How do I decide which DVD media to buy?

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Firstly, make sure you know whether you need DVD-R 'minus' format, DVD+R 'plus' format or DVD-RAM media.

There are some first questions that narrow your choice down: Do you want discs in cases or bulk-wrapped without cases? Do you want a branded, plain or printable disc? Plain discs with a silver top are more prone to handling damage but easier to label. Discs advertised as printable are usually inkjet-printable with a suitable disc inkjet printer. Other types of disc printers such as thermal, usually prefer glossy-topped discs.
 
Do you want a write-once DVDR disc or a re-writeable DVDRW disc that allows you to use over and over again?
First class media manufacturers, e.g. Taiyo Yuden, Mitsubishi Chemicals Corp (Verbatim), Panasonic, Sony and TDK, make highly compatible and dependable discs suitable for backup and long term data retention. The difference between discs often comes down to compatibility. The better the compatibility of a disc, the greater the chance that it will play in a given machine. This is particularly important if you want the disc to play in standalone DVD players.

In the mid-price range, we find discs based on a Ritek, CMC, Moser Baer or Prodisc dye to be good in terms of compatibility - FWS, Tuff Disc, Datasafe, Datawrite and Bulkpaq often use dyes from these manufacturers for their discs. Memorex and Maxell brands also make good choices.

Sometimes cheaper discs have a slightly increased risk of burn failures but this is not always the case especially when used at slower burn speed .  We have found that a general rule for buying discs is that 'you get what you pay for'. Brands such as Panasonic, Sony, Verbatim, TDK and Taiyo Yuden are renowned for the exceptional quality and reliability of discs that they produce and therefore you can expect to pay higher prices for these products.

Afraid I don't stock bottom range/value discs as they usually provide very poor results in burn quality, and compatibility for playback with many players, these type of discs are usually not approved by many top tier hardware manufactures so hardwares firmware won't be able to read lead-in code of the disc which results in poor burn quality or won't work at all (recorder simply refuses to recognise).

I report the ADVDINFO or DVDInfo information in the description for a lot of discs I sell on ebay where possible. This lets you learn the dye manufacturer of the disc (e.g. CMC, Ritek, Prodisc, TY) to assess the results you might expect . Very useful if you know what discs the manufacturer recommends for your setop recorder or DVD camcorder.
For PC DVD Burners A free software program available online let you access the Lead In code (ADVDINFO) as well as perform a few tests on recorded discs & hardware ( Google search: DVDINFOPRO).

If you want to experiment with a few different discs, look for smaller sample packs especially where discs of several brands are offered. This way, you can experiment with a choice of discs and then decide which is most suitable for your hardware, without having to purchase a larger pack.
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