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The Cautionary Buyer

Why All DVDRs Are NOT Created Equal


In the world of DVD R media the old adage you get what you pay is definitely true. Since it’s very hard to differentiate a piece of plastic, unsuspecting consumers are lured into buying inferior quality media by lower and lower prices. But what they don’t know is the process and material used to manufacturer DVD R media can vary greatly. Using cheaper materials, labor and processes allow some manufacturers to pass on savings to the consumer. But does the consumer really want a piece of junk? Some simply aren’t concerned with quality or even know what they are doing to begin with, or they are limiting error by only burning tiny amounts of information to a disc. On the other hand some consumers depend on quality media so that they can store family pictures, video or music for long periods of time. Professionals who use DVD R for business uses depend on quality media so record ability, playback and archiving life are very important concerns, concerns that can’t be met by inferior media.

To understand the quality rating of DVD R media you must first understand that there are different grades associated with the standard of quality. Grade A is of course the highest grade which will most likely give you good record ability, playback and storage life. Top brands like US Digital Media, Taiyo Yuden and Mitsui are grade A and you can certainly depend on them to get the job done. Grade B DVD R media is media that is flawed in some way and is a lower standard. Even top manufacturers will produce Grade B from time to time but they don’t intend to sell it intentionally under their labels. That’s not to say that some won’t get mixed in with the Grade A good stuff. Grade C media, well let’s just say they make good coasters. You might get a couple good burns but you will probably throw away more than you will use. What makes a DVD a certain grade? Well it mostly has to do with the dye and the manufacturing process. Unlike DVD-ROMs, which have, information recorded on to the metal of the disc DVDRs have information recorded into the plastic. This is done by the laser of the DVD writer, which records the data into the dye of the plastic. Some dye formulas or material works better than others and sometimes it just doesn’t come out right. This is why quality between brands can vary and quality between runs from a single manufacturer can vary. To conclude, choosing the right DVD R depends on how important record ability, playback and archiving life are to you. Just remember low prices are low for good reason and if you choose to buy cheaper media you’re probably getting “cheap” media.