Direct printing: Any effect on the disc's data?

For those of you who have inkjet printers that can print directly onto inkjet-printable CDs and DVDs, I have a question.

Browsing this forum, I see that there is a lot of discussion about the long-term life of the print quality, but what about the data and content that’s on the CD/DVD? Are your printed discs still readable and playable even a long time after you printed the surfaces?

I’m interested to know if this is safe in the long run, or if a variation of the same problem that cropped up with sticky labels might become a side effect of direct printing.

If you don’t mind sharing your experiences or observations, I’d be glad to the read them. Thanks everyone.

They are the same discs as non-printables, so no difference. The printable surface has no effect on burn quality or integrity.

Some people have reported that the tray in their Inkjet printer can scratch their CD/DVD when printing on it. That would impact the readability of the data negatively, but it would be instantly detectable by looking at the data side of the disc after removing it from the printer tray.

Thank you both for your input; much appreciated. However, I’d also like to mention something I read and gather any opinions. The publication [I]Care and Handling of CDs and DVDs — A Guide for Librarians and Archivists[/I], Oct, 2003 by the NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology) says that ink affects the flatness and balance of a disc even though it has been specially manufactured with a printable surface (and here they are referring to printable DVDs, not CDs; DVDs are more sensitive than CDs to any disc imbalance). They say that for DVDs, full surface printing may not be the best choice since the ink may not be uniformly distributed over the disc surface (but it’s preferable to partial surface printing).

So what I’m interested in knowing is the real world experience of those who have printed on the (printable, of course) surface of their media. Can you still play the DVD without problems? After playing it multiple times, did it eventually develop problems, or has it remained playable? Is it playable even a long time after doing the original surface printing? (And, for the heck of it, I’ll welcome any feedback on CDs too.)

Thanks again.

I’ve printed on both CD/DVD’s and after a year no noticeable difference. I did not scan them after i burned and printed them so i have no reference scans to go by sorry.

They say that for DVDs, full surface printing may not be the best choice since the ink may not be uniformly distributed over the disc surface (but it’s preferable to partial surface printing).

I’m not sure what they think that the DVD manufacturing plants are doing, if not printing on the discs. The only difference is that one is silk screened and the other is printed with inkjet. Paper labels are another thing, but inkjet printing has no effect whatsoever on the disc’s balance. Once dry, the weight of the ink is minuscule.


I have been using Verbatim DVD+R 4.7GB 16X White Inkjet Printable and Verbatim DVD+R DL 8.5GB/240Min 2.4X White Inkjet Printable media for over 2 years and haven’t experienced any problems at all.

I started out using an Epson R300, then went to an R320, and am now using the Epson R340. All three printers, print directly to DVD’s and CD’s, do and outstanding job.

All the DVD’s that I’ve burned and printed using the above, are still very playable. I don’t pay much attention to Scans, because a disc either plays or it doesn’t; and I haven’t burned and printed a coaster in a very, very, long time.



Sorry to piggy back my question on to his but, what settings do you use to print with your Epson R340? Do you have smuding or ink come off on your finger tips after your DVDs have dried for over 24 hours? Any help would most appreciated.



I spritz my discs with Patricia Nomick’s to “seal” the ink…

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. It makes me feel better about printing on DVDs. Now as for CDs, I’m curious…

Before the advent of direct inkjet printing on CDs, I read lots of testimony from people who burned CDs; and after six months or a year, the data on them was unreadable. People then started posting hints about how they avoided this: don’t buy certain cheap CDs, don’t place adhesive labels on CDs, buy CD-Rs instead of CD-RWs, store CDs properly - in individual cases, upright, and away from direct sunlight, etc.

Has anyone found that the special coating on printable CDs gives them an extra benefit because it provides more stability or protection to the CD, making it last longer? I wonder if anyone has noticed a quality difference between regular CD-Rs and -RWs (without an adhesive label) and those that are printable, especially if they’re of the same brand. Just curious.

BTW, CDan, just as an aside, that report I quoted on care of CDs/DVDs mentioned something called [I]pit art[/I]: “an alternative to printing that makes a holographic image on the disc; because it’s inkless, balance & flatness aren’t compromised.” However, this is a 2003 report; so I don’t know if pit art was (or is) “the norm” in DVD manufacturing, or if silkscreening is now the norm.

Maybe DVDs aren’t as sensitive as they were in 2003 and/or ink isn’t as much of an issue. That’s why I’m a fan of practical experience for learning about what [I]really[/I] works.