What Brand of CD and DVD Blank Media Should I Buy?
Do you think that all recordable CDs and DVDs are created equal? Think again. Producing a quality blank that can be used to create a quality recording takes excellent manufacturing standards. Poor materials and processes result in an inferior product. Inferior blank media can mean that you can’t write to the disk at all, or that it may not reliably hold data for an extended period of time - putting your archival data or home movies at risk. Blank CDs and DVDs of good quality will work about 95% of the time while low tier brands can work as little as 50% of the time.
Generally, a pack of blank media from a reliable producer only costs a few dollars more than a brand from a questionable producer. Buying discs that work consistently, however, will save you money in the long run if discs don't work. Functional discs are worth the price. It's just a matter of knowing which brands to buy.
Disc Brand versus Disc Producer
While there are dozens of brands of blank CD and DVD media, there are many fewer blank media producers. The same manufacturer will provide media for a number of brands. That is why price isn't always the best indicator of quality. One brand may charge more than another brand while the discs are exactly the same and came from the same manufacturer. Plus, brand names may change their producer at any time, so providing a comprehensive list here may not be current in the not too distant future.
This is frustrating because the producer is the best indicator of blank disc quality. Yet, finding out exactly who manufactured a recordable CD or DVD isn't easy. It isn't listed on product information or even on the product label.
The only way to know for sure who produced a brand's disc is to use a disc utility like Nero CD-DVD Speed. Disc utilities will display the manufacturer's identification.
Stick to the Basics
There are a few of disc brands that still manufacture their own media with a commitment to quality. Currently, according to bloggers and posters on bulletin boards, the best example of this may be Taiyo Yuden (JVC). These blank discs are usually more expensive, but those who need or want the best quality of burn/duplication and reproduction are willing to pay the premium.
A general rule, however, is that name brand recordable DVDs and CDs like Sony, Verbatim, Phillips, TDK, HP, etc., use quality producers. Off-brands or store brands are more likely to come from an unreliable producer - but that is not a hard and fast rule. A store brand may be the same disc as a name brand. Finding out which off-brands use good producers may take a little research. Curious users may want to experiment by buying an inexpensive brand of blank media and examine and test them with a disc utility. The safe bet, though, is sticking with name brands. By sticking with recognizable brands, the odds are that you are buying a quality disc from a good manufacturer.
If you are in a business that burns or duplicates a large volume of blank CDs or DVDs, then it may be worth doing the research or doing the experiments to find a low cost, quality option.
Avoiding Fakes When Purchasing Blank CD and DVD Media
In the past, fakes have been a concern in the blank CD and DVD media marketplace. Fakes are recordable media with fraudulent brand name packaging containing inferior discs sold to unsuspecting consumers. This has been a larger problem in Europe and Asia than in North America.
Again, a general rule can help you avoid being scammed with fakes. If you buy a brand name from a reputable on-line seller or brick and mortar retailer, the odds of being sold fakes is almost zero. Be more wary of sellers on E-bay or websites that offer prices too far below other sellers. The marketplace is very competitive, so any seller greatly undercutting the competition may not be doing so honestly.
With a little knowledge you can buy quality recordable DVDs and CDs that work consistently and will maintain their integrity far into the future. The basic rule is that it is usually worth the small extra price to buy brands you recognize. Otherwise, you could be wasting time and money trying to use poorly made blank media.