Whats the big deal with cheap media?

vbimport

#1

Sorry for the newbie question, but here’s something I could never understand. Why are cheap media so often condemned?

I mean I use religiously use cheap CD’s and DVDs all of the time - Not because I can get more for a lower price - But because I dont neccisarily see the point of getting the more expensive media at the end of the day all the discs are manufactured pretty much the same way - as digital bits zero or ones and all store infomation on them.

I have used unknown discs again and again - in particular I used ASDA’s own brand which have been slammed for being crap. But I have used them and have not had one failure with them. Some dating back as last year (cheap discs tend not to last several months, apparently) and still work as good as the more expensive ones as good as new.

The ASDA ones use CMC Magnetics dye, for example… again, slammed for being trash and becoming unreadable after a few months and in terms of no frills the best bargain to date and has worked again and again. :cool:

Maybe I’ve got lucky with my burner and cheap media. I only a Phillips one, and I have yet to have a severe amount of coasters (I’ve had a few coasters because of mainly user error :doh: ). Lastly, these ASDA ones are guarenteed… sortof, for a lifetime.

I apologise for the ignorance in this question… But I’m new here, so go easy! :bow:


#2

I prefer cheapest media for video, too, but not for data backup.


#3

First off Welcome to the forum Chad_Bronson

I tend to shy away from the cheap no name media as I’ve personally had some
pretty bad experiences with it in the past. I guess most of the folks here in the
forum prefer to use the good media because that way you know that your data
will still be there and readable when needed.

That’s not to say the media your using isn’t good or anything but it is more of a
personal preference for most of us here to want to use the better media I guess
instead of taking chances with loosing all of our valuable data to the cheaper stuff.

I guess it all comes down to as the old saying goes (what ever floats your boat) as
to a person’s choice in what media they use. :bigsmile:


#4

My 2 cents.

I’ve helped in literally thousands of threads around here over the last 6 1/2 years. Many of those with problems were media related…you’d be amazed how many were helped, or completely solved when the posters changed to good media and burning at less than top speed.

Accumulated experience from the entire forum counts for a lot. You may have been lucky so far Chad, but you shouldn’t count on it to last.


#5

First off, thanks for the welcoming. Much appreciated!

Ahh yes, I see the logic in that - The more expensive media assures them of an almost guarentee that the data will be there in the next few years, and that the cheaper media can be rubbish as it is produced cheaper so quality control will be less, doesnt offer that better guarentee…

I understand now :smile: but I’m still adament about expensive media, can someone point me in the right direction for media which promises excellent reliability, sturdiness but also on the cheap?

Verbitam DVD’s for example would be one I would nominate for reliability, cheap cost, and little to no coaster rate. It shuns Taito Yuden, although the best producer to date, because its simply far too expensive - You could pay double for the Yuden and the Verbitams are about on par with each other! :open_mouth:

Any ideas are warmly welcome. So, the plan of action is to store backups perhaps the more expensive media - and subsequent copies be stored on the cheaper media?

Cheers!


#6

Welcome! :slight_smile:

The ASDA ones work pretty well for me, as you say they’re CMC. That is, all but the 16x DVD+R do - those are CMC MAG M01, which I won’t touch with a ten-foot pole. :wink:

My own reasoning behind mostly using top-tier media is this - I myself had some (Datawrite Yellow) 8x DVD-R, the only backup of my data was on those discs. Awhile later, when I went to restore the data from the discs, my installed drive - an LG - wouldn’t even acknowledge the discs’ presence, let alone read them. The only way I would retrieve the data was with an old LiteOn drive I had.

These discs were RITEK G05, which I found out after joining this forum, a lot of fellow members had had exactly the same experience with - unreadable discs after a time.

However, IMO using ONE backup of any media grade is often not sufficient to cover your butt - so I keep 2 backups on disc, plus one backup of everything on an external HDD. Overkill for some perhaps, but just right for me. :slight_smile:

I keep my main backup set on Verbatim DVD media, with the second set on TY - I buy my Verbies when on offer in Staples/PC World, don’t often pay full price for 'em. :wink:


#7

We are like snooty wine connoisseurs and put our noses up to cheap media, LOL. :wink:


#8

When I got my first DVD-R drive (black friday '02, a Pioneer 104), I started using Princo 1x -R discs, which were cheap at about a buck each. About 3 years later, I went to make a copy of one for somebody and found unreadable sectors. That led to a project to transfer about 300-400 of them to better media - which still isn’t completed, I got stalled a few years ago and just recently restarted - fortunately since I started back I haven’t had anything non-recoverable.

The point is, for me even the worst crap media didn’t start failing for a few years, and many of them are still readable, at least in the Pioneer drives I’m currently using for the project.


#9

Mmm. So what your saying is the more expensive discs, like Verbitim & Taityo Yuden will typically offer better results which is reflected in the price. So better dye and all that… which gives better reliability and all that.

Okay, but ignorant me doesn’t buy it. I understand your point, but hasn’t CMC Mags cleaned up their act considerably to be called decent media now past maybe 2005? I’ve used Greenpod discs, Bulkpaq generation 4 discs (cheap and decent to use) and Datawrite’s amongst ASDAs… All CMC Mags, and I’ve not had one problem.

Back around the early millenium, disc quality was either awfully inconsistant or decent media, because it was still in that beta stage where dyes were crap (Cyanine discs, anyone? :wink: )but quality dyes are not too hard to find at bargain basement prices! :stuck_out_tongue:


#10

What’s cheap media?
100 MMC Verbatim DVDs @$20
Or
100 CMC Verbatim DVDs @$20
Or
100 Memorex DVDs @$20


#11

Blimey! Those discs are THAT cheap!? :clap:

My friends dad’s friend can get a pack of 50 Generation 4 Bulkpaq discs for £5, which works out at 10p each.

I suppose there decent for backup discs and everyday distrubution copies to be handed out like for friends?


#12

Hi Chad,

Welcome to the forum. I don’t think anyone has yet given you a fully satisfactory answer regarding your query, so let me break this down.

First of all, we have to define the word “cheap”. It can mean two things, something that is inexpensive, or, something that is low quality. Sometimes, something that is inexpensive can also be low quality, but it can also be exactly the opposite, that something that is expensive is low quality, and something that is inexpensive is high quality. When it comes to understanding optical media, you need to realize how the cost of production, distribution, and marketing has changed in the last ten years, such that price is no longer the most important factor in determining the quality of media.

In the early days, when there was much less understood about media quality, many people used price as a gauge to figure out whether media was good or bad. They didn’t have enough experience with a wide range of optical media to make judgements based on other factors. Flash forward ten years and that is no longer the case. Now, price is pretty much irrelevent. We can tell you what the best media is AND we can tell you how to get it cheap, or at least, much cheaper than what you think it costs based on it’s quality.

The other issue is that people often use the word “cheap” in a colloquial sense to mean “low quality, but not necessarily related to it’s price.” They say phrases like “cheap media”, but they don’t actually mean cheap media as in inexpensive media, they mean cheap as in shoddy and poorly manufactured, i.e., low quality. Understanding the use of the word “cheap” in the context of discussions in a forum like this will help to prevent you from getting confused. You need to read between the lines to understand the difference between cheap (low cost) and cheap (piece of crap), because the two are not automatically the same.

For example, CMC media often gets completely slammed on other internet forums as being nothing but crap. That’s not the kind of discussion we have here. There is a sublety to understanding the fact that CMC has a reputation for making very stable and long lasting media (doesn’t deteriorate), but that the media does not always exhibit the best results when using consumer-grade media scanning tests, or that the quality of CMC media varies depending on the brand it is manufactured under. You won’t find those kinds of distinctions being made on other boards, but that is how we talk about media here. It’s never as simple as good or bad for us.

The point I’m making is that there is a huge amount of misinformation on the internet about optical media quality. I swear to you that literally, CDFreaks/MyCE is the only place on the entire internet where you have a relatively high-concentration of people who actually know what they are talking about when it comes to the consumer use of optical media. No place else even comes close.

Feel free to ask any other more specific questions you might have.


#13

YOU LEGEND! :clap: :bow:

I’m still a bit lost, so if you don’t mind, I’m going to break down your answer.

"First of all, we have to define the word “cheap”. It can mean two things, something that is inexpensive, or, something that is low quality… In the early days, when there was much less understood about media quality, many people used price as a gauge to determine whether media was good or bad. They didn’t have enough experience with a wide range of optical media to make judgements based on other factors. "

Being an ignorant consumer, like many I buy DVD’s depending on how cheap I can get them, and it’s now I’m beginning to realise and mortified that cheap DVDs can compromise the longtivity of what’s on them.

“We can tell you what the best media is AND we can tell you how to get it cheap, or at least, much cheaper than you think it costs based on it’s quality.”

I’m still a bit nonplussed, I’ve used CMC Mags for example for quite some time now - both CD-R and DVD-R and I have yet to experience serious failure or even a brand of DVD’s it simply doesn’t like.

CMC Mags have a reputably poor brand where writers would just spit it back out with a slew of errors but I can say from experience, what little I have of it, this seems to be more a burner problem than the discs. But that’s just my experience though (EDIT - Are the lasers on individial writers different, maybe manufacturers, etc? I ask this because if I had a reputably really nasty brand like Memorex, NEC writers might throw a sickie plauged with errors, but it would probably burn okay on my Phillips)

So my thesis is this. Until I get a serious problem with the media code I’m using, CMC MAG. AM3 for DVD-Rs and 97m26s66f for CD-R I will consider switching brands, but CMC Magnetics have a strangehold on so many brands, it’s hard to avoid them! Even reputable brands, did you know that CMC Magnetics is the exclusive manufacturer for Phillips discs, for example?

And if the same media code is used in top-notch discs, does the same not apply for cheaper discs that also use the same code if it’s manufactured in the same way?

I’ve had some quality experience with HP, ASDA, Datawrite Titanium, Traxdata Silver virtually any and every brand I’ve thrown at it it trudges along without complaint.

“…CDFreaks/MyCE is the ONLY place on the ENTIRE internet where you have a relatively high-concentration of people who actually know what they are talking about when it comes to the the consumer use of optical media. No place else even comes close.”

Well, that made me reassured we don’t people that give misaligned, illinformed answers. Cheers man! :cop:


#14

One thing you have to realize is that even if you have a successful burn, it doesn’t mean that the burn was done particularly well. Playback can be compromised when using poor quality disks.

Scanning your disks after the burn is a flawed, imperfect way of testing the burn, but is one of the few ways the consumer can determine how well a particular type of disk matches up to his dvd burner. Playback-TRT scan-Quality scan. Those three combined will give you a reasonable idea of how well your burner does with that type of media.

Poor burns might work well enough in your dvd drive, but if you are burning dvd-video, you might find that they do not play well in all stand-alone players. Players and dvd drives in computers vary quite a lot in their reading ability.

Burners differ on type of hardware within them and firmware that controls the burn. So a CMC disk that burns well in your burner might not work as well in another drive.

The same mid code used in one particular type of disk will show variations in different brands. The manufacturers make runs of dvds in huge numbers, but the same mid code can be produced by any number of different manufacturing plants, and quality control can be spotty. So you aren’t always looking at the same product, even when using the same mid code. We’ve learned over time that some brands, Memorex in particular, seem to get low quality examples of any mid code, though it isn’t 100%…you’ll find perfectly acceptable disks under the Memorex brand on occasion. But why buy a product that isn’t reliable when there are good quality substitutes?


#15

I will agree with that. Verbatim AZO are disappearing from retail stores and being replaced by the Life (CMC) series. Taiyo Yuden are more or less nonexistent in retail stores. Premium unbranded Taiyo Yuden is probably your best bet right now. More expensive and pretty much only at online sites like rima and supermediastore, but IMO worth the price premium for the security of better reliability.

Like you and probably many others here, I used to use many of the brands you just listed. And for a while, they seemed to work fine. That is, until I bought a batch of TDK DVD-R from Circuit City, and many of them skipped/froze in my Sony DVD player. I also had the Ritek problem listed above, where they burned fine but would not copy a year later.

At least I had an excuse. I didn’t even know about the existence of cdfreaks.com at the time I burned the TDKs and the Riteks. Nor did I bother to research which DVDr would yield the best burn quality, both initially and long term. On the other hand, you’re asking for advice and seem to be ignoring what you’re given.

See this thread. It’s about BD-R, but the moral of the story is the same. Cheap media can seem OK and play OK at first, but after a year or so can deteriorate and be unreadable. If this doesn’t scare you away from cheap media, then it sounds like you’ll just have to learn the way many of us did: through painful experience:

http://club.myce.com/f142/my-ritek-2x-bd-rs-all-dead-306492/


#16

[QUOTE=Some Random Guy;2537701] …I didn’t even know about the existence of cdfreaks.com at the time I burned the TDKs and the Riteks. Nor did I bother to research which DVDr would yield the best burn quality, both initially and long term. On the other hand, you’re asking for advice and seem to be ignoring what you’re given. [/QUOTE]

I suppose this is where I follow in your case, I didn’t know about it until less than a month ago where I began posting questions about blank media. As to ignoring what I’ve been given… I suppose your right, I’ve come to terms that you need to buy quality media for the security that your data will be there for some time to come.

If this doesn’t scare you away from cheap media, then it sounds like you’ll just have to learn the way many of us did: through painful experience

The irony of that comment is shortly after I replied, I burned a Greenpod disc, using the CMC Mag code using my Phillips writer. Like many, I was dubious about this Greenpod brand, but it’s done me some good with the dozen discs I borrowed from a friend.

HOWEVER - one of the discs, before I burnt it had a massive ink blotch, not wanting to take my chances, I got rid of it, but this is the first one out of about a dozen discs I’ve seen with a prominant ink blotch.

Now, the second botched disc is interesting, because I was burning another Greenpod disc for DVD-Video (and not the data I’ve been using the discs for previously, the disc seemed to burn alright using IMG Burn (from an .ISO file, if your interested…) and shortly after, I verified the disc using IMGBurn, just to see if it would run, and the disc seemed to have got unreadable errors literally hours after an apparent successful burn! :doh:

In fairness, I think it was scratched to heck which made verification fail, and attempts to clone it, fail. Hmm. I think it’s fair to say I’ve learned my lesson. :sad:

The reason, now bare with me, I bought the cheap media is because it is… well, cheap. At the time, it didn’t make economical sense to buy expensive discs which may cost treble the cheaper discs because I hate paying for brand names which are just that.

But now I’ve got a grip, reputable brands don’t cost much more than economy discs! So, what I’m going to do is buy some more economy discs for everyday copies (or distrubution copies) for everyday discs, and invest in some top-notch discs like Verbitim for archiving and long-time data storage. That way, the archival discs can be put away where its not prone to daily where and tear.

I would rather a 20p disc go down, where I can just as easily make duplicates of the master disc, than the archive disc go down. Common sense or wasting my time with this? We might be onto something :cool:


#17

[QUOTE=Chad_Bronson;2537626]I’m still a bit nonplussed, I’ve used CMC Mags for example for quite some time now - both CD-R and DVD-R and I have yet to experience serious failure or even a brand of DVD’s it simply doesn’t like.

CMC Mags have a reputably poor brand where writers would just spit it back out with a slew of errors but I can say from experience, what little I have of it, this seems to be more a burner problem than the discs. But that’s just my experience though (EDIT - Are the lasers on individial writers different, maybe manufacturers, etc? I ask this because if I had a reputably really nasty brand like Memorex, NEC writers might throw a sickie plauged with errors, but it would probably burn okay on my Phillips)

So my thesis is this. Until I get a serious problem with the media code I’m using, CMC MAG. AM3 for DVD-Rs and 97m26s66f for CD-R I will consider switching brands, but CMC Magnetics have a strangehold on so many brands, it’s hard to avoid them! Even reputable brands, did you know that CMC Magnetics is the exclusive manufacturer for Phillips discs, for example?

And if the same media code is used in top-notch discs, does the same not apply for cheaper discs that also use the same code if it’s manufactured in the same way?[/QUOTE]

Some of this you’ve already begun to figure out on your own. One of the main reasons that CMC media got such a poor reputation was because the firmware support contained in DVD burners was very poor for a number of years. As DVD burners evolved and got better, so did the results people got with CMC. However, the old reputation remained and people continued to slam and avoid it, not based on facts, but fear and outdated information. A number of other types of media faced the same problem, poor firmware support in the early days led to a reputation they couldn’t shake, even after the problem had been resolved years later.

The other issue is that over time, the quality of media got better, that being, the makers of certain media improved their manufacturing processes and quality control, such that the issues that people may have once had were no longer there. Optodisc was a prime example of that. They went from being reviled as garbage at 4x, to being good media under certain brands at 8x, to often being better than Taiyo Yuden or Verbatim at 16x. Optodisc had been almost completely ignored because of their early reputation, but by the time people realized just how good it had become, it was gone. CMC has also changed over the years, and their 16x media, while it did have some issues early on, has gotten much better (there are people who swear by CMC MAG AM3 as very decent media, for example).

Lastly, in regards to whether the same media under different brands should always be the same in quality, it can be, but that’s unfortunately not always the case. Some brands pay top dollar or get special access to the best “batches” of a particular manufacturer’s media, while others pay little and end up with the leftovers that aren’t quite as good. The other key difference is quality control. The manufacturing process might be the same, but even with that, unless you have in place a system for weeding out the lower-quality output, you will end up with variable quality media. That is what really distinguishes the top-tier companies from the also-rans. The best media companies put a lot of money into quality control to make sure that the same consistent output of media is the only thing their customers see. They do produce bad media, but it gets locked in the attic along with crazy Uncle George, so that people never see it.


#18

[QUOTE=negritude;2537738]They do produce bad media, but it gets locked in the attic along with crazy Uncle George, so that people never see it.[/QUOTE] Are you sure crazy Uncle George isn’t the undercover media purchase manager for Memorex? :stuck_out_tongue:


#19

[QUOTE=negritude;2537738]Some of this you’ve already begun to figure out on your own. One of the main reasons that CMC media got such a poor reputation was because the firmware support contained in DVD burners was very poor for a number of years. As DVD burners evolved and got better, so did the results people got with CMC. However, the old reputation remained and people continued to slam and avoid it, not based on facts, but fear and outdated information. [/QUOTE]

This is exactly the answer I was looking for! :smiley:

Several years ago, many people who used CMC Mag DVD/CD media reported that their discs refused to work with these discs and promptly spat them back out. How many of these people blamed the writer, and not the disc? And looking on this forum, and I apologise if I cause offense, many people blame these discs without understanding that it is most likely to be a burner fault the reason why it spat them back out. (Although if it becomes unreadable, the disc dye may start to quickly degrade… :frowning: )

The other issue is that over time, the quality of media got better, that being, the makers of certain media improved their manufacturing processes and quality control, such that the issues that people may have once had were no longer there… CMC has also changed over the years, and their 16x media, while it did have some issues early on, has gotten much better (there are people who swear by CMC MAG AM3 as very decent media, for example).

This is the point I’ve been trying to raise, and I think you worded it much better than I could :slight_smile: CMC Mags might have been crap media several years ago, but in my books, CMC Mags have earned a reputation for quality media. ALL media, when first released, are plauged with production errors.

Classic example, back when CD-Rs were maybe 60p each ten years ago, near enough all CDs back then use the cyanine dye, which by it’s nature is unstable and prone to fading after just several months. I have some cyanine discs from audio CDs burned in 2000, and despite skipping occasionally from wear and tear, they are holding up pretty nicely. :slight_smile:

…In regards to whether the same media under different brands should always be the same in quality, it can be, but that’s unfortunately not always the case. Some brands pay top dollar or get special access to the best “batches” of a particular manufacturer’s media, while others pay little and end up with the leftovers that aren’t quite as good. The other key difference is quality control. The manufacturing process might be the same, but even with that, unless you have in place a system for weeding out the lower-quality output, you will end up with variable quality media. That is what really distinguishes the top-tier companies from the also-rans. The best media companies put a lot of money into quality control to make sure that the same consistent output of media is the only thing their customers see. They do produce bad media, but it gets locked in the attic along with crazy Uncle George, so that people never see it.

Understood, this is one thing I could never seem to work out, if these discs were so shockingly bad, wouldnt they have been consigned to the metaphorical dustbin? It’s sort of like buying a TV with a print blotch, nobody will want it and it gets destroyed or corrected pretty much immiediantly. Would you want your Panasonic to say such as Panoramic? etc.


#20

[QUOTE=Chad_Bronson;2537747]…this is one thing I could never seem to work out, if these discs were so shockingly bad, wouldnt they have been consigned to the metaphorical dustbin? It’s sort of like buying a TV with a print blotch, nobody will want it and it gets destroyed or corrected pretty much immiediantly. Would you want your Panasonic to say such as Panoramic? etc.[/QUOTE]

Once again, you have to read between the lines. There’s bad, and then there’s bad. You see a lot of people on forums like this complaining about media quality because we’re geeks and nerds. We’re picky, anal-retentive elitists who evaluate media like wealthy snobs evaluate wine or restaurants. A lot of the media that we think is junk might be acceptable for the majority of the population, but it’s not good enough for us. Over time, you learn to understand the distinction and make your own judgements.