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

People historically buy more DVD-Rs than DVD+Rs (due to some drives having poor or non-existent DVD+R support (ie, are broken from the factory), or just good ol’ end user stupidity).

As I write this, (silver thermal) TY Premium DVD-R is 28 cents a disc, TY DVD+R is 38 cents a disc, and its close to a 60% DVD-R/40% DVD+R split industry wide.

This is opposed to when DVD+R just came out and almost no one used it, and DVD+Rs were about twice the cost of a DVD-R; I foresee in the next 5 years prices will finally settle out and DVD+Rs will be only a slight premium over DVD-R, maybe only 2 or 3 cents per disc more.

As for the difference, DVD+R discs historically meet higher quality requirements; however, DVD-R quality industry wide has gone up over the years, and probably now meets or exceeds early DVD+R quality standards. That said, you’re probably no longer going to see an appreciable difference in discs of either kind from the same company.

Oh, and one more thing to add to that, I believe DVD+R discs have higher licensing costs, so DVD+Rs will always cost more.

Why are TY DVD+R’s more expensive than TY DVD-R’s? From your description of the two, I couldn’t find anything about the inherent design of the blank media itself that would explain this. If I understand the article correctly, it looks like the two discs are manufactured the same way except the pattern (grooves, wobbles, etc) on the bottom plastic is different.

Jamal: I can’t answer that question. I’d rate a TY or Verbatim DVD-R above Brand-X’s DVD+R.

That said, with TY or Verbatim DVD+R compared to all other standard disc media (ie, not DVD-RAM or MO drives), I’d give them a 10. I’d give TY or Verbatim DVD-R a 9, and I’d give all other media an 8 or less.

For storage, yeah, you should store upright. There is a risk of warping when laying flat, however I’ve never seen this happen, and it probably doesn’t apply to spindles. I’ve never seen it happen, either; although I have heard stories of it happening.

I don’t like storing already burned discs in spindles because I’d have to pull discs out to get ones in the middle or bottom, which risks scratching the surface due to shifting or rotating.

I use a 320 disc Fellows binder. It uses non-scratch acid-free cloth holders with acid-free plastic (similar to the same kind used for photo binders, but thicker). Its not quite what I had in mind when I said archival quality containers when I wrote the article, but from what I can tell its built with archival safety in mind.

Word of caution, these binders get very heavy when loaded to full capacity, so be careful as to not tear it or otherwise damage it. There have been rumors of the handle ripping off the binder, so don’t use it. Other than that, its pretty much perfect for most people’s needs.

Thank you for an excellent article, Patrick, and keeping up with the ongoing discussion.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, where would you have rated DVD-R and DVD+R at the time you wrote the original article? And how does that change, if at all, after your update on 31 May?

On DVD storage, I’ve read they should be stored upright (vertical) in their cases. OTOH I see many places that suggest bulk storage can be done using spindles where the discs lay flat. They don’t really touch except at the hub. Any thoughts on spindle storage? I’m planning an archival project and estimate I’ll wind up with about 400 discs altogether. Using 8 50-count spindles seems more efficient and space-saving than hundreds of hinged DVD cases.

Regarding the gold recording surface DVD-R, Verbatim has an excellent product. You can find the product at Link is here

“Verbatim UltraLife™ Gold Archival Grade DVD

Look to Verbatim UltraLife™ Gold Archival Grade DVD-R media to preserve your family photos and home movies as well as critical corporate data. Each disc is manufactured using proprietary unique dual reflective layers to maximize both compatibility and longevity. To further extend media lifetime, Verbatim UltraLife? DVDs contain a hard coating on the recording side to protect the discs from scratches.”

Correction on that last comment. The last paragraph should have read:

Finally, for those who really want to be safe in view of the fact that we don’t really know if MAM-A or TY’s technology IS BETTER in the long run, I saw a suggestion in an archivist discussion thread which suggested making a copy on each medium. It would be unlikely that they would both have the same flaw.

Nice article. I’d still like to see some actual tests on the practical merits of DVD-R vs. +R

Ran across a UNESCO article from 2006 that discusses lots of considerations in archiving, including acknowledging all the unknowns and lack of independent testing. PDF available here.

Finally, for those who really want to be safe in view of the fact that we don’t really know if MAM-A or TY’s technology in the long run, I saw a suggestion in an archivist discussion thread which suggested making a copy on each medium. It would be unlikely that they would both have the same flaw.

Fascinating and informative. I never knew the mechanical difference between burned and pressed disks before. It explains a lot of things.

This only protects meta data, not the actual data of yours burned to the disk. This is only sector counts/time codes, CRCs for your real data, and other stuff like that.

You lose 3392 sectors, or 6.625 megabytes of room on a single layer DVD+R compared to a DVD-R. When you have almost 4.4 gigabytes of room on a disc, don’t worry about it.

Losing almost 7 megabytes of room to ensure better data protection (even if it only very marginally improves protection by protecting error correction codes) is worth it without a doubt.

I came across this info – not sure about the veracity. See page 46 of the pdf. It was jibberish to me.
“Posted by ptch on Thursday 12 April 2007 23:30
All data in DVD-R are protected by an error correction code, see standard ECMA-359, Section 18, ECC Block configuration:

‘An ECC Block is formed by arranging 16 consecutive Scrambled Frames in an array of 192 rows of 172 bytes each, see Figure 27. To each of the 172 columns, 16 bytes of Parity of Outer Code are added, then, to each of the resulting 208 rows, 10 byte of Parity of Inner Code are added. Thus a complete ECC Block comprises 208 rows of 182 bytes each.'”
from here.

Thanks for the clarification.

64 unprotected bits on the DVD-R, means that 33% of the data is unprotected. What a goofy standard.

If DVD-R uses 25% parity bits (48/192) and DVD+R uses 40% parity bits (80/204), that means that it takes 16% more bits to store the same amount of data. Does DVD+R store less real data than DVD-R or are there track and/or bit density differences (or something else going on) that make up for the difference?

I looked through the DVD-R specification again, its 64 not protected, not 48.

DVD+R’s parity bit works like this; you have 31 bits of data, 20 bits of error correction, and one last bit for phase detection.

If your phase is wrong, all bits in the block will be set their opposite values, but simply read the phase detection bit, and flip all values back to what they should be.

The phase bit is always the same for all four blocks in the 208 bit group, ie, the bit is replicated four times.

ADIP and pre-pit do protect your data well enough that as long as your disk is kept in good shape you should never have problems. It is mostly a minor point, but still worth mentioning.

However, I’ve learned since writing the article, that since sector numbering/time codes are kept in ADIP and pre-pit as well, DVD-R may not be able to be read or burned at high speeds due to the fact pre-pits at high speeds become difficult to properly detect.

This also, theoretically, should effect seeking, ie, drives with DVD+R discs should be able to randomly seek data faster than DVD-R drives at high speeds.

Now, high speeds with today’s technology seems to be on the order of 24 to 32x, but I can’t find a reliable source on the data.

So yeah, it’s not as big of an issue as originally thought, but it still can effect data quality, so it is still a point in DVD+R’s favor.

Regarding the ECC on the DVD-R:
“for every 192 bits, 48 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”

48 + 24 + 24 + 56 + 24 = 176. What happened to the last 16 bits?

Also, I don’t get the DVD+R parity either. 52*4=208. (51*4)+1=205. I don’t understand how the shared parity bit works.

This a very informative thanks Time to buy the right drive I believe between what you wrote and the comments i need to upgrade

You shouldn’t have any problems. I treat Verbatim as the same quality as TY, I just prefer TY over Verbatim because I can’t get non-branded Verbatim in bulk cheaply.

If I have been burning my archival photo DVDs (+R, Verbatim medical archival DVDS) successfully with no errors, is there any reason to believe they will not hold up over time if stored correctly? Is it possible to get an answer to this directly?

Great and really interesting article! I often get questions regarding this subject. I will send them a link to this blog.

Just realized that I had an old report on CD and DVD production that could interest some readers of this article. I posted it here.

Sorry – the rest of that site are i Swedish – but this report are in English.

nice article … well done.

many thanks for helping spread the word about how super inferior the DVD-R standard is, ie flakey error correction scheme etc.

go DVD+R, go Taiyo Yuden! :)

Informative, and well put. Thanks!

Actually, heres the problem. A lot of drives who say they support +R don’t. This is exactly what you’re having problems with.

Also, don’t mention medical stuff. Hospitals have their head up their ass when it comes to technology. Like, if a piece of software doesn’t have some $1M software assessment, they won’t use it. So, a lot of hospitals run Windows instead of Linux. Do you trust your life to Windows?

If you do, I have a stack of -Rs to sell you.

But yeah, replace your drive with something that doesn’t suck, and stop using Riteks (- or +, they suck), and all your problems will go away.

Well I’m a little confused.

Firstly, of all the disks I have had trouble with PLUS R’s have been main culprit.

As for disc ‘rot’, I haven’t had a MINUS R go bad over time (yet) but have had various +R’s go bad.

NOw of course this does not include failed burns, I just had another Ritek G05 fail in my new LG birner. I am talking archival-longevity of discs believed to be good.

Further; why are all the archival type media out there all MINUS format. Only recently has MAM produced a PLUS version. Medical DVDR’s are also MINUS and they have no requirement to play in consumer dvd players, but their data retention rquirements are of serious legal consequence; so why are they not PLUS.

If being able to read data back is critical is it possible that -R’s ability to be more easily read by any equipment to be of more use.

An additional quip would be the consensus of the burning community that TY MINUS 8 speed were perhaps the best ever. Bitburners is raving about Ritek Traxdata 8 speeds right now, and why can’t Ritek bite the bullet and bring back G04 4 speed, an exceptional dye/disc of which all mine are all fully accesible, even with several years handling

I had no problems writing an EMTEC Gold DVD-R (a medium with pure gold reflective layer) with a Toshiba SD-R6472 – but had big problems reading it afterwards! A solution was to turn off the burnfree option to cdrecord (in Linux). I wrote it all up here.

No, TY doesn’t use adhesive in the strictest sense, they almost paint the labels on, even the inkjet printable ones.

However, the problem with the labels isn’t exactly the adhesive (although it is a problem on CDs as they don’t have the additional polycarbonate layer DVDs have), its the fact it always makes them off balance.

No matter how hard you try, even with special tools designed to help center labels, they’re always off center, and discs are balanced (and required to be balanced) within very specific tolerances. Even if you can’t see or hear the wobbling doesn’t mean it isn’t wearing your drive out.

You cannot limit the damage done by labels, you simply should never ever use them.

As for your printer problem, are you trying to print professional looking discs? If so, you’re going to need a fairly expensive setup (such as a thermal disc printer).

If you’re just looking to ‘pretty print’ discs, and you don’t want to just Sharpie it, then look at more expensive printers. I agree the models you mentioned suck, but they’re also under $250 so you can’t expect much.

Quality costs money.

Now, you didn’t mention what you consider cheap. If you want a CD only printer, the cheapest I’d go with is the XLNTIdea Xi 440. Its a thermal disc printer (which requires thermal discs, not inkjet discs). You can find them for about $600 or so.

Otherwise, consider the Epson Stylus Photo RX580 (around $250) or Epson Stylus Photo R1800 (around $550), which both use inkjet discs.

Very long and good description. It helps my daddy to understand a little bit more. Thanks for it.

Dear Mr. McFarland,

Thanks for responding so quickly. One thing I do not understand is why labels applied correctly by me are any more dangerous than the labels applied by TY. Don’t they both use adhesive and isn’t the adhesive the problem?

Also, according to my research on and the respective manufacturer’s websites, the only currently available printers that print DVDs are:

EPSON Stylus Photo R260 at ~$90
EPSON Stylus Photo R380 at ~$120
HP Photosmart D5160 at ~$90

None of these are particularly well rated on NewEgg or anywhere else. Unless you know of a model I am missing, or a store which sells older, higher-rated printers, those of us who require professional-looking labels and want to follow your advice are stuck choosing between two bad choices. Either:

a. Buy TY printable media and put labels on them which will likely destroy them.
b. Buy any TY media and print to them using a printer that is so bad it shouldn’t even be used on paper.

As such, do you know of any way to _limit_ the damage done by using adhesive labels?


Do you know of any _better_ printers that print to DVDs and are also available to buy?

Thanks again,

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