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 SuperMediaStore.com, 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 SuperMediaStore.com 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.

SuperMediaStore.com 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

Comments

1,249 Responses

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 supermediastore.com 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 supermediastore.com 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.
Thanks

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?

Peter

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

thanks
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

thanks
USMAN SARWAR

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.

Thanks. Helped me confirm on format of DVD to use for archival of my data, photo and video.

Your sugesstions pertaining to why DVD+R is best for archiving sugests two Samsung burners. Do you have any sugestions for where they are available? Also do you have any sugestions of players that are capable of taking advantage of tracking features that are built into DVD+R disks? Appreciate you sharing your knowledge. It has been very useful as we attempt to archive our 60 year old 8mm movie film of our off spring. Thanks.

Almost any place that carries computer hardware should have Samsung burners available. Newegg still has the SATA ones in stock.

All players should use the data integrity features in DVD+R as they are the same ones in DVD-ROMs; unlike those in DVD-R which are like CD-R’s.

Can’t seem to find any TY gold DVD+R discs online. Plenty of DVD-R though. Do they no longer make DVD+R discs? Or do I just need to reformat my search query?

Take “gold” out of the query. Also, I’d watch out, TY on eBay and small unheard of sites are often counterfeit.

Patrick,
Thanks for a very informative website !

You have convinced me on T.Y. DVD+R for archiving my important data and photo files.

At the supermedia site, they offer JVC/TY as
8x silver inkjet printable
8x silver thermal
16x silver thermal lacquer
8x white inkjet [.. and more white ones …]

Does it make a difference in long-term stability between silver thermal, silver thermal lacquer, or white ? Is it OK to write on them with Sharpies ? I’m inclined to go for the 16x disks, even though my burner only does 8x.

Thanks for your advice !

There is no difference in stability with the different layers on top, they are applied on top of the polycarbonate plastic layer.

White Inkjet is meant for printers who have disc slots, Silver Inkjet is meant for printers who have white ink (rare), and silver thermal is for thermal printers. I use Sharpies on silver thermal discs, just make sure you don’t accidentally smudge the writing off before it dries and don’t accidentally scrape it off after it has dried.

I recommend you only burn at 4x or 6x on your 8x burner. My general rule is you burn at the next speed or two down because I don’t entirely trust drive manufacturers. You can get drives faster than 16x now, so maybe you should upgrade so you can burn at 16x.

Patrick, I have a spindle of unused TY 8X DVD-R that are dated from 2005. Are these still usable for archiving files or do they deteriorate if left unused for a few years?

Should work fine. I regularly have half-full spindles that are years old that still work great.

Just a word of thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Thank you for excellent article. I want to Archive some Spiritual Discourses.

I have heard that new TY JVC DVDs 16x ar not as good as TY 8x. I have never tried as they are not available in India.

I am willing to import TY JVC DVD+R Archival grade. Can you please let me know the difference between TY JVC water shield, TY JVC Hard coat and TY JVC archival grade.

I have tried Verbatim Archival Grade Verbatim Gold from Amazon made in Dubai.I also tried Kodak Gold DVD. These are very good disks with low PI/PO errors at 4x. I plan to back up 3 copies.

Thanks

Watershield are inkjet printable discs (for those people who have inkjets with disc trays) that, once printed, cannot smear the ink when wet. Hardcoat uses the special polycarbonate developed for Bluray, and is supposed to be absolutely damage proof; it is overkill for DVDs if you take care of your discs properly. Archival grade are just normal discs.

Thanks Patrick,

So TY JVC Hardcoat DVDs should be bought for archival than Gold Archival DVDs.

Or go for Verbatim Archival Grade Gold DVD-R, which has both Gold and Hard coat.

Thank you.

I’ve been buying normal archive grade DVD+R. I don’t personally need the hardcoat because I rarely handle the discs; they’re unlikely to be scratched.

OK. I also do not use archival grade. I just store them vertically with silica bags (1gm or 2gm) to absorb moisture.

Thanks for your valuable help.

If DVD+R has a different error correcting method, how is it possible that old DVD-players (that don’t normally support DVD+R) play and error-correct DVD+R disks that have their booktype changed to DVD-ROM (which is a popular practice) during finalizing of the disk?
Or does the practice of changing the booktype of DVD+R to DVD-ROM destroy DVD+R’s benefits?

A finalized DVD+R is virtually identical to DVD-ROM. The difference between DVD+R and DVD-R error correction is that DVD+R (and DVD-ROM) use a DVD-type error correction, while DVD-R’s is much closer to how CD-R and data CDs worked.

One more question I forgot to ask earlier…what’s the difference between the “gold lacquer” JVC dvds for about fifty cents versus the “Archival Gold” dvds from Delkin, Mitsui and Verbatim for $3?

Not sure, got a URL for them? They might be the old pre-TY JVC stuff.

Hrm, due to the price and the media code, they look like normal archival grade discs. I suspect they may have the hardcoat on them (prevents scratches, uses same extra hard scratch proof material that Blurays do).

I am very sure they are not actually gold alloy though.

Nice article Patrick…you hit a home run with this one. Like you, I’ve never had a problem with Taiyo Yuden and use it almost exclusively. I have three questions for you:
1) If I wanted to archive family movies from 2004 on something super reliable so my great grandchildren can view them someday, do you know anything about the Mitsui Gold Archival DVD+R as far as reliability?
2) Would you feel safer archiving on a standard silver Taiyo Yuden DVD+R or a Mitsui Gold Archival DVD+R?
3) You recommend DVD+R as opposed to DVD-R, but what are the downfalls of DVD+R? Is my memory serving me correctly when I say that Some older computers and dvd players won’t play DVD+R? And/or some computers won’t burn DVD+R?
Thanks for the help!

The Mitsui Gold DVDs have been brought up before. Although they cost like 5 times more than TY DVD+R, I have no reason to believe they perform better. The metal and dyes chosen by TY are chosen for their ability to be clearly read in adverse conditions, resist oxidation, and resist destruction from UV exposure.

The only way to design a DVD correctly is with a proper seal around the polycarbonate disc edges, and TY has that down pat. So, without proof that those gold discs come even close to TY, I’d never recommend them.

DVD+R, when read, are read like a normal DVD-ROM. I’ve heard rumors that very early DVD non-burner drives can’t read DVD+R, but most likely these drives have already failed or have been replaced (and I suspect they’re all pre-dual layer drives as well thus they can’t play most commercially released movies either).

Players, on the other hand, are completely random. Some play DVD-R and DVD+R fine, some won’t play one, some won’t play the other, some won’t play either. DVD+R has a higher success rate on DVD players that are “anti-piracy/zero tolerance” because they confuse them with “legit” DVD-ROMs.

I’m not aware of any burner that can’t do DVD+R, although they could exist, they would be very early models that predated DVD+R altogether. As with normal non-burning DVD drives, I suspect there are no surviving burners that can’t do DVD+R.

Hello from Mexico again, I wrote before (page 28)looking for advice to buy cdr’s according to some options I had; now, i’m writing again to ask you something else; after some days of search everywhere and according to your advice, I have bought cdr’s of JVC brand, they are suposedly made in Japan, so I think I got the best I could. Right?.
Now I need to buy dvd’s for data archival but where i got JVC cdrs, they just have availability for these: JVC DVD-R made in Japan, told me they are not importing DVD+R, so I have a second option, TDK DVD+R made in Taiwan; what would be a better choice from these two?, i’m in doubt because you wrote that DVD+R is better choice to keep data integrity over time, and that’s what i’m looking for.
I found some TDK contradictory rankings; you said TDK is not good in previous post, but i’ve been reading and found some sites claiming TDK is great quality, and others saying is 2nd. class media. Would you buy JVC though is not plus R media? Your valuable data would be “in good hands” for a long time with these JVC?

Thank you very very much.

Most (if not all) of TDK’s media is made by third parties. They have shipped TY and Verbatim before although they usually don’t. Most TDK “fans” have bought TY or Verbatim produced spindles, and thought TDK as good.

Buy the JVC ones. TY has purchased the JVC Media brand, and are now shipping their media products under that name. “Made In Japan” JVC spindles are fine.

I have made an update to the article to reflect the formation of the JVC Advanced Media brand.

Hi Patrick, i hope i’m not bothering you, i’d like to know if the only way to know about real TDK manufacturer would be Nero DiscSpeed, i mean, if I can only get that info checking in the computer or there are any clues outside the DVD spindle, like part number or similar info to know if they are Verbatim or Taiyo.
I ask because my predecessor here bought 3 TDK 100’s spindles and he told me he was sure they were Taiyo’s, but now that i’m using the remains of that batch, i can see the identifier is CMC MAG, AM3. What can i expect of these? How long you think they can last? Should I be getting a new batch of JVC’s to re-recorder all these TDK’s?

Thanks again.

Lots of burner software can retrieve that, but Nero will do the job. CMC MAG AM3 is sorta middle of the road in quality. Its not A-Grade like TY and Verbatim, and I wouldn’t trust them for long term storage. The TDK spindle box should say Made in China, or less likely Hong Kong or Taiwan.

I’d reburn everything onto TY as soon as possible, assuming data corruption hasn’t already occurred.

You wrote (above in paragraph 7): “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).”

I’m having a little trouble reconciling this description with what I see in the CD-Recordable FAQ document [1] (see question 2-43-2: “How do pits and lands turn into 1s and 0s? What’s EFM?”):

“The pits and lands on a CD do not directly correspond to 1s and 0s. The start and end of a pit (i.e. the pit edges) each correspond to 1s, and all other areas — both in pits and on lands — correspond to 0s. The number of zeroes between pit edges is determined through careful timing. This is an efficient approach that produces an easy to handle electrical signal (it’s NRZI — NonReturn to Zero Inverted — which converts easily to NRZ where 1s are high voltage and 0s are low voltage).”

Is the FAQ document wrong?

[1] http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/cd-recordable

I have answered this question before. The article you link to is pretty much correct. I did not feel my article needed two or three paragraphs more to describe how the pit/land encoding scheme works in heavy detail. It is rather complex and sometimes non-intuitive to those who aren’t used to how electronics are often engineered.

Pits and lands are closer to sigma delta encoding (ie, the change triggers the 1s, the lack of change triggers the 0s) than how I have described it. Many optical and over-the-wire systems are designed this way as it reduces complexity while increasing reliability.

now that TY and JVC have merged, does your recommendation still stand?

They don’t seem to have changed any from what I’ve heard.

Hi very nice article.

I have one clarification. I have a video and distribute the video to the public. I want to compare the DVD data to my original disc. Is there any software available for this?

Usually burner software itself can check the disc after it burns. Otherwise, use checksumming software to checksum all the files on the DVD. Some people use Jacksum to do this.

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