Choosing Optical Medium – Blu-ray

In this brief series of blogs, we’re looking at how to choose the right optical media type for each purpose.  In the last post, we looked at recordable CD and DVD.  In this part, we’re exploring Blu-ray and summing up the key points.

Blu-ray Media:  Blu-ray is the King Kong of optical storage capacity.  Available today in capacities of 25 GB and 50 GB, Blu-ray discs will soon be available in 100 GB capacity, and a 128 GB version has been proposed.

Blu-ray media can be used for storing or distributing large amounts of data.  Blu-ray media can also be used to store high definition movies or video that can be played using a Blu-ray player.

Wrap Up:  It should be fairly clear that each optical disc type has uses for which it is best suited.  Two important measures are price and capacity.  On a strictly per megabyte basis, DVD media is the least expensive.  On a pure capacity basis – when you have files that are larger than a DVD’s capacity (perhaps an Exchange database or entire folders to be backed up, or a high definition movie that may require 25 GB or more), Blu-ray will be a clear best choice.  If you just have a LOT of data that you want to archive and don’t want to use hundreds of DVDs to do it, Blu-ray is also an obvious choice.  And, for smaller data sets, a lot of small videos, or even music, CDs are still a great choice.

Rewritable versions of the optical media are also offered.  These versions cost more than the recordable versions, but also enable you to erase and re-record onto the disc.  A rewritable disc requires erasing or formatting before it can be reused.  A rewritable disc is useful in various targeted areas of use.  As a ‘hard drive replacement’ in a computer or device where it’s inconvenient to remove one disc and install a new one (perhaps in information kiosks), it makes sense to be able to remotely reformat the disc and record new data onto it.  For backup systems, incremental backups can be stored onto the media and put into a storage rotation.  When the backup on the media is no longer needed, the disc can be reformatted, and put into play as the current backup target.

There’s one other thing to consider beyond mere price—media quality.  CD and DVD blanks can sometimes be found for mere pennies.  Although low cost media may be great, there are often quality differences between low cost media and ‘duplicator grade’ media.  ‘Duplicator Grade’ media (offered by Aleratec) may often cost a little more for each disc, but are designed to assure the best reliability.  The cost of handling a return from a customer will be much higher than the extra cost for high quality media.  Aleratec duplicator grade LightScribe media is also optimized for use with Duplicators and Publishing Systems to produce maximum yields.

Mark Brownstein is a technology journalist and technology consultant who specializes in explaining and interpreting new technologies, and clarifying how to integrate these new products into current systems. He has been Editor-In-Chief at computer technology and networking publications, has held significant editorial positions at major technology magazines, and is a frequent contributor to various technology magazines. He has written seven books. He is Microsoft Certified, and spends much of his time testing hardware and software products, running his own networks, and learning the best ways to get computer systems running and to keep them running.

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Posted in DVD CD Blu-ray Disc

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