Sticky paper labels on DVD+/-R discs: beware!

Many threads on this board have reported readability problems, and/or apparent media degradation, that finally could be traced down to the use of paper labels on DVDR discs.
In the most extreme cases discs became totally unreadable and, quite often, removing the labels fully restored the readability of the discs.

Many possible explanations have been voiced on this board.
Here is an “offfical” explanation from Memorex (excerpt from Memorex, Reference guide for optical media)
Paper labels are not recommended for DVD discs.
The expansion and contraction of moisture in the paper and the accumulation of heat in a DVD drive can alter the flatness of a disc enough that it falls out of the tilt specification and may not be able to be read.

Bottom line: unless you find a recommended source of labels causing no problems, it’s strongly recommended NOT to use paper labels on your DVDR discs. Of course, if you already did so and have no problem, don’t panic. But if these discs start to have reading issues in the future, you’ll know what to try next :wink:

Here are some threads on this board, where the source of the problem could be traced down to the use of paper labels.
If you find more threads, let me know, I’ll add them.

Feel free to post here your own experiences, good or bad, with paper labels. :).

Also, if you found a reliable, safe source for sticky labels (plastic, special paper…), and you have some scans to back this up, don’t hesitate… :wink:

There are no good experiences with paper labels.

Good work, Franck. I skimmed Memorex’s optical media guide, and it is surprisingly comprehensive!

Yep, found this two weeks ago, good doc. :iagree:

I tried Neato brand paper labels on music CDR’s burned about four years ago and discovered the songs on the outer disc wouldn’t play after only six months! Was able to copy to new discs (used the same media lot), didn’t use a label, and the discs still play fine today. Never even considered using paper labels for DVDR’s…

Looks like I will never try the paper labels on my precious DVDR’s. Thanks for the info. :iagree:

i did buy a xpress it kit and used it a few times but after reading a few threads on here i stopped using it, only after buying a 100 sheets of stickers :doh:

You can always sell it on eBay, I’m sure somebody would buy it :stuck_out_tongue:

Interesting thread - I can relate to it because I used labels in the past - CDStomper Pro labels - well centered - I have not had any issues with CD-Rs, obviously, however with DVD is another story. What I cannot understand is why the hell are these things still sold ? I figure now it is more costly for me to buy labels than buy a printable CD/DVD.

For DVD I have not had any issues at first, but months later would notice reading problems / CRC errors, etc… To rule out disc degradation I have removed many of those labels from my maxell DVD+Rs, cleaned them well and magic, they were fully readable again with similar readings from when I burned them. I personally would never recommend labels, period.

Well it seems I am going to go against popular opinion I have and sometimes still do (when I can’t get printables) still use paper labels when making family films into DVDs to send off to the rest of the family. I have had no problem with them playing the discs in my DVD player and in others yet they do cause scanning problems.

I would like to see some scans done of discs with paper labels at 1x the speed at which the DVD player actually plays them and see what the results are, when we scan we always do it at 4x or 8x. I may actually do this when I next have a family movie to convert.

Fortunately these aren’t my originals

One with label, unreadable and one without, readable. Only a few i tested with labels were readable - but also pretty crappy media from the beginning. These below are 2 years+ of age, Prodye branded from

What is the scan like for the unreadable one at 1x?

41.8x speed!! Wonder how that happened.

That’s what I used to use on my CDRs, til I lost the data on several - never again! :disagree:

Never used any labels on my DVDRs, though - see above, I learned my lesson with CDRs! :wink:

it only cost about £5, so i don’t think i’ll bother

cheers anyway :cool:

What makes the difference between CD-R’s with paper labels and DVD-R’s with paper labels ??

Welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

DVDRs and CDRs, despite apparences, are rather different. The “size” of the pits and lands and of the tracks are much smaller in DVDR. So the whole reading (and burning) process is far more picky, and any small misalignement can dramatically impact the quality of the signals.

That’s why, among other things, the [I]tilt[/I] (flatness) of the DVDR media is paramount, and any warping, would it be slight, degrades the performance of DVDR, when the same amount of warping in CDRs would be handled without trouble during burning/reading.

Labels are not the only source of dangerous warping BTW: unproper storing leads to all kinds of trouble as well.

Hope this helps. :slight_smile:

Francksoy , Thanks for your informative answer. Best Wishes.

I constantly have to deal with advertisers and graphic designers sending me CDs and DVDs with their custom label applied (generally just their logo). About 50% of the time I’m forced to use ISOBuster to extract the data. And this is for a disc used twice (once to burn, once for me to get the data). I can never figure out why they go to the trouble.

Like several others here, I learned my lesson by applying paper labels to some CD-R media which later became unreadable or almost unreadable. Other CD-R media of the same exact type, but without paper labels, were perfectly readable however.

After that experience I were never tempted to ad paper labels to my DVD media! :disagree: