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Friday, October 06, 2006
Demystifying Blu-Ray Duplicators
The CD/DVD duplication industry is generate some buzz around blu-ray technology but all that buzz might get you into something you don't need. Lets demystify the blu-ray duplicator.
For starters lets take a look at what blu-ray is: The blu-ray disc (BD) is an optical disc format designed for higher density storage applications. With digital content becoming bigger in file size, the industry is trying new and creative ways to store data without significant cost increases or increase in physical disc size. Blu-ray is a big step in that direction.
The name blu-ray is derived from the blue-violet laser used during the read and write process. A blu-ray disc can store more data than a DVD because of the shorter wavelength (405 nm). DVDs use a 650-nm-wavelength red laser and CDs use an infrared 780 nm laser. This shorter blue-violet wave length yields a higher optical disc capacity; for example, a typical CDR is 700MBs, and DVD is 4.7GBs and a blu-ray DVD is 25GBs. **There is test media which breaks the 200GB range!
So far everything sounds great but lets put the blu-ray technology into a duplicator environment. The first question we must ask our self is how long does it take to burn a blu-ray disc? It takes about 45 minutes for a single drive to burn 25GBs at the maximum speed of 2X. The question now becomes can we maintain a 2X burning speed with multiple blu-ray drives in a duplicator?
The next item for consideration is the blu-ray media. At the time of this article several dealers where out of blu-ray media and expected ship times where undetermined. The cost was high at $20 dollars per unit and that was in larger quantities. Another important point with blu-ray media is the disc style. As of right now, there is no inkjet printable blu-ray media and most of what is available is "branded" - meaning the manufacture logo is silk-screened on the disc making it very hard to use a custom label. Since duplication applications generally use custom print labels this becomes a big problem if printing to disc is needed.
The final consideration when thinking about blu-ray duplicators is the battle between blu-ray drive technology and HD DVD drive technology. There is a current battle going on between the major corporations backing the drive technologies. A battle similar to the videotape format war between VHS and Betamax. As of 2006 neither format of blu-ray or HD DVD has succeeded in supplementing the present home video DVD standard - a win that will set the stage for high capacity DVDR storage standards and more importantly the high capacity DVD duplicators.
As for some final thoughts - if you are the select few that require high capacity DVDs and cannot wait for the technology battle to settle then blu-ray might be for you. Until then, it's probably smarter and more economical to stick with DVD-R/+R duplicators and maintain the flexible printing options with the available thermal, dye-sublimation and inkjet printable media types.