ones.

I would like now to expose some ‘manufacturers’ and the quality of their discs.
I have burned many hundreds of discs (audio and video) over the last 12 years or so.
Here’s my findings (from the types I’ve used):
MEMOREX CD-Rs (non-printable, purchased around 1999)….Absolutely terrible. Played perfectly initially, but many unreadable after 3 years…AVOID!
VERBATIM DVD-Rs (printable, purchased around 2005)……Started to deteriorate after about 2 or 3 years and were unreadable…..AVOID!
DYSAN CD-Rs (non-printable, silver surface, purchased around 2004)….Many unreadable after 3 years….AVOID!
TDK CD-Rs (non-printable, silver surface , purchased around 2002)….some lasted around 7 or 8 years….now ‘scratchy’ sound with MANY errors….AVOID!!!!!!
All of the discs mentioned were recorded at slow-burn speeds, using different recorders, and stored in jewel cases at ambient temperature (I am in the UK).
I am now thinking of using JVC TY media and backing everything up using this media (very time-consuming).
I am hoping finally, that I have found a reliable product.

I think I may have found part of your problem… do not burn CDs at slow speeds. Burning discs rated for 24x and above at below 24x will damage the discs. A lot of people somehow have bought into the belief that burning a disc at 1x is a good idea… its not. Burn at the rated speed on the box and you should be fine.

Could you explain why this is ?
If that is the case, the burn speed is very confusing.
Most say that dvd-rs should be recorded at under-speed, and now you are saying that cd-rs should be recorded at the stated speed.
I normally record cdrs at one or two levels below the stated speed.
Some, I have recorded at x1 on a stand-alone recorder.
I believe that there is oxidisation taking place with the TDK cdrs, as the silver discs are turning a brown-gold color around the edges (this also happened some years ago with the Memorex discs, which I have now disposed of).
By the way, the earlier TDK discs that I recorded 10 years ago (which had a blue dye on the recordable surface) still work perfectly fine.
This is before they went into real mass production, when the prices dramatically fell.

If the burn speed is absolutely critical, maybe we should also consider the age of the laser in the recorder, and if the power has deteriorated. How confusing !

If the drive itself is failing, then read verify after burning would immediately fail right then and there.

To cross the 24x barrier, they had to reformulate how they made the dye. Do not burn modern discs at below 24x. Also, it used to be that you burned CD-Rs at the speed below maximum rated speed (so 48x at 40 or so), but this isn’t really an issue… still applies to DVD-/+R though.

CD-Rs can suffer from seal failure around the edges because they use a single polycarbonate disc, and the seal goes the whole way across the top of the disc. This is why I only recommend DVDs for archival storage: the data layer is stuck between two discs, and the primary seal is only along the edge of the two.

So could you explain how a slower burn of a cd-r causes problems.
Does this mean that the ‘pit’ that the laser creates is too large or too deep ?
I always thought that writers self-calibrated when discs were inserted.

Its a mock pit. The dye burns and gets darker… think of it as how you can burn food in the oven. The problem here is, when exposed to too much energy, the dye molecules can be destroyed outright instead of simply changing color.

Its a complex process, and I’m obviously glossing over points. Burnable media does not use real pits, just dye that turns dark when you hit it.

I do not believe you can cause physical damage to the framework that holds the die with a burner; you can only damage the dye.

Burners do calibrate themselves, but discs only include calibration details for (usually) 3 speeds, and burners themselves also contain calibration details for specific media formulas, but don’t contain ones for absurdly slow burns.

Technically, the software and/or burner should refuse to burn at speeds that could lead to media damage, but that’d make too much sense.

Thank you for your answers.
Just one further comment; JVC state burn speed of ‘x1 to x52′. Some simply state ‘up to x52′. Maybe they should simply say ‘x52′.

Side effect of when you let the marketing department design your packaging, its never cleared through engineers first. 36 through 52x would be considered fine for such media.

Great article. Do you have any suggestions regarding writing on DVDs to describe the contents. I typically use either a sharpie permanent marker or more recently lightscribe. Do either of these affect the longevity of the disks? Is there another preferred method?


I think Lightscribe is kind of worthless. The discs are very expensive, and not very readable.

I prefer using thermal printable discs, and using a Sharpie or Verbatim disc marker (or a Sharpie ultra-fine permanent if I can’t get either). Just let the writing dry first and try to avoid scratching it off.

Patrick I Wait Your Rply

I Just Ask you About Which DVD Reliable For Long Years Safe The Data And I have Maxcell DVD-R

hi Patrick I M Waiting Your Good Suggestion About The Manage News Archive In DVD Plz Patrick Help Me I Have Short Time Take The decision

Usman Sarwar

hi Patrick i m in Pakistan and manage the archive in news Chanel with mini dvs’s so i have no space in room to store the mini dv so plz suggest me about DVD archiving Procedure in Pakistan and why i m convert mini dv archive in dvd archive


You should be able to use a MiniDV tape drive hooked up to a computer and just copy the data over to a DVD using the tools that came with the tape drive. Other than that, I’m not sure what to tell you.

My god…

My friend i ve been serching for detailed tech info for a very long time since now!
My greatest congratulations!
i ll visit your article soon again.
BTW i d like to know why should s-body use DVD-R or whats the prob about DVD-DL

i use an XBOX 360 but DL disks (containing movie) dont function normally.
i mean, is there any way to eliminate this – or + issue at all?

Keep it up! Great work!

Xbox 360s often reject burnt DVDs as part of an anti-piracy campaign. DVD+R DL might work where DVD-R DL doesn’t.

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