Shopping for the best DVD media doesn’t take a science degree, but it can be easily confusing for anyone unfamiliar with all the terms and specifics that go along with this industry. That’s why we’re breaking down the buying process for you. Here’s a simple guide to help you navigate the aisles (whether physical or virtual) next time you’re in the market for recordable media.
Where to start
If you’re looking for basic recordable media for simple or at-home jobs you can never go wrong with your local electronics store or office supplies establishment. Most likely these organizations will have an online option for you as well. If you’re hoping to buy in bulk, research recordable media suppliers on the Web and you’re bound to find some great deals.
What to look for
The best equipment comes from Japan and Singapore; you’ll find that most companies produce their supplies in these two countries plus Taiwan, Mexico, Hong Kong, Ireland, and India. Taiwan and Hong Kong have the worst reputations of the bunch.
The country of production, however, is not as important as the brand. Not all producers have their own brand, and some company’s products go by a different name in this industry:
MCC (Mitsubishi Chemicals)
CMC (CMC Magnetics)
It’s often recommended to avoid store brands because the quality usually isn’t up to par, and the return and exchange policies can run you into some trouble in some circumstances.
The media ID is what will steer you in the right direction; this will indicate the actual disc maker and will help you avoid fakes. The following is a branding guide of the major recordable media manufacturers.
Accu = LEADDATA
Americal = RITEKG01, PRINCO, LEADDATA
Apple = MXL, MCC(-R)
Arita = RITEKG03, RICOHJPN
BenQ = DAXON, FUJIFILM
Bulkpaq = PRINCO, PRODISC, ISO001(+R)
CompUSA = PRINCO(-R), AML, OPTODISC, LD
Datawrite = PRINCO, PRODISC, AN31, RITEKG03
DupEZ = PIODATA, LEADDATA
ESA = CMC
Esbuy = RITEK, LEADDATA, other budget IDs
Fuji = TY(-R), MKM(-RW), MCC, RICOHJPN(+R), PRODISC(-R), FUJIFILM, RITEK
GQ = PIODATA, PRINCO, RITEKG03, RITEKG02, LEADDATA, LD
HP = CMC, RICOHJPN, MCC
Imation = MCC02, RITEKG03, CMC
Intenso = MCC01
KHypermedia = CMC, TTG01
Kodak = Various budget IDs
LiquidVideo = OPTODISC
Matrix = MATRIX, LONGTEN, YIJHAN, MUST
Maxell = MXL, RITEK(-R/Taiwan), RICOHJPN, TYG01
Memorex = MCC003, RITEKG05, RITEKR03, CMCMAG, RICOHJPN,
Memorex (more) = PRODISCS0x, INFODISC, MBI, MCC01
Meritline = Various budget IDs
Mirror = AN31, ONIDTECH, PRINCO
Optodisc = OPTODISC
Philips = CMC
Pioneer = PVC
Princo = PRINCO, Fake TDK
Prodisc = PRODISCS0x, PRODISCF0x, MCC01, MCC02
Ridata, Ritek = RITEKG0x, RITEKM0x, RITEKR0x, RITEKW, RICOHJPN
Samsung = TYG01, BEALL, RITEK
Sonic, Shop4tech = LONGTEN, MATRIX, MUST, YIJHAN, various budget IDs
Sony = SONYD0x, YUDEN, RICOHJPN, MCC
Supermedia, Linkyo = Various budget IDs
TDK = TY, YUDEN, TTG0x, TTH0x, RITEK, RICOH, MXL, CMC(+R), MCC, TDK
Teon = MCC003(+R), CMC(-R)
Verbatim = MCC02, MCC, MKM(DL), CMC, YUDEN, RICOHJPN, RITEKG03
How to use it
Once you’ve chosen your media and you’ve brought it home to use, you can check the advertised write speed against the actual write speed to verify that your equipment and media are operationally sound and to make sure you haven’t purchased a fake.
Most duplicating equipment and software will verify the write speed and run at the correct speed to match the media automatically, but you can manually check with the help of some free tools, including Nero, ADVDInfo, DVDinfoPro, DVDIdenifier, and others.