So far I have not written any discs this month and have yet to install the Blu-ray writer from my previous PC. When I purchased my current PC, the included DVD drive was just described as being a slimline DVD-ROM (laptop type) in the HP spec. However, it turned out to be a DVD writer, which shows how little relevance manufacturers find DVD writers now.
One thing I really wish DVD recorder manufacturers had done years ago was make an “idiot proof” DVD recorder with clear easy to follow instructions. For example, if one inserts a blank disc and the user presses record, the DVD recorder would discretely carry out the initialisation process, hold the current recording on flash memory and transfer it on disc once the drive catches up, transparent to the user. If the user ejects the disc, it would ask the question “Do intend making further recordings on this disc?”, in which case if they select ‘No’, the drive finalises the disc and ejects it, ready to play on any DVD player.
VCRs were popular due to their simplicity - Just pop a blank tape in and press record. Back in the 1990’s, pretty much every house had one and I’m sure many regularly used them for taping programming. Now, pretty much everyone uses PVRs which store everything on its hard disk.
With any set-top DVD recorder I’ve seen, it does not come with any quick start guide, leaving the user to figure out how to record to DVD. First there is the confusion of which blanks to buy, i.e. DVD-R, +R, -RW, +RW or -RAM, not to mention the ‘X’ speed. Even with the right blank DVD, some DVD recorders require the user to go into the menu to initialise the disc. When the user wants to record something, it can take a short while for the DVD recorder to start recording. Finally, the user must finalise the disc before they can play it elsewhere, which I found surprisingly complicated with some DVD recorders. What about reusing a rewritable disc later on? No wonder DVD recorders never caught on. With a VHS tape, the tape is always ready to play elsewhere and reusing it is as simple as rewinding the tape and recording from the start.
Just recently, a neighbour asked if I could record something from TV onto DVD as he was interviewed in the programme. Even though this person has a DVD recorder, I had no luck showing him how to use it as it had a complicated procedure just to prepare a blank disc and another tedious procedure to finalise it afterwards.
As for my own use, it looks like I am finished with optical discs. They are bulky, slow and too low in capacity. For example, a 1TB USB HDD is tiny compared to a stack of 40 BD-R’s. For verifying, I could do something as simple as SHA1 checks across the contents without being near the PC. With BD-R’s (DVD-Rs or CD-Rs), I have to manually load each disc one by one to test them. Sure, a disc failure loses less data than a HDD failure, however, it’s easier to backup to another HDD than to create and periodically verify a second set of discs.