DVD Replication – Are Pressing Plants Losing The Battle?

Not many years ago there was a real issue of compatibility with DVD. DVDR would often not play back on set top players and the accepted wisdom was that a DVDR was not the equivalent of a pressed disc. This is true in some respects certainly. A DVDR is actually written in a different way to the way a DVD book compliant disc is created when it is glass mastered and replicated.
In addition to the historic compatibility issues of DVDR it is undeniable that a manufactured DVD with its coating of aluminium is always going to be more hard wearing than a recordable disc, where the latter’s plastic coated writeable (data) side is easily damaged. Although the DVD format is capable of error correcting the results of a few scratches, it is not going to be able to cope with the sustained data loss of more than a few light scratches.
Wind forward to today and we have seen a great change in the ability of a DVD player to read a recordable disc. In fact even the cheapest player available for well under £50 is more than capable of playing back all but the lowest quality DVDR stock, including the much more technically adventurous double layered recordable disc.
With this change in available audience, it has become quite common for even large runs to be considered on recordable discs. Coupled with the reduced cost of the recordable format it has meant that run sizes in excess of 1000 units, usually the staple of replication facilities, are is now very much justifiable as a recordable discs. Added to the fact that an optical disc replication factory still requires at least 8 days (and more realistically 12 working day)s to complete even a small order, it makes the reduced lead time (in the order of a day or two usually) a big factor in choosing recordable discs.
One thing that is also not often appreciated is that despite the very high quality of disc print available for replicated discs, it is the recordable disc that has the advantage in terms of sheer print quality. Print in large factories is geared towards acceptable standard at the cheapest cost possible. With recordable disc there is the option of digital print methods that are not available in replication facilities. These digital print options are very often vastly superior for full colour print when compared to the offset print method favoured by pressing plants.

Of course there will always be a need for very cost effective bulk manufacturing of discs when volumes warrant it but as the DVD moves from being a consumer format to a business marketing tool, it is inevitable that this move towards recordable discs continues.

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